Sara Ali Khan wants people to critique her work, not her religion or clothes

Actor spoke about her experience of constantly being in the limelight and maintaining an authentic public persona

Entertainment Desk August 03, 2023

Bollywood starlet Sara Ali Khan recently graced the digital cover of Vogue India. While shooting, she spoke about her experience of constantly being in the limelight, rebuilding her acting career post-Covid, and maintaining an authentic public persona.

Even with the Indian paparazzi always at her heels and the tabloids monitoring her every move, Sara claims to be confident in her own skin and unafraid of judgment when she is simply living life on her own terms. She explains her lack of belief in keeping different public and private personas as her assessment that audiences now relate more to the authentic and relatable celebrity than the one who plays the role of an enigma.

"In today’s day and age, I don’t know if an aspirational, elusive, star-like aura is firstly possible or even necessarily connecting. People are seeking honesty and authenticity from celebrities," she told the outlet. "Whether it’s going to the airport with freshly washed hair and not doing my hair and make-up unless it’s absolutely necessary, I really am who I am.”

On the topic of public scrutiny and dealing with criticism, the Zara Hatke Zara Bachke (2023) star revealed that she welcomes constructive feedback on her work in a bid to learn and improve her craft.

“It probably has something to do with the fact that I was a very large girl growing up,” she commented. “I learned that my sense of validation should not come from anything external, including the way I look. So I grew up with qualities that were very innate, very inherent, very internal. And because they’re rooted in such a secure place inside me, I’m not fazed by other people’s opinions of me. At my core, I’m still the same girl that went to Columbia to study Russian history. I think having a strong sense of self and not defining myself by what people think of me is the only way to keep going.”

However, she asserts that she does not care for public or tabloid opinions about her religious beliefs and comments on her dressing sense or “non-blow-dried hair at the airport”. “I definitely appreciate any kind of criticism when it comes to my work. I work for the audience and if they don’t like my work, it behoves me to see what I can do better. But if they have an opinion on anything personal, whether it’s my religious beliefs, my sense of dressing, or my non-blow-dried hair at the airport, I don’t care,” said Sara.

The actor’s revelation that she does not own any designer clothing wear was shocking, but easily explainable with her almost carefree attitude to public perceptions of her and her resolution to not project a glamorous public image that goes against her personality.

With a little over a dozen films listed in her filmography, the 27-year-old star believes that she still has a long way to go before establishing herself as a versatile and capable actress and performer in the multi-million-dollar Bollywood film industry.

Regarding her career, Sara shared the anxiety of feeling like she had to start all over again after the pandemic because she only had three films accredited to her before Covid struck and pushed her into an unexpected acting hiatus. On this particular note, she feels connected to peers Ananya Pandey, Janhvi Kapoor, and Radhika Madan and proudly claims them as friends who can understand and relate to her situation being young actresses themselves.

“I actually believe that I share more in common with Janhvi and Ananya than I do with my school friends because they understand what it’s like to be young and ambitious as an actor and have the pandemic waylay your plans. We’re all confident in our own skin, which is so necessary," she said.Her ability to harbor friendships with fellow actresses with similar career trajectories reinforces her point about being confident in her own right. It also points to her regard for the importance of sisterhood and disregard for unnecessary rivalries that a competitive, albeit ever-expanding, film industry may willingly or inadvertently encourage between actresses.

Despite being the daughter of the once-it-couple Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh and having royal Nawab Pataudi blood running through her veins, Sara does not embody the stereotypical diva spirit of a ‘nepo baby’ and strives to be her true self—minus the celebrity status and unembellished with glitzy luxury designer wear—both in public and private domains.


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