Anushka Sharma and her older brother, Karnesh Sharma, turned producers with NH10 (2015). The movie did well, and it also garnered critical acclaim. A few days before National Siblings Day (April 10), we caught up with Anushka and Karnesh, who want to make films that will take the audience by surprise.
What is it like, working with a sibling — good, bad or ugly?
Karnesh: It’s all of it. It’s good, it’s bad, very bad, sometimes torturous and suicidal (laughs).
Anushka: He’s right, it’s not all good, because somewhere, as family, you take each other for granted. When you have to speak to somebody from your workspace, you’ll be tactful. But with your sibling, you talk with no holds barred. So, sometimes, we end up fighting. But these are things we are both aware of. The good bit that comes out of working together is far more. Also, we are too close. If we didn’t have such a strong relationship, it would’ve been different. In our case, he is my best friend.
Karnesh: What’s important is that at the end of it all, there’s trust. So, even though there might be issues, we know that we can trust each other blindly.
Anushka: He and I have never had different opinions. Our approaches may differ, but our final result is the same.
What made you get into production?
Karnesh: While sailing (he was in the merchant navy), the only form of entertainment for us used to be movies. And not just Indian films, but world cinema. So, I’ve always been interested in movies, and now with her being in the industry, I’m more in tune with the process. Also, production is very similar to what we did in the merchant navy - we managed things.
Anushka: And I think that’s what production is about. Apart from the creative aspect, it really is about people management.
NH10 exposed the dark underbelly of Haryana. Your next film is based in Punjab. Does that also have a similar theme?
Anushka: There’s no pattern. We’re trying to create different and new content with our company.
Karnesh: We believe in reacting to stories. A script should appeal to us, irrespective of the genre. NH10 was a different genre from what our next is. Ultimately, it’s about what stories excite you personally; then you hope they excite many more people.
Your production house is fairly new. How difficult, would you say, is it to promote new talent?
Karnesh: It’s not easy. We’re fortunate that Anushka’s professional stature is such that there are enough people who trust her, and these are people who are commercially interested in films, and studios. They believe that she’s a bankable star. But film-making is not easy, and it shouldn’t be either.
Anushka: Getting a new person to do something puts us in a challenging situation, because you have to be doubly sure when you’re backing someone. And we have taken on that challenge. I guess that also comes from having clarity about what you’re doing. Apart from creating good content, we also want to add to the talent pool.
Tell us about your next film.
Anushka: It’s a romantic and fun film. It has drama, comedy and music. We are also experimenting a lot with the technical aspect of film-making [with it].
Karnesh: We’re using a lot of visual effects. Overall, it’s a complete film with a lot of emotions. It’s very quirky.
What did you learn from your maiden production?
Karnesh: I learnt how to make a good film with a low budget (laughs).
Anushka: How you can make a film, even if you don’t have any money (laughs).
Karnesh: We’ve learnt that when you don’t have a lot of resources, you find newer ways of doing things. Apart from that, it also taught us to work harder.
*their recent interview in Hindustan Times