With no filmy background or a godfather in the industry, Kriti Sanon entered the world of movies with a passion for acting. In 2015, Kriti won the Best Female Debut Award, and since then, there has been no looking back for this gorgeous actress. But her journey to living her dream wasn’t an easy ride. From juggling between GMAT and multiple auditions, Kriti has proven that if you put in the efforts and be patient, it will all pay off one day. Having worked in films like Bareilly Ki Barfi, Dilwale, Luka Chuppi and other, she has made a mark for herself in the industry. She also has an interesting line up of films- from Housefull 4, a comedy to Panipat, a period drama, Kriti is all set to go experimental with her roles too. Over a telephonic interview with us, Kriti spoke about a number of things from life before Heropanti to actresses getting credit for a film’s success and much more.
Kriti, when you started off in Bollywood, did you think that you are going to be a bankable actor?
No, I mean I did not aim like that, it is a very, very heavy word and it adds a lot of responsibility. I think all I wanted to do was act and find my own space in this huge world of Bollywood. Just do a good amount of work and learn as much as I could on the job because I didn’t have an acting background. And that is exactly what I went ahead doing. I have never had a dream that I want to become bankable as an actor and all that. Of course, you want your films to do well, but at the end of it, I just want to become better with every film as much as possible.
With your choice of films, you have shown your versatility as an actor. Was that something you had always consciously thought of doing?
See, as an actor, you want to do different kind of roles because that’s what is exciting about acting- you get to play a different character every time and you also get to explore a different side of yourself. I think, for the audience also, to be intrigued and interested in you as an actor, they want to see you in different genres and roles and performances. And I think it is important to step out of your comfort zone every now and then and do something which you don’t expect from yourself. For example, in Bareilly Ki Barfi, when I heard the script, I wasn’t really sure how I was going to look like Bitti (her character) because I hadn’t done anything like that. But the director, Ashwiny (Iyer Tiwari), the producers and Nitesh (Tiwari, writer) sir, they had full confidence (in me) which gave me a lot of confidence and I knew that I liked this character. It was very interesting and it was going to be fun to play her. So that’s how I went about it. In the process, I discovered a lot. I figured what my process was, as an actor. When you have not done theatre and don’t have an acting background or a film background, I feel, it takes a while to figure your process and see what works for you as an actor. When I did Bareilly Ki Barfi, and when it did well and people appreciated my performance, a lot of people who couldn’t see me in roles like that, started seeing me in these kinds of roles a lot more. I’m glad that I took those decisions about choosing different kinds of roles and choosing different films because that’s the only way of growing, I feel.
When you came to the industry, you did not have a godfather to guide you through. Do you feel like a part of the industry now or do you still feel like an outsider?
I very much feel like at home today, both, in the industry and in Mumbai itself. Coming from Delhi, I never stayed in a hostel or anywhere apart from my house. And now I feel like Bombay is as equal to my home in Delhi. I feel like it’s a place I belong to. Also, in the industry, I feel like I have done enough work and know enough people, and the sense of belonging comes a lot with people, wherever you are. You are more comfortable at these filmy parties, at an event because you know them and you can have a conversation. And also I feel like I am in a good space right now. I’m in a happy place in my life where I’m getting to do the kind of work I really want to. I am fortunate that I have met a lot of people in my journey so far, who, in the true sense, are my friends and mentors, who I know always wish well for me. Whether there is a Sajid Nadiadwala, there is Sabbir (Khan) sir who directed Heropanti, there is Dinu (Dinesh Vijan) who I have known since Raabta and a lot more people. You tend to create your own set of family and friends in the industry which makes you feel a lot more comfortable.
Since you mentioned that now you are more comfortable in the industry and you know more people around. But what was the phase before Heropanti like?
Well, obviously I was lost when I moved to Mumbai. Fortunately, when I moved, my father was staying here and he was working in Mumbai, so I wasn’t literally away from family. But I had just completed my B.Tech and I didn’t know how to go about being an actor. I didn’t how what you are supposed to do, or you are just supposed to do meetings. There were days when I would be low. My dad also moved back to Delhi, so I was by myself. I did not have too many friends here, I was also doing modelling side by side and I was also preparing for GMAT. The condition that my parents had put on me to let me follow my dreams and try for acting was that I would get a good score in GMAT entrance exam which was valid for 5 years. I was like ‘okay, I will do it side by side’. I also remember I used to stay in Kurla back then and I used to take an auto and go to Jamboree Classes in Andheri. I would carry my change and go to an audition and change there. So yes, it was a very different kind of a life which I had never ever thought of before. I felt that I was getting better with auditions and that was my learning on the job. I was doing a little bit of workshop on my own with this one person, Abhishek Pandey, who used to sometimes just come and do my scenes with me. But of course, there were days where I’d get restless and question myself whether is it ever going to happen? or Am I ever going to get that opportunity’ or, are you ever going to make it? There were times when you’ll get an opportunity that is tempting but not the best one. That time, you really feel restless and think that you should take it, what if I don’t get another one. So I feel I had to be really patient. I was sure about the fact that my debut project had to be something that would allow me to showcase my talent at a good platform. And fortunately, Heropanti came my way, where I think Sajid sir and Sabbir sir really took care of both of us (Tiger Shroff and her) very, very well.
Moving on and coming to films, when a movie does well and becomes a success, we have seen the actors getting credit but the actresses have had an equal contribution in it. What are your thoughts on this?
I don’t think that is as true as of now. Yes, what we have sort of spoken about recently, Taapsee Pannu and Arjun Kapoor also tweeted it, it was more on the lines of the mentions in a film. People tend to miss the female actors in the headlines whenever they talk about the film, it becomes the male actor’s film at times, which is very odd because it is not a film on a male protagonist. So I think those things need to change, and they are just basic things. I think these things have never been questioned so they have been going on like that. I’m glad that today the conversation is starting a little bit. Especially in films where they are on both, the male and the female actors’ shoulders. It needs to be credited equally and both should be given the mention in the headline. And I think it is odd to even be asking for it. So these little things, it’s not like it is going to make much of a difference to my career, but it is simple basic logic like ‘why are you not saying it?’ I also think the parts being written for female actors are meatier and it is equally important.
Coming to your roles, is there any character that you really want to play on screen?
Nothing like that. I feel like there are a lot of films where you get intrigued by the characters and would love to do something like that. Like for example, Julia Robert’s character in Pretty Women, I feel like it was damn interesting with her playing a hooker but at the same time having the vulnerability of a child. Or something slightly off and crazy like Silver Linings Playbook. I feel like Jennifer Lawrence was completely unpredictable and that’s what made her really interesting. So I would love to play a character that is slightly edgy, off, not so one dimensional maybe. I would love to do something slightly angsty as I have been saying. And yes something which people don’t expect from me and I don’t expect to see myself in already, something which is completely away from me. Like in real, touchwood, I really don’t get angry, so that will be something interesting for me to pick out.