“It was a challenge to match up with Sushmita Sen!” – Ishita Sharma

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If you’re not admiring Ishita Sharma for her acting then you’re definitely admiring her for her patience. The talented youngster waited patiently for her film of a life time, Dulha Mil Gaya, to release, and finally the much anticipated date came and has now passed us by. Despite being in a cast list consisting of Shah Rukh Khan, Fardeen Khan and Sushmita Sen, she managed to steal critics’ and audiences’ attention in Mudassar Aziz’s directorial debut. We realize very little is known about the actress who was the surprise package of Dulha Mil Gaya, so we got all set up for an exclusive chat with the stunning actress to talk about cinema, DMG, life in the industry and much much more!

Tell us a bit about what you’ve done before Dulha Mil Gaya?

Well you’ve most likely heard about Loins of Punjab and Dil Dosti Etc but there’s also another Tamil film which I did that released in September 2008 called Sakkarakatti.

How has the long wait for DMG been since your last Hindi release was almost 3 yrs ago?

The wait has been good although I would of course like more films and releases. But I had already started working on DMG before Dil Dosti had released or any of my other films. It wasn’t meant to release so late, it was meant to release until 2007 or 2008. So the wait hasn’t been bad although I would have liked it to be released much earlier. I had time on my hands and got a chance to really prepare for the role.

So how did acting happen for you, I believe you were a model before coming into the industry?

I was not really a model unless you’d like to classify ads as modeling. I started off because when I was in standard 8, my mother wanted me to become an actress. We’d just shifted from Dehradun to Mumbai, and when we did she got my pictures clicked she sent around and I got offered auditions and somehow I kept getting through so I guess that’s how it happened. And as for ad films, I wasn’t heading toward modeling at all. I would just jump at the sign of any work that came my way because it just taught me new things and I felt that you needed to do it all rather than sit there and be picky choosy about it. For me it was a hobby at the time that I did with my schooling. So it wasn’t work as such and I’d just do it whether it was a TV serial or an ad film or even a social ad campaign?

And how about Dulha Mil Gaya, how did that happen for you?

Dulha Mil Gaya happened because they were casting for the film and had been casting for four months and they were looking at commercials that were circulating at the time. It so happened the one of my commercials they saw which was for the lip balm Doctor Lips. So they saw me in it, traced my number and called me for an audition. I came in for the audition and the very next day I was selected.

How was it working with debutant director Muddasir Aziz?

He’s a first time director but definitely didn’t seem like he was. It also helped that he was the writer too of the film. He was totally committed to it all and even sat in music recordings. He knew what he wanted. So it was wonderful working with him as he’s also very motivating. Every time I would do a shot wrong he’d come to me and say ‘I’m also a first time as are you so together we have to get out act together!’

And how was the experience of working with the cast, especially Sushmita Sen who you had most interaction with?

It was amazing! She’s such a warm person and its amazing to be around her even if you’re not acting with her. Just looking at her and how she carries herself. She’s a very spontaneous actor too. When you’re acting with her you have to know your character well because in Dulha Mil Gaya she is so good with her character Shimmer that she would get so much engrossed in it that she’d put in lines as she goes that had not been written. So you had to be prepared for that and basically just know your character well. Only then would you be able to match up with her. She’s just incredible!

How about Fardeen, how was it working with him?

One thing that is great about Fardeen is that he’s so sweet. He’s so cool and casual and totally down to earth about being himself. Such a pleasure to be with him because you don’t feel like you’re with a star. He makes you feel comfortable. I clearly remember that he wouldn’t get irritated if there was an extra take because of me. In fact, he would come up to me and say that I could give it another shot and do it much better. He would himself call for an extra take. I had heard all these stories that if you’re working with a star, it’s all difficult because they’ll yell at you if you ask for an extra take and stuff like that. But all these stories are totally false because in reality they’re all so sweet!

And now perhaps the real question, how was it sharing screen space with King Khan?

