Meet the ambitious woman, who has leapfrogged mainstream struggles and built her own corner in the industry, with her very own production house.
Name: Soundarya Sharma
Date of Birth: 20th September, 1994
Place Of Birth: New Delhi
Height: 5ft 7.5 in
Zodiac Sign: Virgo
Profession: Actor, Doctor and Dental Surgeon
Big bright eyes, a wide infectious smile, and a manic energy that shines through every pore; all of this perfectly describes our FHM Fantasy, Soundarya Sharma. This dentist turned actress has had quite an unpredictable journey so far that perfectly reflects her mercurial personality, which changes from bubbly enthusiasm to overpowering ambition at the drop of a hat. With a production house of her own, this modern Renaissance woman has made sure that her journey is not limited by her opportunities, and even looks forward to providing a break to talented artists that haven’t been as lucky as her. We spoke to her to learn what drives her forward, and what we can expect from this beauty in years to come. Edited excerpts…
I come from a Brahmin family in Delhi, with conservative parents who didn’t want me to be an actor.
Tell us a bit about your journey and what led you to choose a career in the entertainment industry?
I was born and raised in Delhi. While I was completing my Bachelor of Dental Studies, I participated in the Miss India pageant. Even though I was in the finals, it didn’t work out, because I had to finish my studies first. So I focused on that, and went on to pursue residency opportunities in a couple of hospitals, in Delhi. It was during this time when I started getting offers for auditions that initially made me undergo formal training with the ACT 1 theatre group, and the National School of Drama. After that, I moved to Mumbai, where I realised I wanted to pursue acting as a career.
My journey has been quite interesting because I was a dental student, so for me it was a completely different world. I come from a Brahmin family in Delhi, with conservative parents who didn’t want me to be an actor. They knew I was a certified wild child and the biggest rule breaker in the history of my entire family, but somehow I convinced them, and they became very supportive.
It was hard initially, as I felt that only star kids were being introduced, and you had to have a Godfather or someone who would keep pushing you. I didn’t have any of that, but I wanted to be an actor as bad as we need oxygen to breathe. Only positivity kept me going. Even though there was no one around me who would say yes you can do this, I had faith in me; and thankfully with God’s grace and a bit of my own madness, things became a bit more streamlined. I feel that one needs to be very passionate and dedicated if they want to achieve something in their life.
A BDS degree is quite a different career direction from Bollywood. How were your college days like? Did you find time to indulge in co – curricular activities?
Fortunately or unfortunately, I was quite good in studies and have always been a very studious person. I topped the university, and was a gold medallist. At the same time, I did have my share of co-curricular activities, for example: I’m a graduated and trained classical vocalist, I love playing guitar, doing theatre, and even racing cars. However, I spent most weekends at Khan Market with my friends.
Congratulations on your recent Dadasaheb Phalke Icon Awards win for ‘Face of the Year’. What would you like to say to people who wish to follow your footsteps?
I would like to tell people who wish to follow my footsteps that they need to be totally focused on their goal, as it is not an easy path. The film industry does not care about any degree, or even your skill. You will get a break only if you are focused, dedicated and objective. It is important to maintain a never give up attitude, since this journey does not come with a guarantee. So, make sure you are ready for a lifelong commitment towards your passion.
Now that you have your own production house, Mustard and Red, what other functions would you like to take up in the near future?
As my production house continues to evolve, I would love to build a platform which eases new entrants into this business, and helps them understand the industry. I also want to venture into direction and script writing eventually.
The film industry does not care about any degree, or even your skill. You will get a break only if you are focused, dedicated and objective.
Criticism is an inevitable part of the profession that you are in. How do you react to constructive criticism?
Criticism is a part of life, especially when in this profession, however you need to understand and be able to differentiate between good and bad opinions. I have learned to take good opoinions as a learning opportunity and try my best to correct my mistakes. We are not perfect, and we don’t have to be perfect, because according to me, FLAWSOME IS AWESOME. We need to be open to learning, only then can we evolve into a better artist.
Web series are a rage right now. Why do you think more and more actors are leaning towards acting in them?
The reason more artists are leaning towards web series is primarily due to the scarcity of work for them in main stream projects. Mainstream cinema is still predominantly old school, and relies heavily on nepotism for new talent. It’s good to know that despite all that, we are creating some good content and our audience seems to appreciate it a lot more, than old fashioned concepts of filmmaking.
