Atelier Diva: Work, Play, Love
December 23, 2021
No Ordinary Girl
December 14, 2021 COMMENT comment
No Ordinary Girl
By Priyanka Chakrabarti
“My life changed completely after my first film. It is no more what it used to be. I never imagined even in my wildest dreams that I would be on the silver screen one day.”
Sagarika Ghatge was brought up like any other ordinary girl. A sport enthusiast, she loved various sports including hockey and had dreams of studying abroad. But little did she know that she was soon going to become famous as Preeti Sabharwal ‘the hockey player’ because of her role in the 2007 film Chak De! India starring superstar Shahrukh Khan.
Having graduated from one of the best schools in the country, Mayo College Ajmer, she wanted to pursue higher studies from abroad and have a steady career in fashion and marketing business.
“After Mayo, I did my from HR College, Mumbai. My plan was to go abroad to study fashion and marketing – and maybe some day launch my very own label.
But destiny had its way and I ended up being an actor. Life is indeed erratic,” says the charming diva with a smile. “I come from an absolutely non-fi lmy family,” she continues. “Apart from being extremely focussed academically, I was always into sports all throughout my school years. I was a swimmer, an athlete and played hockey too! And oh yes, my other passion was dramatics,” she adds.
So how did fi lms happen to her? “I knew someone in Mumbai who worked with Yash Raj Films. I was off ered the role but I was very confused at that time since there were too many women characters in the fi lm. I was in a dilemma even after the auditions. But then who can say no to Shahrukh Khan and Yash Raj Films?” she laughs.
But did her apprehensions come true? Does she feel that signing a film with so many female characters was a mistake? “I don’t know if it was a good, bad or an ugly move. But now hopefully, I will make more matured choices and won’t repeat the same mistake again. For me it was never a planned decision,” she replies.
The industry easily stereotypes actors especially the newcomers. So one reckons she got a lot of sports-oriented offers after the success of the movie. “I too expected the same but that luckily did not happen to me. I feared getting stereotyped. Chak De! India was an amazing movie and it was good for my career but I cannot always bank upon on it, right? Our audience is very intelligentand I don’t think they will expect another Preeti Shabarwal or another role of a hockey player,” Sagarika avers.
The sexy siren may love it or hate it but people associated her with the character. “People recognised me post the release of the film and I enjoyed every ounce of the attention. It was a whole new zone altogether. What really touched my heart was that I instantly had many children fans. I truly felt special,” she tells Diva.
There is an episode that touches upon casting couches in the sports fraternity in the movie Chak De! India. Has the actor ever faced such sorry incidents herself ? “I haven’t faced anything like that so far,” She responds. “On the contrary, I feel people in the industry are extremely professional especially the young directors, actors and producers. A mix of talent and luck is the key to succeed here,” Sagarika explains.
Speaking of the challenges in the fi lm industry, the actor says, “I believe my biggest challenge lies in my own dilemmas. Success came to me dramatically when I was just 20 years old. I was still confused about my decision when Bollywood kind of swept me off my feet. And I feel maybe that’s why I have not yet been able to give my 100 per cent to films. I regret not being mentally present in the zone and not being so social and aggressive.” Also, the actor feels that it is much easier for people with a godfather to succeed in this industry, since they are mostly wellversed with the tricks of the trade. “However, having said that, as an actor the things that matter at the end of the day are talent, honesty and focus,” she says.
And with this belief she is all set to be seen this month in the late Shamin Desai’s movie Rush, which was completed by his wife Priyanka Desai after his death. Sagarika plays Emraan Hashmi’s love interest in the film, which also stars Neha Dhupia. Emraan, she says, inspired and motivated her a great deal. “He always comes prepared on the sets. I bonded well with him and he encouraged me to do my homework too before arriving for the shoots. He is extremely professional and I had a gala time working with him. I portray the character of an artist in the film and Emraan plays the role of a crime reporter. The plot of the movie revolves around the impact of media manipulations,” she divulges.
Ask her what she feels about her journey from an ordinary girl to now being a celebrity and her reply indicates her mixed emotions: “My life changed completely after my first film. It is no more what it used to be. I never imagined even in my wildest dreams that I would be on the silver screen one day. I was a simple girl, attending college every day, happy with my friends and dreaming of make it big in the fashion industry. Now it’s all about reading scripts or shooting. But I can’t really complain because I am thoroughly enjoying it.” However, she’s cautious moving ahead in the journey as well. “I realise that with changes come responsibilities. I am a known person now and I know all my moves are being watched; one mistake can really pull me down,” she sums up with a smile.
“Success came to me dramatically when I was just 20 ears old. I was still confused about my decision when Bollywood kind of swept me off my feet.”
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