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My Body Used to Hurt a Lot: Anushka on Her Character in ‘Zero’

Anushka Sharma is quite happy with her role in Aanand L Rai’s Zero but it did take a toll on her. Anushka plays a character who suffers from cerebral palsy. While talking to The Quint Anushka revealed that she didn’t get to meet a person suffering from the disease but her director’s vision helped her understand the character.

“Both Himanshu and Aanand sir researched a lot about this character, about her condition. When they came to me the research was in place. They even knew her body language, they were aware of everything. Then it was just for me to follow their vision. I think he has a lot of clarity as a director in how he wanted to portray this character. He told me, ‘I want her life to be celebrated and not have pity on her or Shah Rukh’s character.’” says the actor.

An occupational therapist and an audiologist were appointed for Anushka who explained to her the character’s physical limitations and how it impacts her speech.

There is this involuntary action that my character experiences. She shakes, there’s a spasm, which I had to create voluntarily, while focusing on my dialogues, while focusing on my emotions. So that took two and a half to three months working with them.
Anushka Sharma, Actor

But it has been draining for the actor to play a challenging character who is confined to her chair.

“It’s draining because of the involuntary spasm that I had to recreate. I had to tighten my body and release it, again tighten it throughout in a nonrhythmic manner. It was difficult to do that because I had to voluntarily create an involuntary action that was happening in somebody’s body. That is obviously very difficult while you are focusing on your dialogue, while you are focusing on speech.”

My body used to hurt a lot because I would be creating that tension in my body constantly.
Anushka Sharma
She spent a lot of time by herself. Anushka says she used to sit on the chair on her own on the sets because she wanted to feel what it was like to be restricted to a chair and not have the ability to move around. She wanted to experience that confinement.

Also, I think staying in that zone everyday was very crucial. And this film was shot over a long period of time because it’s VFX heavy. That was very taxing because I had to maintain focus and motivation while there were breaks in between.

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