Anushka Sharma is one focused actress. For the role of Aafia in Zero, the actress put herself through a rigorous 3-month prep and worked with two professional trainers to get into the skin of her character. Aafia is a scientist with cerebral palsy in the film. It seems she was guided by filmmaker Aanand L Rai in getting under the skin of her role. The director and Anushka worked immaculately together as she prepped for three long months before giving her first shot and brought the filmmaker’s vision alive. It seems Aanand is overjoyed that Anushka has breathed so much life a character that he had meticulous written and shaped.
The actress said, “I understood the challenge that I was going to face as an actor while playing this role. That is what excited me towards the role. If I were able to pull it off, I would have accomplished something. So I wanted to do it the right way and represent this correctly. Anand Sir and Himanshu had already researched a lot with doctors (about this condition) when they came to me with the film and had sketched out my character accordingly. I understood their brief and went with their vision and met with the doctors.”
It took a lot of research and detailing even on part of the actress to portray Aafia as per the director’s vision. She says, “I also worked with an occupational therapist and audiologist who helped me understand what physical limitation my character would have and how my condition would impact my speech.”
She further explained, “The difficult part in this was that I had to voluntarily create an involuntary movement that happens to my character because of my condition. While I had to focus on the dialogues, I also had focus on the emotion of the scene, which was difficult. So, in the beginning, I would ask for some extra takes so that I could get it right because I wanted to make sure that I was doing it correctly.”
Anushka also has spent long hours on the wheelchair to get into the mindset of Aafia. “With time I started to understand it better- staying on the wheelchair the whole time I was on set and for three months before as I worked with the occupational therapist and audiologist. I did all these to understand the confinements one feels when one has to spend a lifetime on a wheelchair. I think all this practice helped in understanding the condition of the character well and the vision that Anand L Rai had for the role I have tried to do it to the T,” she concludes.