It’s hard to get a prefect gym body, and even harder to maintain it. Walk us through your fitness regimen.
I am blessed with a good body and don’t have to work very hard to maintain it. God is really kind, and I thank him every day for my good genes. Despite that, fitness has always been a part of life for me. It is not something that I started to believe in after I became an actor. I’ve always felt that remaining positive and happy is the most important thing to be fit.
As far as routine is concerned, I start my day with yoga. It rejuvenates me, and I think everyone should do yoga since it is something that you can do on your own. It will also make you happy, and if your soul is happy then you can do anything in your life, and things automatically fall into place. You start to eat right, which is another important aspect of being fit. So I insist on being happy and eating right before doing anything else. This can be achieved by practicing yoga or any other form of light exercise that you like; even a brisk walk is good.
“The film industry does not care about any degree, or even your skill. Your will get a break only if you are dedicated.”
In addition to that, I like to get involved in exercises like acrobatics and dance. Even though most actors are encouraged to go to the gym, I personally don’t do a lot of weight lifting. But I still go to the gym and I even have a personal trainer, because doing it the right way is the most important thing, and you need someone to motivate you. Once these things become a regular practice, then you can always do it on your own. Just make sure to eat right, stay happy, and drink a lot of water.
As far as routine is concerned, I start my day with yoga.
Tell us about the worst date you’ve ever been on. How did you get out of it?
Once I was at a group dinner with my friends in Delhi, and a person who had a crush on me asked to stay back, saying that he wanted to talk. I assumed it would be something private, so I waited for all our friends to leave. Once I realised that he wanted to express his feelings, I immediately wanted to get out of the situation, but didn’t want to hurt him either. So I texted another friend to come back to the restaurant and get me out; which she did.
Every woman has a preconceived notion of their ideal man. What are your expectations from that special someone?
I expect my man to be direct. Many men believe that if they constantly portray this ‘whatever’ attitude, women will fall in love with them. However, according to me, a man should have integrity, he should be honest, mature and confident, but with a positive attitude.
According to you, what is the most romantic getaway destination that one simply cannot miss?
For me, the most romantic getaway is Greece. You can go skinny dipping with your loved one, spend the most romantic evening as the sun sets on the Mediterranean, and make out under the open sky!
Spill out the one secret that no one is aware of?
Wow this is a difficult one. One secret that no one knows is that when I initially wanted to come to Mumbai, my parents opposed it, and I tried to run away from my house because of that, twice.
Tell us a little about your future projects?
There are three big projects in the pipeline that I am not supposed to talk about, yet. But, the details will be out soo
A man should have integrity, he should be honest, mature and confident, but with a positive attitude.
Name three things you carry with you at all times?
My phone, my house keys and credit card; and lip balm.
Shoes or clothes, what would you pick first?
I think shoes.
The most prized possession in your life?
My first car. I call her “Eva”. It’s a sports car and my first prized possession that I got after signing my first film.
The best cheat meal you have ever eaten?
I think chole bhature is an all-time binge. When I go to my hometown, I eat it all the time.
If you were a product, what would be your tagline?
“I’m the best product, buy me.”
The last person you would go to, for fashion advice?
I don’t know whether I should say or not; my sister.
Flowy printed maxi or a little black dress?
Little Black Dress. Though I’m not a very black colour person, but it is a better option.
Act in a movie with Vicky Kaushal, or act in a web series with Rajkummar Rao?
Movie with Vicky Kaushal, for sure.
Meet your biggest celebrity crush or your biggest fan?
My biggest fan.
Since you are our FHM India, who is the man of your fantasy?
Bradley Cooper. I just love him.
How was your experience working with FHM India?
It was a great experience. The looks were amazing and we bonded as a team.
Actor: Ranbir Kapoor
Director: Shoojit Sircar
Movie: I loved Uri. I also love Kangana Ranaut, so all her films.
Colour: Mustard, Red, Turquoise; all the colours.
Weather: Rains. I’m a pluviophile.
Workout Routine: Acrobatics, Gym, Yoga, Stretching, Running, everything. Even ghar ka kaam is workout. In fact, it’s the best workout.