Hailing from an army background, Anushka Sharma has led a very quiet and disciplined life, but confesses her profession has now made her an attention-seeker - an "occupational hazard" for all actors.
"I am not spoilt as I was brought up in an army background. But every actor is an attention-seeker. It is an occupational hazard for us. If I don't seek attention, I will not be doing my work well," Anushka told IANS in an interview.
The actress made her Bollywood debut in 2008 with Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and later went on to do films like Badmaash Company, Band Baaja Baaraat, Ladies v/s Ricky Bahl and most recently Jab Tak Hai Jaan.
In a short span of four years, Anushka has carved a niche for herself in Bollywood and the 24-year-old says she wants to use her success to do things on her own terms.
"You should use success as a way of doing your work in a better way. I want to be successful to be able to do things on my own terms. You should use your stardom and success to be able to pull people into the theatre. That's what I would want to do with my success," Anushka said.
Asked what her mantra to survive in the industry is, she said: "Do your work and mind your own business; that is the only way."
Anushka admits she wasn't sure about the film industry before she joined it, but her views changed once she became a part of it.
"I used to think it is a dirty field because of these news channels playing dumb stories. But now I feel that when you get a lot here, you need to give back equally too. So whoever is the biggest star right now is working that much harder," she said.
After garnering critical acclaim for her performance in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Anushka will now be seen in Vishal Bhardwaj's Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola opposite Imran Khan and Pankaj Kapoor. It releases Jan 11.
The actress found the role of Bijlee challenging as it was difficult for her to relate to it.
"This is the first time I dealt with something which I just could not relate to. When I was growing up I was not at all spoilt. There was no scope for throwing tantrums in my house. Plus, she (Bijlee) is not a stereotypical spoilt brat. I could not look at my personal references for this. I had to be like someone else totally," she said.
Anushka admits that though she felt intimidated by Pankaj Kapoor, she had learnt a lot from the veteran actor.
"Pankaj Kapoor is one of the best actors one has ever seen because he has been a theatre actor. He has learnt to blank out people and the crowd and focus. That is one of the strengths an actor must possess," she said.
"I was intimidated by him. He doesn't talk much so you are always on tenterhooks around him. But it is such a pleasure seeing him act. He doesn't drink and he has played an alcoholic," she said.
(Anjuri Nayar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)