Sagarika Ghatge: Shahrukh Khan’s energy amazes me!

The Chak De! India actor is super-excited about her upcoming thriller Rush, in which she will be seen playing Emraan Hashmi’s love interest. But one star who continues to fascinate her is Shahrukh Khan, confesses Sagarika…

She made her Bollywood debut alongside Shahrukh Khan in Shimit Amin’s 2007 film Chak De! India. Subsequently, she worked in films like Fox and Miley Na Miley Hum. And now the gorgeous Sagarika Ghatge will be seen opposite Emraan Hashmi in her new release, Rush. We caught up with the leggy beauty on a lazy October afternoon to find out more about the film and her role in it…

After a long sabbatical you are back with Rush. Are you excited?

I am very excited, because Rush is a dynamic thriller. I am glad to see the way it has shaped up. It’s looking great. There’s Emraan Hashmi and Neha Dhupia in the film. We have a nice star cast. So we all are really excited.

After watching the promo of the film one senses that Emraan Hashmi is clearly the selling point of the film. Tell us about the story and your role in it.

Rush is primarily based on the media. Emraan plays a crime reporter in the film. I play his girlfriend Aahana Sharma. She is an artist by profession. She comes from a good family. She’s in a live-in relationship with Emraan. The story is about how they are working on their relationship. Being a crime reporter, Emraan’s character is on the go 24/7. So their relationship gets affected because of the kind of job he’s doing. My character in the film goes through ups and downs because of what is going on in Emraan’s life. So what happens to our relationship and what we go through is what the film is all about.

After the unexpected death of director Shamin Desai, his wife Priyanka took on the responsibility of completing the project. What was the experience like, working under two different individuals for the same film?

Shamin Desai had finished 90 percent of the film. Only the songs were left. So his wife Priyanka took over and completed the songs. In fact, Priyanka was active in this project right from the start. She pretty much handled everything. In a way, Priyanka was Shamin’s right hand. She knew how the film was conceived and how the project was handled – from the story to pre-production, production…everything. Even if she has finished the rest, the kind of aesthetic sense Priyanka has simply complemented nicely what Shamin had in his mind for the film. Priyanka has done a fantastic job and now the film is looking fabulous. Fingers crossed! Shamin has done a fantastic job too and it is really unfortunate that he’s not with us today.

Your character Preeti Sabrwal in your debut film Chak De! India was a sportsperson. Preeti was very focused in terms of what she wanted to achieve. So your role was less glamorous in that film, but Rush is a full-fledged commercial drama. How glamorous would you be in this one?

My character Aahana is very much like me. She’s young, independent and has a career going for her. So I can relate to her. She’s not very glamorous because she is a very real character. She’s her boyfriend’s( Emraan’s) support system. In Chak De! India, since it was a sports film, my character Preeti was very focused and aggressive in terms of what she wanted. And that’s how a sportsperson should be. But there are traits from both characters that I find in myself in real life.

You made your film debut with Shahrukh Khan. What did you learn from the country’s biggest superstar?

Initially, in the first few days of Chak De’s shoot, we were in awe of the fact that we were working with THE Shahrukh Khan. I got to learn a lot from him not just because he’s a superstar and a great actor, but also because his body of work is so huge. Whatever screen time we got with him, we got to learn so much from SRK. He’s such an energetic person. I think his sheer energy is amazing. For one scene in the film, we had to spend an entire night getting it right. It was just me, him and one more actor. We were shooting from 5 in the morning to 8 at night and even after that and we were there in our characters, all because of him – because he was so involved and focused. It makes so much of a difference when you have somebody like him working with you.

And now you are working with Emraan Hashmi, who has emerged as a talent to reckon with, especially after his performances in films like Shanghai and The Dirty Picture. What was that like? And what did you learn from your Rush co-star?

Emraan is the most professional actor I have worked with. He comes to the set prepared; he knows exactly what he has to do. He’s well versed with his lines. I remember the first scene that we did for Rush had a confrontational tone to it. And I would I forget my lines, but he was right there. He even remembered my lines! He was thoroughly prepared. Emraan has really evolved as an actor and it was a great opportunity to work with him in Rush.

What is the USP of the film? Why should we watch Rush?

Rush is about the media. And in today’s world, we all are connected to the media in some way. It is also exciting because what we see and what happens behind the scenes could be different. It is about how things are projected via the medium, so it is a fast-paced thriller with media as the backdrop. I think it has worked well. So go and watch the film!

Besides films, what keeps Sagarika Ghatge occupied?

After Chake De! India I was not sure if I wanted to be in the acting business. Chak De just happened to me by chance. I was in college then. So I wanted to go back to studies. I wanted to study marketing or fashion. I was just 20 then and in two minds – I did not know If I wanted to act or go back to do my Masters like most of my friends were doing at that point of time. But today I am very confident and very sure in my head that I want to do films. I want to act. Besides acting, I like to read a lot and to travel a lot.