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All Eyes On Her

All Eyes On Her

Sara Ali Khan's brand of bliss, a genuine work in progress, is nearly envious. Everyday, she focuses on the good- acting, exercising and simply being.

ARTICLE BY : Nupur Sarvaiya

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An unforgettable mise-en-scène is set inside a discreet vintage house in London. From a makeshift dressing room, Sara Ali Khan emerges in an all-eyes-on-me red lehenga, lavishly doused in a mélange of intricate crafts. She seamlessly steps in front of the camera and locks her gaze at the lens. And yet something is missing. Perhaps a tiara? But like loyal subjects in an imperial court, the Khush team murmurs unanimously: all hail Queen Sara.
There is, in fact, nothing high-handed about the 26-year-old’s demeanour. Her grace, however, can be credited to the discipline and elegance that classically trained dancers cultivate. Her near-perfect manners remind you that Sara comes from a line of monarchs. Her father and actor Saif Ali Khan is the current Nawab of Pataudi. Her mother, Amrita Singh is practically Bollywood royalty, with over 55 films to her credit.

Wardrobe: Shyamal & Bhumika • Jewellery: Rare Heritage

Within a few minutes, Sara will make you feel like you are part of her club. Time flies around her in nonlinear fashion. From the outset, she promises me she wants our chat to be a “super candid”, and she lives up to that deposition. She speaks articulately, in a unique mix of academic prowess (she holds a degree in history and political science from Columbia University in New York) and Gen Z slang. Yet for someone who should be on cloud 9 with her remarkable string of performances and admirers (40.9 million on Instagram at the time of going to press) in less than four years in the film industry, she’s remarkably down-to-earth. She is, perhaps, too jaded to enjoy the frisson of fame, and too familiar with it from family life.

The Drama Queen ?

Wardrobe: Shyamal & Bhumika • Jewellery: Rare Heritage

I can confirm she’s a lethal combination of sass and smarts. Witticism and humour are inherent to her, and her energy is infectious. One thing no one can question is this Ivy League actor’s gene pool—acting is part of her DNA. “She always wanted to be an actor. She’s a deeply committed and a passionate person,” Saif had affectionately said about his daughter in an interview in 2017. An artist is not just about fuzzy, filial feelings and cakewalking. The craft also requires constant learning and honing skills. For Sara, acting has not been the result of some calculated process but the expression of an insuppressible instinct. Her goofy video from her teenage days, where she can be seen enacting a mourning scene, once broke the internet. “I honestly believe that I am too privileged and blessed to be able to do something I love as much as acting. It doesn’t feel like a job. It is truly something that makes me happy. I am just thankful every day that I get to be an actress. This has amplified post the pandemic. We are all finally able to go back to work. And most importantly, there is an immense sense of appreciation for small things in life that we often took for granted. Today, the time doesn’t matter, 2019 or 2022, I am thoroughly grateful for my craft. So, the motivation to keep pushing harder comes innately to me,” says Sara, with a philosophical undertone to her thought.

Behind-The-Scenes

Wardrobe: Shyamal & Bhumika • Jewellery: Rare Heritage

Where she essayed the feisty-yet-caring Mukku in ‘Kedarnath’, she garnered applause for playing Rinku in ‘Atrangi Re’, an altruistic film that spotlights mental health. Sara feels she’s in the right place at the right time in her life, collaborating with artists and filmmakers who elevate her. “Every film, every role is memorable in its own way because every experience is different. But ‘Kedarnath’ being my first film will always remain extra special to me. Having said that, I have had a blast working with Anand ji [Rai], Pawan [Kriplani] sir, and Laxman [Utekar] sir. They are all such varied filmmakers, and I am thankful for these opportunities,” she says.
I’m particularly excited about Sara’s two films that are lined-up for this year, including ‘Gaslight’ co-starring Chitrangda Singh and Vikrant Massey, as well as an untitled movie with Vicky Kaushal. “Working with Vikrant and Chitrangda ma’am was amazing. They are so experienced and such wonderful actors. Vicky was also a blast to work with. He is so sure yet so spontaneous. I have had an extremely productive first half of the year. I can’t wait for these films to be released and I hope the audiences love these two films.”
But the pressure of emulating new personalities, persuading the audience of a character’s narrative, imprinting memories, and then shedding the mask to try on another—it’s not your usual nine-to-five. I am all ears as she shares her creative process. “Of course, my state of mind during ‘Atrangi Re’ was extremely emotional, and the emotions were extremely different while shooting a romantic song with Ranveer Singh. But regardless, the idea is to be honest and organic to the energy that your character would be feeling and not coming on set with any form of baggage or any external stimulus. The most beautiful thing about being on a set is that everyone, from the director to the DOP, is trying to do something together.”
What does working with Sara on a movie set look like? “Working with Sara depends on which film you’re working with me on. I am a director’s actor. I think my director sets the precedent on what the vibe on the set is going to be. So, all in all, I am feeding off my director and unit’s energy, and giving out the energy that my character would be giving out at that time. But on a personal note, I don’t encourage managers on set, I don’t encourage visitors on set, and my phone is never with me on set,” she discloses, offering a glimpse behind the curtain.

