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    Anushka Sharma takes the unconventional route by acting in NH10 and producing it too

    Anushka Sharma has done her share of roles that portray her as a simple, straightforward, charming girl—be it Band Baaja Baarat, PK, Patiala House or Jab Tak Hain Jaan. It is about time she tried a different genre and character. Directed by Navdeep Singh, NH10 is a gritty story about a couple— Arjun, played by Neil Bhoopalam, and Meera, played by Sharma—on their way to a luxurious holiday when they get caught up with a group of hooligans. The posters and trailer show Sharma wielding an iron rod and doing high-risk stunts. Incidentally, Sharma is also producing the film, with her brother Karnesh Sharma, under her banner, Clean Slate. With the fiesty actress fighting the censor board’s restrictions, before settling for nine cuts and an A certificate, she admits that there is a lot riding on this film. In an interview with Barkha Dutt on NDTV, she worried over the future of Indian cinema. ‘‘Writers and directors if contained will not be able to make cinema that is pushing boundaries,’’ she observed.

    Saving a story
    Even as the Mumbai girl is going all out to promote NH10, it turns out that Sharma had initially rejected the film (due to unavailability of dates). It was when she was shooting for Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet that the director insisted she give the movie another chance. “As a producer, I fit the film more because the money gets utilised in the right places and doesn’t add on to the budget. It was a more commercially-viable option for me. And this is one film that needed my backing,” she shares confidently. She insists that NH10 is an original story, something she hasn’t read before. “A genre that I haven’t tried before and not experimented with, it is an edge-of-the-seat thriller. When you see the film and the world through the eyes of Meera, and her struggle, I think it is very exciting,” she expresses. She insists that NH10 is the most challenging movie of her career because of the serious subject. And now, the A-lister has a clear plan for her production house too, despite critics insisting she is too young to shoulder the responsibility. On top of her game, the 26-year-old says, “I have never followed a particular path or a trend. I am happy my choices are helping me work with different kinds of people. That shows I am a diverse actor. As a company, we want to meet people who inspire us, pick up original scripts and work with fresh and talented minds. We want stories that are unique and that might not see the light of day. We are open to indie, short films and documentaries.” Sharma and her brother think very similarly. Even for NH10, the two divided the responsibilities between them. ‘‘It is only after he reads a script that I sign a film.  He has been the reason why I have rejected a few films, too,” shares the actress.

    Coming of age
    As an out-of-the-box thinker, Sharma always goes for the unconventional. “When I read a script, it must speak to me and excite me.  I have always tried to do different roles and I choose things that challenge me,” she confesses. An avid traveller, this hottie has learnt some of the most important lessons of her life during her travels.  “I have done it all—travelled alone, and with friends and family, too. When you travel, you meet different kinds of people, form different opinions, understand the history of places. It is the best way to find yourself. I travel a lot to Europe, especially England,” she shares. With a penthouse in the heart of Mumbai, she doesn’t believe in having managers and is as real as it gets. Even with the paparazzi going berserk over Sharma’s relationship with the dashing cricketer Virat Kohli, who is in the thick of the World Cup, the actress stays unperturbed. “I am not pretentious and I don’t care what people are talking about me and what image I have,” she concludes.
    NH10 is scheduled to release today.

    Mrinalini Sundar

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