She is busy making her own films as a producer [NH10, Phillauri]. She also has a biggie of hers lined up [Ae Dil Hai Mushkil]. Still, when the opportunity of working in Sultan came her way, Anushka Sharma was sure that she had to be a part of it. Though this also meant that there were many days of shooting as well as gruelling prep work required due to some intense training planned for her, she was game for it. The reasons were not the obvious ones around a) sharing screen space with Salman Khan or b) working on yet another film with mentor Aditya Chopra. Instead, it was the story factor that she loved the most.
“Anushka is a busy actor. She works in two films a year and has many big directors on her wish-list. Still, when the script of Sultan came her way, she just loved it. Though not much was revealed about her characterization during the marketing and promotion of the film, now it is known to one and all that she is quite integral to the core storyline of Sultan. Moreover, she is present right through the film and has done very well in the performance oriented part,” informs our source.
Other than the fact that she was playing a wrestler in the film, it was the strong emotional quotient detailed by Ali Abbas Zafar that scored brownie points for the filmmaker.
“The toughest part of Sultan casting was to get the right girl,” says Ali, “For the longest time, we were looking for a new girl who had enough time to practice and also to get into the skin of the character due to the emotional quotient involved. I was very sure that till the time I was not confident of the acting capabilities of the girl, I won’t sign her on. It was a long exercise since there were girls who were athletic but not actors and also vice versa.”
Since Sultan wasn’t quite a quintessential Salman Khan starrer where a heroine was just incidental to the film’s narrative, Ali wanted an actress with good calibre.
“It was solely my decision to go and narrate the script to Anushka,” informs Ali, “See, when you have a fictional character which is very real then you can do a lot of stuff with that. That was what got her truly excited. She just jumped into it. Also, I believe deep down she wanted to play an athlete in a film. An opportunity like this, and too so early in the career, comes very rarely for an actress. Anushka saw merit in all that was offered to her and I am glad she went ahead with my conviction and gave her all to the role.”
Well, with her performance been appreciated by one and all (and the blockbuster commercial success that has followed), guess Anushka’s decision to do Sultan has indeed paid off.