I have struggled a lot in my career: Nushrat Bharucha


I have struggled a lot in my career: Nushrat Bharucha

Published: Tue 15 Jan 2019, 4:12 PM

Last updated: Sat 19 Jan 2019, 11:36 AM

The leading lady of one of 2018's biggest hits Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety (SKTKS), Nushrat Bharucha, was in Dubai last weekend. The 29-year-old actress met City Times over a cup of coffee at The Oberoi Hotel to talk about her upcoming movies opposite two of Bollywood's current favourites - Rajkummar Rao in Turram Khan and Ayushmann Khurrana in Dream Girl. She also fended off the sexist accusations against her popular film SKTKS. The petite actress also spoke about why she supported her director Luv Ranjan when he was in mired in the #MeToo controversy.
Did you anticipate your film Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety would become such a big hit or did it come as a surprise?
We were surprised. We were the same set of people who started our careers together. We made a different film, and we thought that it was a good product. Besides, where the audience will take the movie is something that no one can ever predict. 
     Box office returns were never our only objective, because if that's your motivation, then you are making the movie for a wrong reason, and then you lose the  objectivity of the subject and the film. Our film happened to do well. Our first film Pyaar Ka Punchnama (PKP) gave us an audience, the second one PKP 2 increased the number of viewers, and this one took it to another level.
You are working with the industry's most talented stars Rajkummar Rao and Ayushmann Khurrana in your upcoming projects. How is that coming along?
I love both of them. Rajkummar and I have worked together in Love, Sex, and Dhokha, and I was afraid of working with him because he is a great actor. But he is making me better at my job because when you work with someone as talented as him, you want to keep getting better at your job.      
     The director Hansal Mehta finalised me only with one meeting. Even the director of Dream Girl approached me saying that he wants to work with me. Turram Khan is a social comedy, and it talks about certain aspects about India. It is not a comedy per se but the characters are very real, and the situation feels entertaining whereas Dream Girl is an out and out comedy film. It is quirky and hilarious.
You have been part of the industry for more than 10 years, but your breakthrough happened only last year. What kept you motivated over the years?
Bits and pieces of things kept giving me the push. Love, Sex, and Dhokha did well, and right after that Pyaar ka Punchnama did very well. I was thrilled. Then came Akashvaani and it flopped. I was devastated. I was so depressed that I did not take my whole payment for the film because I told the producers that I am distraught that they lost their money because of me. 
    I was depressed for a year-and-a-half and did not know what to do. Then I got Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2; somehow I was cast again. We were shooting, and I had no idea what would happen. That movie did well again, and I was coming back to normalcy.    
     I did a few things in between that did not work out. But I kept working, and that kept me going. If I gave up early, I wouldn't be here. You have to believe in your dreams. I had faith and belief that I would make it.
Talking about your last film Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, many people accused that film of being sexist, and misogynist. Did you find it problematic as well?
Why would you call it a misogynist film? What did my character Sweety do wrong? If you call Pyaar Ka Punchnama and Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 sexist movies, I would still agree. The character Sonu in SKTKS (portrayed by Kartik Aaryan) needs help but the girl has done nothing wrong. His mind is not correct. It's not just Sweety; he thought even Titu's previous girlfriend was not okay for him. He made Titu break up with his earlier girlfriends. 
    Sonu doesn't trust girls, and he doesn't believe that his friend is capable of making the right decisions. Sonu tried to find the dirt on my character, and he failed. Then he cried when he couldn't stop our marriage. My fiance leaves me devastated because his love for his friend is higher than his love for me. In all honesty, I think he lost. People are calling this film sexist and misogynist only because one character talks wrong about the girl. There is no basis on saying that.
But that is the tone of Luv Ranjan's universe. Even Pyaar Ka Punchnama and Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 were accused of similar philosophies because women were shown in a bad light in them.
That's the tone of all Luv Ranjan's films; that's why people are thinking that. There is a difference between doing something in jest, and there is a difference between saying it as the truth, seriously. PKP 1 and 2 were about nagging girlfriends because they were over-the-top, slapstick movies. We exaggerated the whole characters to make audiences laugh. I believe that they were my most caricaturish performances ever. I had to force myself to behave like that and talk like that, but I do agree that it was illogical. 
    Nobody in their right mind acts like that. But you have to understand the reason; you are doing it for the sake of the bigger picture. From PKP, you have the same backlog of actors, that's why SKTKS came across as the same style. If somebody had seen SKTKS  in isolation, they would have blamed Sonu for being an idiot to that girl.
Did you have a word with the director and writers to make your character strong in SKTKS?
I didn't need to. I am not somebody who wants to get into the space of asking - why can't this female be like this or why can't this man behave like this? If I need to go to my writers and ask them to give me more power, then it means that I am powerless in the first place. If the story is about three guys who are stuck with three girls that are wrong for them, then I am smart enough to understand that. I knew what PKP was about, I accepted it from the word go and played my part. I like to play a different character. I loved it when my character says that she is not a heroine but a villain. I loved it.
Now that you have signed two big films, would you be willing to play similar kinds of roles, of a nagging girlfriend, in your upcoming films?
If the role is for the Pyaar Ka Punchnama series, then I will do it but if it is for some other movie, then purely for the satisfaction of being an actor, I will think twice whether to do it or not. Not because I am afraid of it, but because I am unapologetic about it. 
    But for me, its all about playing a character. Tomorrow if I get a significant role of a murderer, I will play that role even though I think that murder is wrong. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't do different kinds of roles. We are in a very different space as actors when we take these films. So if someone offers me a similar role, I would tell them to write something new for me, but if there is a PKP 3 in the making, then I will do it because that is a space created by me.
You recently supported your director Luv Ranjan when his name was involved in the #MeToo Movement. You wrote a post defending him. Looking back, do you feel that you went wrong there because as it is, it is tough for victims of sexual assaults to come out and talk?
Nushrat: When you talk about anything that has happened to you, and you go out and talk about it, then you are sharing your own experience. I get what others spoke about their experiences, I am a person who is very sure of my skills and perspective, and that is all I did. My letter has been my experience with a person I have closely worked with and known. I have known his entire family, and we have known each other for years now. Whether I should do it or not do it, just like anybody else, I am entitled to have an opinion and share my opinion, and that's what I did.

"I think there were certain aspects about me that people did not like earlier. I did struggle a lot because I was a very petite person and I am very short. There has always been a conventional mould that a heroine needed to fit in. For, eg, she needed to be tall, curvy and required to have that X factor. I am realistic enough to understand that in a visual medium, you need to look a certain way. I am wherever I am today because that barrier has now broken and people are caring more about the performances than looks. Audiences have given me a new life because they are now looking at movies differently."

By arti dani

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