Rachana Dubey (BOMBAY TIMES; May 2, 2017)

Her last release Tum Bin 2 didn't enjoy a magical run at the box office, but that doesn't seem to have dampened Neha Sharma's spirits. She has moved on to her next: a cameo in what appears to be a breezy entertainer. BT caught up with the actress, who has just returned from London after the film's shoot packed up.Here are excerpts from a candid chat...

Your last release, Tum Bin 2, didn't have an impressive run at the box office. How did you tide over it?
We had a lot of expectations, and when something doesn't pan out as planned, it bogs you down. But I have put that film behind me and I'm looking forward to a lot of new things. Success and failure are a part of life and we should take both in our stride. You should not let either affect your head or heart.

After playing the female lead in Tum Bin 2, you are doing a cameo in a multi-starrer like Mubarakan...
Well, cameos can also leave an impact. I can never forget Juhi Chawla's special appearance in Andaz Apna Apna. It set the tone of the film. Being a part of Mubarakan has been a great learning experience. At this point in my career, I just want to do a lot of work. There's a line-up of interesting projects, but I cannot speak about them right now.

Talking about doing a lot of work, are you very ambitious?
I am ambitious, but for me, success isn't about being No 1. It's about having the liberty to choose the roles you want to do. I always take time before agreeing to a project. Also, ambition alone can't take you to the top; persistence and talent are just as important.

As an artiste, what do you think is your shortcoming?
I am not the kind of person who looks at what's lacking. I celebrate what I have. That's the joy of life. I always put my best into everything I do. The idea is to outshine my previous performance.

While you have not had many outings in Bollywood, you have worked in quite a few South films. Do you feel it's relatively easier to find work there?
Be it South or Hollywood, you'll create a space for yourself only if you are good.

Considering that age is equated with an actress' shelf life in this industry, do you feel any pressure?
We're actresses, not products. Also, acting doesn't come with an expiry date. Look around, there are so many leading ladies who have shattered that myth.

Do you regret any of the choices you've made so far?
Not at all. Every film has taught me a lot. The disheartening part is when your film doesn't make the kind of money that you expected it to make, because a lot of lives are dependent on it.

Your sister Aisha also wants to become an actress. Having been in the industry for a few years now what kind o guidance are you giving her?
(Laughs) I can barely figure out my own career. Aisha, like every other youngster, is trying to discover herself and figure what she wants to do. She is a bundle of talent and one of the most intelligent people I know. I am sure she will find out what's best for her. As an elder sister, I always tell her, 'You don't choose the film, the right film will choose you'.