We often here of talents that have been groomed over years or stars being born over night but rarely do we have an actor being discovered overnight. Adah Sharma falls in this very unique category. Everyone knew that something special was bound to happen in Vikram Bhatt’s thriller of the decade 1920 but they had just no idea what was really in store for them. Not only did Vikram Bhatt unveil one of the most impressive horror films of Indian cinema in recent times but he also unveiled one of the most astounding and talented debutants we’ve seen! She was an unknown name and face to all but overnight she became the recurring image in everyone’s dreams, thanks to her her truly terrifying portrayal of Liza that simply left everyone dumbstruck! But now its high time to take the scary mask off and meet the delightful young lady behind it all. She belongs to the new breed of actors who see cinema in a whole new light to what many are accustomed to. Driven by passion, filled with talent and boasting of the killer combination of looks and brains, Adah Sharma is here to stay! I managed to catch this hot and happening newcomer and got her to uncover her secret behind the magical debut. Read on to see just what the mantra is of this rising stars life and just what the future has in store for her!
This first question may be rather obvious but also unavoidable, how did films and acting happen for you?
At the age of three I started watching movies. I have a photographic memory so I used to learn the dialogues of all the characters in the movies and enact it using each character’s voice. Sort of like a mono-act. I thought being in films would be the perfect career option for me.
Your debut film definitely got raised eyebrows with a unique storyline and character. Were you comfortable with taking such a risk for your first project?
I’m always very clear in my head. I’m sure I want to or don’t want to do something. When 1920 was narrated to me I knew I had to do it. Looking ugly did not feature in my concerns. I was willing to work hard. I believe I am tireless and emotionally uninhibited. I love challenges too. It was perfect! As far as taking risks, I think movie making is a risk. Being an actress even more.
What were some steps you took to ensure you embraced the ‘scary’ nature of your character?
The character was explained to me in detail. Liza was a loving devoted wife who turns into a cannibalistic monster. Also, the stages are very gradual. She first doesn’t eat, then gets dark circles and looses weight. Her teeth then begin to rot. Finally, she scratches and cuts and beats herself up. In real life I am not a scary person. I don’t scream and shout or beat people up. I don’t watch too much violence either, but I’m a very obedient student. I grasped the minute details. I aped the body language of a cat being agile. Physically, I had to be fit which I already was. Mallakhamb and dance, which I do, helped when I had to do stunts like climbing the 50 foot pole. The most difficult bit was that along with being scary and playing a psycho man I had to make the audience feel bad for me. I had to be really weak and be really strong at the same time [like in] the scene where I laughed at myself dying and cried because I was killing myself.
What was your reaction when you first witnessed the finished product of 1920?
I knew from the first day that 1920 was going to turn out right. It turned out to be exactly what I visualized it to be when Vikram Sir narrated it to us. When I watch myself on screen I can’t relate to me. It’s some girl with curly hair who looks and sounds like me.
Are you open to such roles and genres in the future?
A role like Liza from 1920 doesn’t come by every day. It will be one of my best films in my resume always. I will sign another horror movie only if I see the script and character topping what I had in 1920. I am a dancer and a gymnast. I’m looking forward to doing a film where I can dance. I think I would do comedy as well as I do drama so I would like to do that too! The next film I start on after Phhir is a comedy.
What were some of the compliments you received for your performance post the release, any particular one that stuck to you?
I knew the audience would love the film. The critics too were very kind to us. Everyone who’s seen the film has been very kind to me about my performance. A lot of people told me that it didn’t look like it was my first film – it looked like I had always been doing this. That was nice to hear since it was the first time I formally faced the camera. Someone told me I looked cute in the part after the interval. I’m not sure if that was a compliment!
You were directed by Vikram Bhatt in 1920 who’s acquired quite a respectable reputation for himself over the years. How was the experience of working with him?
Vikram Sir is articulate, non-intrusive and values punctuality. His ability to tutor his actors is phenomenal. Rajneesh and I are very lucky to have such a good teacher to guide us through our first film.