I am a huge fan! The day I heard that he’d be part of the film I freaked out! I was sitting in the hotel when they announced this to me and given my reaction, they all just looked at me funny and the producer told me to stop screaming as I was going to act with him! My response to that was that I cannot help it, he’s superstar and I love him! I truly didn’t expect myself to be working with him so soon. I had always dreamed to meet him, forget acting with him! It was wonderful. Anything I say about him would be an under statement.

Now how did you handle all the responses from the film? What sort of responses have you been mostly receiving?

Umm…thankfully the critics haven’t been too rude to me. They’ve all been saying nice things. Even audiences’ reactions at cinemas has been nice. One thing a person said on BBC World about me was that I was like breath of fresh air in the film and I was absolutely delighted to get response like that.

How about the industry, how have they been to you considering you’re still pretty new to it?

They’ve all been sweet. I am waiting to do more films, good ones. In general they’ve been sweet and nothing bad has been said. No unacceptance so far.

What sort of roles are you looking forward to doing most?

As an actress and a professional, I don’t want to work in one particular genre. Personally I like watching suspense thrillers and action the most but as an actress I don’t think such genres suit me. I feel I am cut out more for a love story. And I like romantic films! I would jump at the idea of a nice beautiful love story but I also want to try out everything. Like Kajol’s in KKHH. Or Jaya ji’s role in Zanjeer. As of now I’d just like to be part of successful films.

What will we be seeing you in next?

I don’t know! I am going to wait. One film of mine actually was to release but now will not release at all. As it is the industry people tend to be too superstitious. So now I am just going to wait.

What about projects down South? Your performance in your Tamil film was very highly acclaimed.

Not as of now. I want to work down South because there’s some extremely talented people there but I feel the industry is extremely male dominated. Two films that I did get didn’t have a powerful role for the female lead which doesn’t excite me so hence I have kept away from it, but I definitely want to work in the South film industry.

Speaking of the South industry, did you notice any big differences between the two industries?

See I have only done one South film and only one big Hindi film, so I don’t think I would be able to compare much. But as far as I have experienced working down South, I would say that its much more relaxed there. No panic. Sometimes we had only four shots a day and the director wouldn’t mind! He’d be like ‘Chill! We have another day!’. Although Dulha Mil Gaya was also quite relaxed as well. I would say the unit is almost like my second family now. Such sweet people. I would say that one major difference between the industries is that when people from Mumbai work in South films, we don’t understand the jokes. Everyone talks in Tamil and will refuse to talk to you in any other language. So that was difficult. If I wanted to call for something I’d have to spend one hour explaining what I actually need. So yeah that would be the only difference.

So now 2009 has wrapped up for Bollywood, what are some films you’ve enjoyed in the past year?

Only one I think, 3 Idiots! Apart from that some Hollywood films also I really enjoyed like 2012 and Transformers 2. Oh and Paa! Am a huge fan of Mr. Bachchan. But 2009 I think didn’t have many impressive films. It wasn’t the best year for the industry for several reasons, the strike being one of them.

Since you mention the industry, it’s been flooded with newcomers, such as yourself, every year. Do you feel there is a lot of competition?

There is and there isn’t. I feel everyone is unique in their own way. And also this industry is a place where you all manage to find your own place. So I don’t mind it so much. And in today’s day and age there is competition in every field. For example, the number of engineers this country produces makes them it most competitive field.

Who would you say inspires you most from the Hindi film scene?

Kajol definitely. She’s so beautiful and is magic on screen. She’s good at everything! Also, I am big fan of Rani Mukherji.

Last but not the least, what advise would you give to all those wishing to debut in Hindi cinema one day?

I would say to them to not listen to anyone about their thoughts on the industry because they all have their own opinion of how things work here. So don’t listen to your neighbors, family members who’re probably telling you how the industry is or how you will not make it etc. Just concentrate on your work. Your work is to be an actor, to be sensible and choose the right roles and just do that without bothering about networking, PR etc but concentrate on developing your own skills.

That just might be the best advice we’ve ever heard! As she continues to patiently wait for more moments for her to shine-in, we wish her all the best in this endeavor. Surely with her striking looks and undeniable talent she’ll be gracing the silver screen once again in no time!

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