She may love it or detest it, but the fact remains that she would always have a ‘Chak De girl’ tag attached to her. She may do much better work in her upcoming films as well, but her name would always rhyme with Preeti Sabharwal. Joginder Tuteja catches up with the young woman who is now returning to the silver screen with Fox, two years after Chak De India.
Sagarika, finally we get to see you again in Fox! So where were you during last couple of years?
(Laughs) Oh yes, it was a long break indeed. Not that I wanted it this way, but then it was perhaps destined. I am very excited about Fox though. I hope that people who loved my work in Chak De India would go, check out Fox and then like me in this film as well (smiles). As an actor, it is always a challenge to do your second film since audiences didn’t have any perceptions about you in your first film. Once they appreciate you there, pressure only builds up to perform better in your subsequent outings.
What made you sign a thriller after Chak De India?
Because I can’t keep playing a sportsperson all my life, can I (smiles)? At the end of the day, I am an actor who was doing her job in Chak De India and have done so again in Fox as well. Also, the fact is that I didn’t start Fox right after the release of Chak De India. Something else also had come by but it didn’t work out.
The gap must have been frustrating….
Yes, there was a gap for sure but then the atmosphere during the last couple of years eased me in out and also prepared me in a way. I learnt a lot of things about this profession as well as life in general. I was inexperienced when I started off and even today, I am treating myself as a newcomer only. See, when Chak De… came to me, I was facing the camera for the first time. In fact, I had not even auditioned for the role and I was very-very raw. Since the role was more to do with how I did as a sportsperson, there was no make up or glamour quotient involved. Chak De… experience did help to a great degree though in grooming me. Just being on the sets was educative enough and an entirely new experience. Even after the film was released, there were so many shoots etc. that I attended which made time fly by.
It must be quite some moment for you to be back in business with Fox, right?
Of course. However, one has to be cautious before going gaga over your film because today, you don’t know what’s going to do well and what’s not. Before you finalize a project, it’s not about the best one to come your way. It’s all about instinct. As long as you follow your instinct at that point in time and don’t regret it later, you would always be satisfied. A film may or may not do well but you have to ensure that you are good enough for people to appreciate your performance. At the end of the day, they may have liked you in your first film but they would come and watch your third film only if you are good in second too.
So how did you ensure that you are indeed good in your second film?
(Laughs) Well, that’s for audiences to come back and tell me how good or bad I was in Fox. I am happy with the fact that I didn’t allow myself to play the role of a regular heroine in my short stint so far. Not that I am consciously avoiding that but I want to be more than just a good looking face on the sets. Even in Fox, where I play a lawyer, I am more than just an arm candy for Arjun. I am with him throughout at each and every move that he makes. Moreover, I work with him during each of his endeavours, as you would see in the film, rather than just sticking around like a regular girl.
Since Arjun has been in the industry for 7-8 years already, he must have been a great help?
See, all my co-stars have been very nice and professional. Yes, 90% of my scenes are with Arjun and our characterization is such that our love is mature rather than incorporating a typical girl-meets-boy relationship. This helped in raising the bar for our performances. For that matter, I have quite a few scenes with Sunny Deol also around and it was great to have a senior actor like him around. I don’t have too many scenes with Udita, but we were nice and cordial with each other on sets. Sorry, no fireworks there (smiles)!
How did the entire Chak De… experience help you during the shoot of Fox?
Yes, there was little bit help from Chak De… though frankly, these two are entirely different films. Chak De…. was such a sports centric film and working in it was like being in a middle of a sports camp. It all really got into my psyche. Also, today when I see the film, I feel that I could have been much better in so many scenes. However, once I reached the sets of Fox, I had to consciously leave Chak De… behind since at the end of the day you are an actor and you have to get into the groove of different setups every now and then.
So what was it about Fox that made you give it a green signal?
Honestly, after Chak De…., I could have done lots of films. However, it was a conscious decision to go slow and I am glad that I stuck to it. I wanted the whole setup of my next film to be strong. It wasn’t just about whom I was paired opposite with, though I have to mention that the entire experience of working with Arjun was great. Today, I am pretty content with what I have managed to do in Fox.
Which includes looking glam?
(Laughs) After Chak Deâ€¦, anything else is glam! In Fox though, being glamorous is in a different way altogether because frankly, my role isn’t the kind where I go full-on glam. The whole film is a thriller and there is a definite storyline that runs throughout the proceedings. Yes, it’s a very strong role that I get to enact and my character is definitely not someone who is just hanging by a hero.