How did the transition from South to Hindi films happen, and how did you land this role?
When people ask me about Barfi!, they expect this cool, elaborate story about how I landed a role in a Hindi film with such big names. Actually, it was so simple. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Anurag Basu was looking for me and didn’t really knowhow to get in touch with me. But my agent knows Anurag’s wife well and we ended up meeting. After an hour of chatting,he said, ‘I have found my Shruti in you. Now you decide whether you want to do the film or not.’
I was lucky I didn’t have to do a screentest or audition for the part. In fact, I was surprised because I don’t think Anurag had watched any of my films. He simply thought I was strong enough to carry off this character. I asked him whether he was sure, a couple of times before signing the film, and he said he was positive.
No, it’s not like we were competing with each other. This is not a conventiona lstory with a love triangle, where a boy meets a girl and then the boy walks away with one of the girls. This film is based on completely different roles and is about characters that are very different from what we have seen before. They are very similar to real-life people. I keep stressing that each of us has a different role to play, and we all have our strong spaces in the film. All of us play roles that arenot very conventional, and the film revolves around all three of us.
If any oneof us were missing from the film, it would have been incomplete. If I was nervous at all, it was because Iwas working in a new environment which had a new style of working, a new director and a role that I had never played before.But more than nervous, I was really excited that I was working with Ranbir inmy very first Hindi film! And I also got towork with Priyanka Chopra, whose past films I really liked. I couldn’t have asked for a better debut, really.
Did any special preparations go into your role?
I thought I would have to do some prepwork, especially since the film is basedin the ‘70s. So I asked Anurag if I should watch some films of that era and trya similar look or body language of the actors in those films. But he was totally against it. He asked me to arrive on thesets with a fresh mind, and he would then tell me a little bit about the character every day. That was the only preparation we did. I think it was better that way because Anurag is crystal clear about what he wants and knows exactly what a scene will look like on the big screen. So,I went with the flow and we improvised on the sets.