Beauty and brains, all these are great compliments for me, but what I really want is a passion for films, says Sara.
Basking in the afterglow of her debut Kedarnath, and looking straight ahead into the future with Simmba Sara Ali Khan spills the beans on Bollywood, fashion, and mommy Amrita Singh.
You’re not one to mince words and speak what comes to mind. Do your parents often nudge you to bite your tongue to avoid landing into trouble?
There is a fine line between being honest and being offensive. Both my parents have raised me to be sensitive to an extent and they try and restrain me when needed. But I am so new that sometimes, I tend to make mistakes. I think both of them have also realised that I am the kind of person if you tame too much then maza nahi aayega. I only have candidness and realness and if I hide that, then people will not enjoy talking to me. People think I make a special effort, but it’s actually just me being myself. If I am anything less than this… I will get caught. I won’t be able to sustain myself, so I might as well just be real.
Your aunt Soha Ali Khan was a banker and she eventually got into films. Similarly, you went to Cambridge and left that to get into films. What has this leap of faith cost you?
This is the place for me for sure. You have to choose the place and the place has to choose you. I have chosen this and it needs to choose me. But this is what I want whole-heartedly. Beauty and brains, all these are great compliments for me, but what I really want is a passion for films. If that manifests, I am here to stay and inshallah that happens.
Bollywood’s tryst with Hindu-Muslim romances has almost always grabbed attention. How well has it worked for Kedarnath?
It’s a very innocent pure love story, which gets bigger than the Hindu-Muslim love story. And that’s what touched my heart. It’s not a typical Hindu-Muslim love story, but that not the crux of it at all.
You come across as a spiritual person, we often see you visiting the ISKCON temple. Are you a God-fearing person?
I’m not a very religious person. I don’t even know if I’m religious or spiritual, but I pray to God every night. My prayers are conversations in bed. I have travelled a lot over the country, from Shirdi to Vaishno Devi to Fatehpur Sikri to the Golden Temple and the Mapusa church in Goa. I am one of those people who believe in energies and I feel when people are in an environment with a belief — that energy is felt even more.
How do you perceive the paparazzi culture?
You take as much pressure as you want to. It is fine because I signed up to be a public figure. So there will be this culture and I am okay with it. Plus it’s their job. I respect their job and people also understand that we are more than just actors. We might be seen in a bad mood or bloated at times, but if you’re okay with that then I am okay with this because I can’t help it.
What keeps you grounded and in touch with reality?
Whatever I see is real, I don’t live any differently but I feel my mother is very real. So I look at her and I feel she is extremely real and she has tried to imbibe the same realness in my brother and me.
It is quite obvious that your mother Amrita Singh has been your biggest support. What kind of a person would you describe her to be?
She is a tremendously talented actress. She is a powerhouse of talent, all while she was focusing on becoming a mother. She used to help me out with hair and makeup because I didn’t know anything about that. I am the studious kind… I am more comfortable in my jeans and t-shirt. But as far as the acting is concerned, she leaves it up to my directors and co-actors.
You look so much like your mother; do you think you can match her steps in terms of acting?
I look at the mirror sometimes and I am shocked myself. It’s a huge compliment for me, so even if I can have one percent of her talent and looks, I will consider myself lucky.
The industry wants actresses to fit a certain template. Especially when it comes to looks. You yourself have had to shed all those extra kilos to fit a certain mould. How difficult was it to make this shift?
It is totally worth giving up because you not only look good but feel good as well. So it’s not just about being vain. When I am looking good, my hormones are better, I’m feeling better, my skin is better and that feeling is better than the feeling I get after eating chocolate. But, I can’t give up chocolate entirely...so once a week I forgive myself!