Actor Sobhita Dhulipala gets candid about her career graph, her ideal wedding, her upcoming Hollywood debut, and more

The 'Made in Heaven' actor has made her mark as an actor in India and is all set to take over Hollywood.

Sobhita Dhulipala walks into the airy, private Alibaug bungalow, the venue for Brides Today’s cover shoot, with the ease of a veteran who’s done this innumerable times. Getting decked up, shimmying into her costumes, and prepping for fashion campaigns and magazine shoots, she says, make her feel like “a child who’s been given crayons and paper.” And sure enough, she appears to have a blast before the camera, striking pose after pose like a natural, alluding to her modelling days before she wowed audiences with her acting chops.

It’s a similar ease before the lens that translates into the many commendable performances that earned her her enviable repertoire of movies, both for the big screen and OTT, for Bollywood as well as the South Indian industry. Her filmography boasts incredible successes like Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan series, Zoya Akhtar’s Made in Heaven and the Indian remake of The Night Manager. Sobhita is now geared up for her Hollywood debut with Slumdog Millionaire actor Dev Patel’s directorial first, Monkey Man, for which she’s beyond thrilled.

In her personal space, Sobhita isn’t fixated on productivity; she’s laid back and enjoys her downtime—especially when it involves doing nothing. Her everyday style, hair and make-up included, depends on how she wakes up feeling on a particular day. She lives with a positive outlook to life, not simply bending over to the “highs and lows” that make cameos along the way. She chooses to learn from every opportunity, which she hopes will one day include a rom-com, as well, letting the world in on her playful nature even on celluloid.

In this tête-à-tête, punctuated by the serenity of Alibaug, Sobhita lets us into her glamorous world.

Brides Today: Let’s talk Monkey Man. How excited are you about your Hollywood debut? Was the experience any different from working on a project at home?

Sobhita Dhulipala: Well, while my work as an actor remains pretty much the same no matter which film industry I work in, every experience we actors have is completely different and new in a sense, isn’t it? I’m definitely kicked about it. It’s a fun film, and the cast and crew are terrific!

“I like the idea of building my style with time, and have my life’s journey reflect through my sartorial choices”

BT: What would Sobhita, the bride be like?

BT: Red, or pastels?
SD: Red

BT: Sari, or lehenga?
SD: Sari. Always!

BT: Designer of choice?
SD: I prefer curating my own looks. Putting together beautiful pieces from travels, talented designers, and a mix of it all. I don’t subscribe to one fixed aesthetic or design house.

BT: An intimate, or a big, fat wedding?
SD: Maybe I should have one of each and then take a call.

BT: Up-do, or let your hair loose?
SD: Up-do.

BT: Ivory wedding, or colour?
SD: Mixed metals and solid monotones.

BT: Stylish stilettos, or comfy sneakers?
SD: Stilettos. I definitely enjoy the feeling.

BT: Minimal, or traditionally heavy jewels?
SD: Without a doubt, heirloom and ornate pieces. Our jewellery tradition is just divine!

BT: A hands-on bride, or delegator?
SD: I’m guessing I’d be the former.

BT: A bachelorette, or a mixed bash?
SD: Both ;)

BT: A beachside, or palatial wedding?

SD: It’d really depend on the season. But I’d certainly love to be surrounded by nature. “Once I make a choice, I’m committed to it, no matter how the tide turns. Life is short, and I am grateful for being alive every day”

BT: Starting from a Cannes nomination for your debut film Raman Raghav 2.0, to Made in Heaven, The Night Manager, PS I and II, Kurup, Ghost Stories... Phew! Your career graph is enviable. How do you continue to aim higher?

SD: Your appreciation is encouraging! I think real growth is omnidirectional. If it really was about scaling up, up and up, I don’t think I’d be fulfilled. So it isn’t about aiming higher; I sincerely look for wonder and learning. Growth just seems to come along. I’m just a girl singing her song, no matter the empty auditoriums or a fully crowded stadium.

BT: In our last interview, you mentioned choosing Mumbai over Bengaluru after a coin toss in Vizag. Have you ever felt overwhelmed by your choice? Any regrets?

SD: Which other city, which alternative career, ifs, buts, maybes etc...Possibilities are endless, aren’t they? What matters is the choices we make. Once I make a choice, I’m committed to it, no matter how the tides turn. As abstract as it may sound, I acknowledge that life is short, and I feel good being alive every day. That’s what counts for me.

BT: How would you describe your support system? The ones you turn to in trying times, the ones who keep you grounded?

SD: I ground myself. I am my anchor. Only from this feeling of being whole on my own am I able to appreciate everyone else— my wonderful parents or teachers. Otherwise, it would feel transactional.

BT: Every journey is marked with its highs and lows. Could you share a few milestones that stand out? And how did you get past what you believed were your lowest points?

SD: I don’t know if I look at things as highs and lows. That sounds like a profit and loss balance sheet to me. That’s no way to look at life. If you were to ask me what I think is the most beautiful moment in my life, I’d say that it’s yet to come. And it will be motherhood, whenever that happens.

BT: How involved are you with selecting the costumes for your roles, or your off-screen appearances? How would you describe your everyday style, and HMU routine for yourself?

SD: For character costumes, I completely submit to the vision of my director and his/her able team. Off-screen, yes, I’m involved in how I’m styled, or I often style myself. My everyday style with hair and make-up and fashion is very mood-reliant. I definitely cherish couture, handmade things made with a personal touch and archival pieces. I buy to keep, and I’m completely disinterested in trends. I like the idea of building my style with time and have my life’s journey reflect through the sartorial choices I make.

BT: Besides being before the camera for movies, how do you feel about shooting for fashion campaigns? In your element, or can’t wait for it to get over?

SD: Fashion is such a great play area for someone who treats it so. And we’re talking fashion here, not style. Style is innate and personal. Fashion campaigns, magazine covers, and editorials, walking the runway... All of these make me feel like a child who’s been given crayons and paper! I certainly enjoy it.

BT: Your sense of humour and playfulness come through in most interactions, but the roles you’ve portrayed have mostly been towards the quieter, serious side. Was this conscious? Will we get to watch you in a rom-com or satire anytime soon?

SD: It’s not a conscious choice at all. I’ve found my opportunities through auditions and made choices from what I could get access to. Of course, I’d love to do a rom-com or a satire. Here’s wishing!

BT: It’s easy to lose oneself in the rush of fame, money and glamour in an industry like ours. How does one ensure that they stay true to themselves and not forget their roots?

SD: I don’t have answers or solutions to such a robust question. And even if I did, I’m sure it would only be my personal approach to it. Maybe having actual hobbies could help.

BT: How do you spend whatever downtime you can pack into your chock-a-block schedule?

SD: Mostly reading and cooking. I’m not overly obsessed with productivity. I really cherish my free time doing nothing, as well.

BT: Your year has already started with a bang. What else can we expect in 2024?

SD: I would’ve loved to share it all, but exciting news will come at the right time is what I’ll end this with!