The Fit-Spiration

Wardrobe: Shyamal & Bhumika • Jewellery: Rare Heritage

Of the many disarming qualities that she has—bold, bright, beautiful, brash—the most obvious (and commented upon) is her unwavering commitment towards fitness. I inquire about her ongoing transformation journey. “I like the fact that you call it an ongoing transformation journey,” she acknowledges, “because it’s not like ‘Aap ek baar patle ho gaye, toh patle ho gaye.’ It’s something I struggle with too, like everyone else. I love food and trying new cuisines. I don’t just say it to be funny in interviews, I mean it.” Sara is palpably overt talking about all this and is not hard-pressed to go into the hurdles. “But my body has a tendency to retain water and gain weight. I also have PCOD, so I am cognizant of the fact that fitness cannot be a hack, it has to be my lifestyle. It is a constant task and a constant challenge to draw that line.”
I ask the obvious question—what’s her secret to staying so fit? “Healthy for me is drinking water, sleeping correctly, eating correctly, and also having a cheat meal and a rest day. But ultimately, staying agile and active, whether I am travelling, shooting or doing nothing. The day I was in Kashmir, I went trekking. In London, the day involved kickboxing.”
While being active is imperative to her, being a certain size isn’t. Her advice for brides struggling with their weight is “living a healthy lifestyle, irrespective of whether you’re getting married or not. Staying mentally peaceful and happy is just as important to overall health. That’s what should matter the most.”

The Kurta Crusader

Wardrobe: Shyamal & Bhumika • Jewellery: Rare Heritage

Fitness or fashion, striking a balance comes naturally to her. You’ll see her flaunting an ornate sari one day, and a sweatsuit the next. But amidst the heavily curated celebrity closets, Sara has unfolded a style revolution by making the humble kurta her signature look. “I don’t think I aimed to make kurtas cool, even though I agree that I have, and I was the first one to start wearing Indian clothes on a day-to-day basis. People went from calling me ‘behenji’ to suddenly being like ‘you’re quite cool’, so thank you for the admiration and acknowledgement. But, for me, being cool is being yourself. White churidars and kurtas have been my go-to since I was 5 because it’s me and it’s most comfortable. Apart from the weather and my mood, comfort is what I prioritise even when attending a wedding. Especially if it is a friend’s wedding, I want to be dancing till 5 in the morning.” Her failsafe colour and silhouette to wear for a special occasion? “Pick as you please!”

Wardrobe: Mohsin Naveed Ranjha • Jewellery: Rare Heritage


Editor-in-chief: Sonia Ullah
Photographer: Vansh Virmani
Creative Director: Manni Sahota
Fashion Editor: Vikas Rattu
Fashion Stylists: Tanishq Malhotra
Fashion Assistant: Zahra Sarfraz
Makeup: Gini Bhogal
Hair: Christopher Gatt
Nails: Jade Ford
Photography Assistant: Gagan Dhaliwal

 

Tags : Bollywood  Sara Ali Khan  Celebrity  Shyamal & Bhumika  Mohsin Naveed Ranjha  Rare Heritage  Gini Bhogal 
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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO PLAN THE HAPPIEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE