For any seventeen year old, to star as a leading actress in a Hindi film can only be a distant dream today. But for Hansika, it was never going to be difficult. After seeing her on television and in few films as a child artist a few years ago, now, Hansika is barely recognizable. In the past few years, however, she seems to have turned things around, making better personal and professional choices.
Now that you've grown up from a little girl of small screen to a leading lady of Bollywood films, how would you describe your journey so far?
I'd describe my journey in a very positive way and a lucky manner. As a child artist, I was very lucky that I got to do big small screen serials. But there is always time to move ahead especially when you grow up. I was in the 9th standard when I left television because my 10th board exams needed me to study very hard. In that process, I grew up and while I was in my 11th standard, I got to do my first film with Himesh Reshammiya, Aap Kaa Surroor. So the journey for me has just begun. Wait and watch, there's a long way to go.
Aap Ka Suroor was a very serious film but your second big release Money Hai Toh Honey Hai seems to be a complete transition from a serious role to a funny one. Do you associate at all with the character you're portraying in this film?
Of course yes. This is the closest character I can come to with to my real life because I play a role of Ashima Kapoor who is the best and the top most actress of small screen and how she wants to become even bigger in the world of Bollywood. She finally gets the big break but only gets roles of saas and bahu types because of her small screen success. It's really funny. You will see me at my best in Money Hai Toh Honey Hai.
Why leave the small screen when you could have grown bigger and better in television?
It was never about growing bigger or better. It was about making the right decisions. My mom had already told me to concentrate more on my studies and complete my 10th boards and then again think of pursuing my career. It makes a lot of difference if you are educated. I have no regrets quitting small screen because I cherish every bit of my time I had dedicated to the television for three whole years.
You played a small girl in the film Jaago which also starred Manoj Bajpai. What was his reaction when he saw you all grown up to become a lead actress opposite Govinda?
His mouth was wide open and he was zapped. He said, "Is it you Hansika?". And I said, "Yes it's the same me." Manoj is a brilliant actor and has matured over the years and so have I. But he treated me in the same way and manner as he treats his other co-actors and gave me the same space as others. I was really touched by his gestures. He is simply great and not many know that he can do excellent comedy.
Now let's talk about Govinda. What was it like to work with Indian Film Industry's one of the finest and the best dancers and comic talents?
He is a gem of a person and a complete gentleman. I am very fortunate to have got my second film with such an experienced and a good co-artist. He has actually helped me a lot to grow as an actor too. Chi Chi is not like a father figure who gives advices as to this is how you should work and act. He is equal to each and everybody. Whether it's Upen Patel, Celina, Aftab or Manoj. He will come up to you and motivate you to do better and will say, "You could have done it better." Such is his persona.
Was there a moment that you forgot your lines opposite the highly experienced Govinda?
I am not bad at forgetting lines. Actually, if anyone of us would make a mistake or crack a joke or give an expression, we all would just burst out laughing out loud and then tears would come out of our eyes. Infact, we would do the same if there was no reason what so ever. Strange isn't it?
What about Ganesh Acharya, who shares the same story as you do. His first film too was a serious affair called Swami?
I know Ganesh since childhood. My first film's song, Tera Mera Milna was choreographed by Ganesh. He is a beautiful person. When I saw Swami which was directed by him, I knew that this is not Ganesh. But when I heard his second film which he narrated to me in Germany while shooting Aap Kaa Surroor, I knew from the word go that he had made my character by keeping me in mind. Not to forget, both our families are really close to each other. Money Hai to Honey Hai brings out his true personality.
What makes Money Hai Toh Honey Hai different from hundreds of such comic films made in the past?
For me, this is a film which is special and close to my heart because I play someone who I am in real life. Also, it is my second film. For the first time people are going to see my actual talent from a serious one. I've shed weight, my hair, make up, everything has changed to the core. But what's important is that comedy as a subject will never get old, and that's what makes this film differently same.
Have your close friends, family members or teachers ever expressed their grief on you joining the world of glitz and glamour at a tender age of just 17?
I don't think anyone you've mentioned will come up to me and say that. They have been all so supportive towards me and my decision and have said that it's good that I have been an inspiration to many to take up acting or any profession they want before they are in their 20's. If I wouldn't have been in acting, I'd probably be studying and bunking at the same time. I'd just be sitting out at Costa or Barista doing nothing. My best friend has always supported me and she said that I have inspired her to go to New York and study. She gives me credit but I know it's not me, it's just because of her.
How does it feel to be the youngest female lead actor in the Indian Film Industry?
Superb. It's the best feeling for anyone who is my age and have reached so far. That does not put me in a situation where I start thinking that I don't have to be in public. I still go to Costa coffee but very rarely. I go for shopping just like any other person does. I am very fortunate to get all this when I'm only 17 years old.
You mentioned shopping. Where do you like to shop from? And are you a brand person?
I am like all the other girls around me who like the colours green, blue, red, yellow, brown, whichever colour. I love nail polishes and have loads and loads of shoes. In Germany, while shooting, I purchased quite a few shoes because I love walking a lot. As for clothes, I am a bit brand conscious but if I see something in a normal shop which excites me, I'd buy it without reading the label. When it comes to really expensive stuff, I get a little brandy.
Where have you enjoyed shopping the most?
My first expensive shopping began in Dubai. I love to shop there. Now, it's Austria, Singapore and Germany.
Has it ever happened that success has made you over confident?
Not at all. My parents and my brother will throw me down on the ground. I can never ever get over confident. My friends and family are very open to me. They are not biased. They will tell me if I look bad in some scenes or haven't performed well in the film. They know my weak points and good ones. So if stardom comes to me head, my mother, who is my biggest critic, will say enough is enough. It's time to quit this profession.
Which is your all time favourite film?
Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. Whenever it comes on television, I make sure not to miss it.
Have you recommended some of your co-actors from television with whom you've worked as a child artist to join in films?
It would feel miserable to do such a thing. How can a 17-year-old recommend a 40-year-old guy who is vastly experienced? Somewhere, a bit of sourness comes in the person who would think - a teenage girl with a few years of experience is recommending me? No way! I am not here to recommend anyone. I am here to entertain the people and I would definitely not be the right person to start recommending others who are far more superior than me.
Do you think the title of your film, Money Hain Toh Honey Hain, stands true in today's time?
I am too small to answer this question. I don't even carry money with me. I mean, I get pocket money every month but whatever I earn goes in the savings. So when I am 18 next year, I can remove as much money I want.
As a teenager, what have you learnt from observing a star like Govinda on and off the sets?
The patience he has in him. He is not like one of those actors who think only their work should get appreciated by the people. He will give out ideas to the director and if they are rejected, he wouldn't mind. But he definitely gives his experienced inputs. Having said that, he is also open to suggestions. Not to forget, he is a cute and a sweet man.
What about your co-stars like Upen Patel, Celina and Aftab?
They are all dignified actors who are true professionals.
That's a very short answer.
Yes, because I don't want to give out the same monotonous answers like I loved working with them, they were so friendly, we all used to sit together and chat after the shot was over and the rest. You will get your long answer after you see the film.
Now that you're getting established on the big screen, do you sometimes get bossy?
Not at all. Yes, I used to when I was a kid. In fact, I was a lazy bum who couldn't even get a glass of water for myself. I used to wake up, go to school, come home, eat and then study and go to sleep. That was my lazy life. Now, it's taken a complete turn. I can't afford to wake up late, have to go to the gym everyday and work out for two hours, no matter what time I come back from work. Sleepless nights and eating calorie conscious food. But now it's so much challenging.
Why go and watch Money Hain Toh Honey Hain?
Because it's my second film. Because Kumar Mangat ji and Master ji (Ganesh Acharya) have put in a lot of effort to make a good comedy film. The script who is the actual hero of the film and of course, for all of us, me, Chi Chi, Celina, Aftab, Upen and Manoj who has given his best shot at acting in a comic film. And last but not the least, take your money and honey and come in the theatres and enjoy the film.