Sonakshi Sinha: I still remember the first actor I designed outfits for as a teenager, it was…

Sonakshi Sinha is all smiles, relishing the glowing feedback she’s garnered for her portrayal in Heeramandi. “I’m grateful to Sanjay sir (Leela Bhansali, filmmaker) for presenting me to viewers in a way they’ve never witnessed before,” the performer remarks. In an exclusive conversation with HT City Showstoppers, she discusses her connection with apparel and the voyage from hopeful fashion designer to stardom.

The grand Indian wedding is incomplete without intricate craftsmanship, honored by designers who merge the traditional and contemporary. Here, Sonakshi Sinha dons a sequined gown with faux feather on the shoulders from designer Dolly J, who will display her creations at the FDCI Wedding Weekend set for August 3-4 in the Capital. She pairs it with a diamond neckpiece from Naulakha Fine Jewels(Rohan Shreshtha)

VENTURING INTO FASHION Unlock exclusive access to the latest developments on India’s general elections, just on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now! Sinha reveals that she was captivated by fashion as a youngster: “My mum (politician Poonam Sinha) produced Mera Dil Leke Dekho (2006) when I was in school. I assisted her with styling and clothes. Actor Koel Purie was the first individual I ever designed for.” Nonetheless, the actor admits that it didn’t “come naturally” to her. “My style is very casual, very easy. But I’m open to experimenting and willing to try out new things. So it’s been acquired.” Sinha shares. Why fashion design? “I had just graduated from college, trying to figure out my path. I was good at sketching figures and silhouettes, things like that. Fashion designing seemed to be the most logical step,” she elaborates. However, Salman Khan advised her to pursue acting. “My life transformed completely,” she recounts, referencing her debut in Dabbangg (2010). ‘STUCK TO MY GUNS’ Her career advanced with movies like Rowdy Rathore (2012), but it was Lootera (2013), a break from her typical glamorous roles, that truly let her excel. The 36-year-old also credits Akira (2016) for her shift from commercial films. “I was the central focus [of the film], it was liberating. That’s when I realized I wanted to represent strong female characters on screen. Since then, I’ve adhered to my principles, whether [a film] succeeded or not,” she tells us. UNEXPLORED TERRITORY With her entry into streaming services, beginning with Dahaad which became India’s premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival-and now Heeramandi, does she feel the platform has provided her better prospects than films? “It’s a coincidence that the more substantial roles have been on OTT. I have always had that choice, right? [OTT is a] long format and people seem more inclined to take more chances with female leads on OTT,” she concludes. CREATIVE DIRECTION: SHARA ASHRAF PRAYAG PHOTOGRAPHY: ROHAN SHRESTHA STYLING: SANAM RATANSI SR&CO MANAGER: JAFER ALI MUNSHI TEAM: SAUMYA SANTOSH HAIR: MADHURI NAKHALE MAKEUP: HEEMAA DATTAANI JEWELLERY: KOHARBYKANIKA (EARRINGS), AQUAMARINE AND ISHAARA (HANDSTACK) LOCATION: THE LALIT MUMBAI PRODUCTION: ZEHERA KAYANAT AND SHWETA SUNNY

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