Lehar Khan, the youngest actor in Shah Rukh Khan’s film “Jawan,” recently shared her experiences during an interview with Hindustan Times. In addition to discussing her time on the set, she also opened up about a challenging phase in her life when she contemplated giving up her acting career. Lehar portrays the character Kalki, one of Azad’s six daughters in the film, alongside Sanjeeta Bhattacharya, Sanya Malhotra, Priyamani, Girija Oak, and Aaliyah Qureishi.

Directed by Atlee, “Jawan” stars Shah Rukh Khan in the lead role, along with Vijay Sethupathi and Nayanthara.

Q: “Jawan” is ruling the box office numbers. How do you view the success?

Lehar Khan: I’m not trying to boast about it, but it was expected. (laughs)

Q: Is it because of the moral lesson hidden in the film?

Lehar Khan: One of the reasons behind the success was Shah Rukh Khan himself, of course. But everything in the film leaves you curious; you want to find out what happens next. It’s been surreal for me. Even before the release, I was like, ‘Is this really happening?’

Q: How was your experience working with the cast, especially Shah Rukh Khan?

Lehar Khan: Everyone was warm on the sets. Everyone was passionate about what they were making. They were in this together. Going on sets, being a fan of Shah Rukh sir, was itself a very surprising and overwhelming moment. I have grown up watching his films and dancing to his songs. My dream was to meet him someday, but it turned into something much more as his co-actor. I got to meet him, spend time with him, and even dance. This was beyond my imagination and a dream come true; Atlee sir made it happen.

Q: What about Nayanthara and Vijay Sethupathi?

Lehar Khan: Vijay sir and Nayanthara mam were very sweet and shy personalities. Vijay sir had a particular process on sets, I was intrigued by that. When he was on set, there are a lot of things he would come up with and pitch to Atlee. That is something I have learned from him.

Nayanthara mam has a strong aura; very captivating. I love my girl gang so much. We, six of us, have an unbreakable bond. There’s so much love; this is not going anywhere. This is friendship for life. I should mention Mukesh Chabbra sir who has brought us together.

Q: What was your interaction with Shah Rukh Khan like?

Lehar Khan: I remember him asking, ‘Which school were you in?’ When I said Manav Sthali, he told me that he used to play on the ground. He was from Rajendra Nagar and was like, ‘It used to be my neighborhood. I used to be there for a lot of sports camps and all.’ Suddenly there was a connection. We talked about several things. It was usually that all six of us used to be around him. He used to offer us whatever he would eat in between the shoot.

Q: How is Shah Rukh when it comes to his food? Is he diet-conscious?

Lehar Khan: No, I haven’t seen much consciousness about his diet. He doesn’t eat too much. He would usually munch on something a little bit like makhana. He is quite chilled in that way.

Q: Could you share your journey in the film industry, from being on a cable TV show to working on big-ticket films like “Brahmastra” and “Jawan”?

Lehar Khan: My journey started in the opposite way. I began as a child artist, but I didn’t know if I wanted to become an actor. In my case, acting chose me. I was into dancing and continued with that after “Kids Kids Dhoom.” From there, I got a short film opportunity when I was just 11, purely for the experience. My name was then recommended for “Jalpari.” After “Jalpari,” I became a full-fledged child actor. Acting was still an occasional job for me until “Parched.”

Leena Yadav ma’am cast me in “Parched,” and that experience changed my understanding of acting. The entire process made me fall in love with acting. I had people like Radhika Apte, Tannishtha Chatterjee, and Sayani Gupta who really encouraged me. Later, when I told my parents that acting was what I wanted, they decided to move to Mumbai. I completed my 11th and 12th grades in Mumbai, and while doing that, I landed “Brahmastra,” which was a significant film in 2022.

“Brahmastra” was a turning point for me. I wondered if I was ready for it, but it opened up new horizons for me. I got to understand how major productions work, and it made me feel comfortable. Working with Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, and Ayan Mukerji was an incredible experience. After that, I got “Dahan,” and now “Jawan.”

Q: You mentioned a difficult time in your career when you wanted to quit. Could you tell us more about it?

Lehar Khan: There was a point in my life, regardless of the experiences I had, when I was really low. During COVID-19, I lost my father. It was during this time that I hit a low point in my life. My father was overjoyed to see me progress as an actor. It was his happiness that pulled me out of that low phase. It was then that I decided I would never give up. I believe he is watching me from wherever he is, proud and happy that I am pursuing my dream. I feel he is the one motivating me when I am working.

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