Sara Ali Khan has two upcoming releases – Sushant Singh Rajput starrer Kedarnath, which is a Hindu-Muslim love story set against the 2013 Uttarakhand floods, and the Rohit Shetty directed Simbaa, set in the same universe as Singham. But even before any of her films have released, the 23-year-old actress has become somewhat of a social media star with images of her whereabouts being splashed across Instagram. In this interview with Anupama Chopra, she speaks about handling the pressures of being photographed constantly and why she won’t complain even if interviews get too bizarre. Excerpts of the interview:
Anupama Chopra (AC): What are the pressures of being an actor, especially a female actor in the age of social media?
Sara Ali Khan (SAK): As much as you take. I wear white salwar kameezs constantly and I’ve been told by people that I shouldn’t but I really like to.
AC: Who says ‘mat pehno’? Stylists?
SAK: A lot of people. Not stylists. People around you. Well-wishers, family, friends that, ‘Arre yaar, thoda achha dikho, bahar jaa rahe ho.’ Arre yaar, nahi karna, thak gayi aaj, rehne do, kya farak padta hai? I’m okay being like that. I won’t show up to an interview with Anupama Chopra just in a nightie because I’m appropriate and decent. Having said that, I’m not going to deck up every time I leave the house either because I’m a normal person. I’m also a slightly social person – there are my friends that I like to have dinner with. I like to go to the gym because I will be extremely large if I don’t. And all this means that I step out of the house and there is media so that’s okay.
AC: You don’t read comments and get affected?
SAK: Sometimes if I’m bored, I’ll read. But get affected? No.
AC: Really? That’s amazing.
SAK: Sometimes, it’s fun. Just the other day, I’d worn this cap and some comments said she looks like a clown. I had a blast. That’s so funny. Then some people say ‘Ya toh salwar kameez ya toh nangi ghumti hai’ that’s also really funny because it’s true. Either I’m in hot shots or I’m in salwar kameez.
AC: But Sara you obviously come from a very secure space. Because for a lot of people, these comments do matter, especially for the people who are just coming into the limelight. Actors have told me that they got off Twitter because sometimes there would be so much hate that it impacted the acting. You’re not on Twitter, right?
SAK: I am under a false name and I’ll come on Twitter soon enough.
AC: Are you stalking people?
SAK: Of course. I have a fake Instagram where I like things. I just can’t be liking random stuff because people take screenshots of what you’ve liked sometimes. You don’t always want people to know.
AC: So what do you like that you can’t admit to liking?
SAK: Hot models and all. You don’t want everyone to know what you’re liking.
AC: But do you wonder, Sara, about what is public and what is private? Do you struggle with that?
SAK: I think that in our job, it’s not very clear. And that is something I’m quite aware of. But again it’s up to you.
AC: What you’re comfortable with.
SAK: Recently, on Karan’s show (Koffee With Karan), I mentioned that I have PCOD and then a lot of people messaged me and my mom saying, “We’re so proud of you for talking about it,” and I’m like Really? It literally just came out. I was saying I was fat because I had PCOD and it was not like I intended it in that way. I’m comfortable speaking about it. But if you’re not comfortable speaking about something in your personal life, I think that’s equally okay. I think that we are public figures or about to at least become public figures, so there is an element of understanding that. Whether it’s the media or it’s audiences or it’s people, I have been given a lot of love and appreciation very early without having necessarily earned it. And if that is the predicament that I am in then I’m not going to sit here and complain about the potential irritations of my predicament because it’s also a very positive one and every coin has two sides. So if you can make me feel good about myself then it’s fine. If you see me bloated outside the gym, that’s my personal space and it’s not necessarily something I want seen but it’s okay.
AC: It’s what you signed up for.
SAK: You don’t get to cherry pick and choose.
AC: Tell me though, there are some situations which are really bizarre, like you holding the Taimur doll.
SAK: I was just given the doll. What are you supposed to do? You’re there to promote your film, you’re talking, you’re dancing, it’s fun and games. They must have thought it’s hilarious. What am I going to say, it’s not funny? It’s fine, I’ll go with it. You’ve invited me. I’ve come. I’m having fun. You’ve given me coffee. It’s all good. What can you say?
AC: Ki mujhe Taimur doll nahi chahiye.
SAK: Aise thodi bol sakti hu. Mai kaun hoti hu? Abhi yeh script hai toh lena padega. If I say nahi chahiye, then that will become something. Sara doesn’t want Taimur doll! So just do it.
AC: Correct, this is true.
SAK: Is it not? Will three people not turn and say: Sara did not accept Taimur doll? Let’s see why. Pata karte hai. Swipe up to read more.