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Over two years ago, she debuted with a huge hit — Dabangg. With that, Sonakshi Sinha earned instant recognition as a classic Bollywood beauty. At a time when size zero was a fad, Sinha came across as a refreshing Indian beauty and full-figured — the kind that had long stopped happening to Hindi cinema.
As she awaits her big Diwali release, Son of Sardaar (SoS), Sinha stands with a filmography that most of her peers would envy, at least in terms of box-office figures. Her first two films — Dabangg and Rowdy Rathore — earned over Rs 100 crore. Her next films, Son of Sardaar and Dabangg 2, are also expected to achieve the same. "How many newcomers get to work with three of the country's biggest superstars in their first three films? It's not just the chance, but I think I've used the opportunities well," she says.
Her films so far have been evidently of the same mould, starring opposite older, macho superstars (Salman Khan in Dabangg, Akshay Kumar in Rowdy Rathore and Ajay Devgn in SoS) on whose star-power the films are built. But to her credit, Sinha has always managed to hold her own. "I think what works is that I don't try too hard, and I have an easy confidence; this is something I've imbibed from my father," she says. However, she dismisses the thoughts of a well-calculated strategy behind doing masala movies opposite established stars. "As an audience, I enjoy watching these kind of films, and naturally as an actor, I want to be a part of them." Her character in SoS is that of an archetypal Punjabi girl. "She is modern, colourful, vibrant and has been brought up with middle-class Punjabi values," she says.
At a time when her contemporaries, such as Anushka Sharma and Parineeti Chopra, are stepping out of safe mainstream cinema to experiment with bolder female-oriented films, Sinha seems unfazed about competition and what might be perceived of it. "People might think that I feel left out when I see my contemporaries doing other kinds of films, but I am very happy in the space I am right now. And if I may say so, successful too," she says. "And this trend of female-oriented films has just started; I don't want to do those kind of films just for the sake of it," she adds.
Vikramaditya Motwane's Lootera will be the first film where she will step out of her comfort zone. Here, she will try her hand at off-beat mainstream cinema and that too, opposite another young actor, Ranveer Singh. Her other two films are also opposite younger stars — Imran Khan in Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai 2 and Shahid Kapoor in the recently-signed Prabhudheva film Namak. "Trust me, there is no formula behind this; I do films based on their scripts and whether I can picture myself in it," she says.
However, in Dabangg 2, which releases during Christmas, she will go on to become the colourful Chulbul Pandey's better half, as part of the natural progression of her character Rajjo from part one. "They are married now, and the romance is of a different kind, with things that happen between married couples," she says. This is all she is ready to reveal about it for now.
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