Though she’s scored a hit in last film Luka Chuppi , Kriti Sanon is not one to be carried by past success
By Mayur Lookhar
Talk of successful generation next female artistes, and it’s the name of Alia Bhatt that will spring to most minds. Honestly, there’s not been much talked about the rest for many are still in their infant years of Hindi cinema. Other than Alia, there is one lady though who’s made decent strides in her five year-old-career so far. Kriti Sanon has had three hits to her credit, she’s worked with Shah Rukh Khan, featured in few popular item songs. She’s largely shone in light hearted comedies, but not many of her contemporaries have been as consistent as her.
After Bareilly, Panipat, the woman from Delhi has travelled to Patiala in her next Arjun Patiala [2019). Sanon teams up with Sikh actor Diljit Dosanjh and good friend Varun Sharma for the Rohit Jugraj cop comedy. Arjun Patiala is set to be released on 26 July.
Beyond Bollywood caught up with the actress recently who shared her Arjun Patiala journey, called her co-actor Diljit an introvert, says she never looked to copy Priyanka Chopra to pull off her character in Panipat, and more.
In Luka Chuppi  you played an intern, and now in the very next film you’ve graduated into a full time crime journalist. How happy are you to be doing crime reporting?
I ‘m very happy. No one would have got a quick job, and an equally quick promotion before. [laughs]. It is a very serious job. Ritu Randhawa, as a character, is very passionate about her job. She is a reporter from Firozpur. She has a Punjabi flavour. Punjabi girls are bindass [daring]. Mess with her and she’d slap you. She is very serious about her work. As an actor, I tried getting both the sides of journalist, one that is front of the camera and the other that is off camera. I also went through a lot of bloopers that you see online – before action and after cut.
I believe this film was shot before Luka Chuppi. Would you like to comment on the long wait?
Perhaps the producer is the best person to answer. That’s not done by me. Sometimes certain things happen, a certain patchwork is to be shot. Actors go to other films. Some times you don’t get combination dates. Most release dates are blocked and you want to release your film in the best possible way. I think the film got pushed for several reasons. Finally, it is releasing on 26 July.
Doesn’t it help that Arjun Patiala releases right after you scored a hit with a previous flick?
The success of one film doesn’t depend upon the success of your previous film. Bareilly Ki Barfi (2017) had also worked. Luka Chuppi working and reaching out to so many people, with the numbers that it did, [pauses] Also, it was a romantic comedy, it had a small town flavour, which has already been liked. So, I am assuming probably somewhere the people who have appreciated the film and my performance, might relate to this one [Arjun Patiala] as well.
Varun Sharma and Diljit Dosanjh both are known as comic actors. Is it a challenge to match up to them?
Not really. I like comedy. I do like to have people around me who have a good sense of humour. Knowingly or unknowingly, I tend to pick up from them. I like thinking in a comical way. I like creating reactions. Even if it is not a comedy scene then I feel adding some comedy to it. When you have an actor who has a great comic timing then that also eases you out. Your [comic] timing also gets better. I was glad to have these two people who have a natural flair for comedy.
Diljit Dosanjh comes across as media shy, introvert. How was he like on the sets?
He is an introvert, in general. That’s his personality. But he is also someone who, once the camera switches on, he turns into a completely different person. He would suddenly pull off a loud scene, and everyone around would wonder, what just happened. He’s an introvert but one who perhaps is open, expressive with his set of close friends.
Is it vital to have a sense of humour to portray a comic character?
If a person has a zero sense of humour or doesn’t understand humour s/he will not be able to portray it that well. Akshay Kumar has a great comedy timing in real life too. So does Riteish Deshmukh. I remember Akshay sir telling me that Punjabis usually have a good comic timing Riteish recently told me that anybody who is good at dance will mostly likely be good at comedy. I asked him what’s the logic?. He said, ‘dance has a rhythm. Comedy also has a rhythm. If someone who understands the beat and rhythms of dance and songs, will usually get the beat of comedy’. That is an interesting thinking.
This is your third or fourth film with Dinesh Vijan. As a producer, do you think he is one person who knows how to tap your talent?
Yeah, definitely. He is someone who understands my zone well. He is also one who understands the kind of actor I am. He has directed me [in Raabta (2017)]. He knows my strengths and weaknesses. I think more than that, with him it is about, being comfortable and having the relationship that we do. He’s like an elder brother. He is someone I can go to for any advice. At the same time, I also admire his vision. Somewhere, I feel I am in sync with the films he does. There is always something, different, query, something new to offer.
When you do a film like Panipat [2019[, from dance, action sequences, heavy costumes there are lot of things to pull off. Can we say that that the role you are playing is one of the best in your filmography so far?
One of.. [pauses] yeah. But I didn’t have so much action to do considering that Parvati bai [her character] didn’t really do action. There is a small action sequence where I got to do action sequence in a nauvari saree. That was a new thing for me and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I was most energetic in those two days of [filming] action sequence. The kind of world that it puts you in, you don’t have reference of, you’ve not seen that world. So playing a Maharastrian character belonging to some other time was a challenge.
Hair, make-up, costume would make you whoever you are playing. I saw myself in the nauvari saree, with the khopa, nath, and I said to myself, I can look Maharashtrian. But after that, to sound Maharashtrian in those few lines, that was a challenge.
A lot of times, when you are doing a period film, we’re put in a certain spot, where we are supposed to walk in a certain manner. We start behaving like that not knowing how the real person spoke. When we discussed about the character, [director] Ashutosh Gowariker told me that he wants me to talk normally. I am just giving you the language. Also, Parvati is not from a Mughal era. She is Maharashtrian, who conduct themselves in a certain manner. I liked how he kept Parvati very relatable. Even though it’s a period film, Ashutosh sir’s thoughts are very contemporary. He makes his women a lot stronger than what they would have been in those times.
Were you in any way inspired by the likes of Priyanka Chopra?
In fact, that’s where you feel that I hope I don’t look like I am trying to ape her. You know what I mean. May be, I should try not to watch. For if I do, I might unknowingly get something in my body language which might be similar to her. I don’t want to do that. I have seen Bajirao Mastani  and I can’t unwatch it. [has a smile]. But I wasn’t watching anything in particular to get into the zone. I wanted to make Parvati my own. I just want to chat with Ashutosh sir and whatever his inputs are, how I see the character and how I can add a little flavour to her that makes Parvati my own.
In the five years so far, you’ve had a string of hits. Perhaps among the generation next actors, you are are as good as Alia Bhatt. Your reactions?
I am overwhelmed when I get those reactions, but I also sort of try and be myself. Follow what my hearts says, and do things as per my gut [feeling] rather than try and chase a particular position or try and be in a particular place in the industry. Everyone has their own journey, that journey is what makes them who they are. I don’t think you can ever start thinking that I am at this position, so I should I start behaving this way. Take this kind of films. I am happy that I am known for my work, I am happy that people are getting the kind of scripts towards me. They are putting that trust in me when giving that opportunity. I hope just I can variate with every film that I do, and grow with every film. That is the only way of moving ahead. The moment you think, ‘oh, I’m there, or I have done it, that’s when you become stagnant. I don’t want to be satisfied forever.
You are into writing poetry. Have you ever thought of writing a script someday?
No, no, writing a script takes a lot of time. There are too many people who write really well. I stick to poetry. I might come with book of poetry, if I have a collection which has reached a number to be published.