Had you seen much of Vikram’s work before? Is there any particular one which you enjoyed?
I have seen Ghulam and Raaz. I was in school when Raaz released and it was one of the first big horror films. All of us friends watched it at home on DVD at a sleepover at night. I think it was an adult film so we weren’t allowed in the theatres.
Almost every actor has some unique feeling when they face the camera for the very first time. What were some of the emotions you went through when you faced the camera for the first time in 1920?
To me when I’m acting I pretend the camera doesn’t exist. Yes, it was the first time I faced the camera professionally. I think it was a scene where I had to laugh then cry then laugh then cry and there was no cut.
1920 was also the debut of your co-star Rajneesh Duggal, so how was the experience of working with him? Did you feel that the comfort level increased since you were both on the same boat as newcomers?
We both debuted together and are doing are second film together again. So yes, we’ve seen each other grow. Rajneesh is hardworking, confident, talented and good looking. Yes, we were both comfortable with each other. In 1920 we had a lot of on screen chemistry. I believe if an emotion is very powerful, sometimes it need not be physically shown. So even though 1920 didn’t show us falling over each other, even when we were in opposite sides of the room we still had strong chemistry. As an actor one should be able to portray the same level of chemistry with a lizard, a piece of paper or the best looking human being.
Breaking into Bollywood as many say is no easy task, how did you strive on in the industry before your big break in 1920? Did you have many or any contacts that made the journey any easier for you?
No, I did not have any contacts. No one in my family is even remotely connected to the film industry. I wouldn’t say struggle but yes I had to face a lot of challenges and huge loads of rejection. I wanted to do ad commercials. I still haven’t done even one. My journey has just begun; I know it only gets more difficult. But then there’s no fun without the challenges right?
Do you get a chance to watch many films in your free time, if so any particular releases which you’ve especially enjoyed in recent times?
Yes, I try watching one film a day. I carry my laptop to set when we shoot and in the breaks if I’m not reading I watch films. I watch all sorts of films, no discrimination – any language Chinese, Spanish, French with Hindi movies being my favorite.
Who are some of the makers and artists you’d like to work with in the future?
I’m so new I can’t be choosing now. There should be filmmakers saying we should take her in our films.
Is there an iconic role you’d love to have a chance to recreate on screen?
Rekha – Umrao Jaan
Shahrukh Khan – Don
Saif Ali Khan – Omkara
Katrina Kaif – Welcome
Konkona Sen Sharma – 15 Park Avenue
You return to same cast and crew of 1920 with your next release Phhir tell us a bit about the film, your role in it and reuniting with the team?
Phhir is based on the karma theory. The tag line being ‘you might be responsible for what happens to you.’ I play the role of Disha. She’s extremely subtle in behavior and expressing emotion. Her sense of intuition surpasses the normal abilities of mortals. She’s extremely strong and in control of situations, but eventually she’s human, vulnerable.
We hear the film has been extensively shot in England, how was the experience of working there, did you get up to anything special in your free time?
We shot in New Castle. We stayed on the River Tyne so I used to go for walks or jogs daily with my mother. We used to feed wild birds. I like aimlessly walking around and discovering places more than going for a tour and looking at specified monuments. We did some shopping too. My friend is studying in London so she came and stayed with us for a few days.
Looking into the future where do you want to see your career in 10 years time?
I would like posters of auto rickshaws and in small towns in the markets, jewelery shops and bags. I hope to have worldwide reach along with reach into the interior villages in India.
Lastly, any special words to all your fans!
Thank you so much for accepting me. It is because of your love for me that I can follow my dreams. I hope I can continue to entertain you for a very long time.
With such focused eyes on the prize and talent that we still remain amazed at, it is rather unimaginable to think of the heights this young lady will reach. Only time will tell! So here’s wishing her all the best as she strives on this adventurous and brave path towards her dream.