I walk into Anushka Sharma's living room and she's sitting on her couch. I ask for her dog, Dude, she calls him out and after two minutes, he's taken out of the room, and we begin our chat.
Her latest film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil releases this Friday and she shares her perspective on friendship, love, life, relationships and break-up. Read on for excerpts....
Karan had wanted you thrown out of your debut film directed by his friend Aditya Chopra and now you are doing a film with him. Comment.
If you're a '90s kid, you are a Karan Johar fan. He defined cool for us. He defined how we talk, dress, behave, and all of that. Friendship between a boy and a girl is what he showed in his films. I don't remember any film that spoke of that bond. There was only love, love, love and he brought friendship into the picture. So, he's obviously been a huge part of our childhood. When I met him for the first time, I was kinda starstruck. I didn't know that he didn't want me in the industry or whatever, but it was so big of him to admit it on national television. So when he told me he wanted me for this film, I saw it as a huge accomplishment. I'm doing his film because I grew up watching his films. Other actors talk about Ram Lakhan. Those are not the films I have in mind. My references are all mainly Karan's, Yashji's and Adi's films.
This is your second film with Ranbir Kapoor after Bombay Velvet. Was it easier this time?
It was easy even the first time. Bombay Velvet has absolutely no bearing on us as actors. as people, as friends, you cannot take the baggage of any film - whether it's a successful film or not. That's not productive in any way. And you don't need to because you are working on a different character, with a different director. So everything is absolutely new that you are creating. I love the bonding between Ayan (RK's character in ADHM) and Alizeh. The friendship angle which Karan is famous for showing in his films, you all will get to see that in ADHM. Because of Ranbir and me and the equation that we have - we are extremely comfortable with one another. It's not like we meet each other everyday or we talk to each other every now and then. He's not one of my closest friends but when we meet, we just click. And that kind of translates on screen also.
Tell me about the slap scene in ADHM. Was Ranbir angry?
So you know how scenes are shot, right? You shoot one actor first and then the other. So, they shot Ranbir first and told me to slap him for real. I slapped him. This scene is very long. So it starts and we are sitting in one place talking and then one slap happens. When they were shooting my part after his, they told me, 'Don't slap him for real.' But I got so lost in the scene that I forgot about it - it happens a lot when I'm shooting my scenes. That's a good thing but in this case, it didn't turn out to be such a favourable thing. I forgot he asked me not to slap him and I ended up giving one on his face. As soon as I slapped him, I was like, 'Oh shit!' And he was like, 'Why are you slapping me for real?' I told him, 'I already slapped you so many times during the takes, why would I deliberately want to slap you again?' (Laughs) But I think he was doing some nakhra, pretending to be angry!
Do you really think a platonic relationship can exist between a man and a woman?
Yes, it depends on the man! (Laughs loudly) I am just kidding. It depends on either of them. I think it can exist. I have grown up in an environment where I had so many guy friends and there has been no romance involved with them at all. I grew up in an Army background, I would be playing basketball and badminton with boys. We were just a group and no one ever thought ki yeh ladki hai, yeh ladka hai. It was not like we were going to play with tea sets and the guys would be only playing cricket. In the Army, it's not like that. I have always been like that, so I have become friends with boys very easily. I also come from a co-ed school, so, we were never like, 'Huh' or too excited about seeing boys. We would be like, 'Ya theek hai, they are sitting. Big deal!' The only thing might be that probably after PT, they would be dirtier than we were. So, I feel it's possible but it depends on where you are coming from. Both people need to have that inclination towards that relationship. If either one has a different mindset and idea, then it becomes a problem. But I'm a huge believer of having a platonic relationship.
What if a guy - a friend - hits on you but you don't reciprocate the same feelings...
If there's a guy who I consider a friend and I only have feelings of a friend for him and if I get to know that he has other kinds of feelings for me, I will be very honest with him. I won't ignore it. I will actually ask him if he doesn't want me to be friends with him. In fact, in the film, that's what I spoke to Karan about and asked him whether I can say this to Ranbir in the film and it's there in the film now. So I would tell my friend and ask him about it. I am not suffering being his friend but if he is suffering being a friend to me because he's got feelings for me, then I would give him the option to not be friends with me. And I definitely would not lead him on in any way. That's extremely important. Obviously, when someone likes you, you feel good about it. So maybe sometimes, unintentionally, you can let them feel for you because it makes you happy but it's not good for them. So you got to be very careful about it. And now I know it feels like I've gone through too much of this because I am giving so much gyan on this. (Laughs)
Have you ever been in love with someone who hasn't loved you back?
Never! I am very practical about love. I don't even fall for anybody if I don't feel it. Firstly, I don't understand if and when somebody has a crush on me or when somebody likes me. I, for sure, don't know if someone's flirting with me. I have no idea. I'm also not very approachable as a person in that sense because I know that boys are scared to flirt with me. I know that because they have told me that. Even if someone likes me, they have to kind of really tell me that they like me for me to get it. Otherwise I don't take things for granted and all. I don't have that radar in me. And anytime if there's been an understanding of someone's feelings towards me, it's only because that person has expressed it explicitly (Laughs). I don't fall in love easily. I don't have crushes and I remember not having crushes in school.
Would you celebrate a break-up in real life?
I think people should, no? I think our lyrics are damn funny (Bursts out laughing) Dil pe patthar rakh ke muh pe make up kar liya. It's like 'Oh I'm so sad, but I'm still doing make-up and going out'. (Laughs) I think the song is about making an effort to get over somebody. That's something everybody should do. You cannot wallow in self-pity and be like, 'Oh, I am heartbroken!' (Makes a crying face). You have to go on. And the practical person that I am, I think you should be dancing and getting over it and moving on in life.
Who do you think deals with break-ups better? Men or women?
I thnk women deal with it instantly. In the sense that when there is a break up, women react, they go through the pain, sadness and everything. Because that's how women are wired. Boys have a tendency to not recognise their emotions. They don't get their emotions and their feelings and they don't think deeply about things. Women look into everything so intricately that they will get into it and right after a break-up, they are a mess, while the boys don't even realise it. It hits boys much later and hits them very hard. I believe it happens in different stages for the genders.
Does the length of a role matter to you? Would you have taken up Aishwarya's role if it was offered to you?
The length is definitely not important at all. It's the impact and importance of the role that really matters. Sometimes, the littlest roles leave an impact on you. What matters is whether the arc of the character is correct and comes a full circle within a short period or within a big duration in the film. What you are adding to the film is very important. I will never choose a film in which my role won't be contributing much to the film. I don't feel satisfied as an actor and if you see, I have actually done half the number of films that my contemporaries have done. I have always said that I would rather sit at home and not do a film than do a bad film just because I have to do a film.