Actress Kriti Kharbanda says she is grateful to have reached a position in her career where she can refuse work that doesn't excite her and rely on her instincts while choosing characters.
Kharbanda debuted in Bollywood in 2016 with "Raaz: Reboot"-- seven years after working in the Telugu and Kannada movie industries.
The actor has since featured in films of diverse genres: from Rajkummar Rao-starrer social drama "Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana", multistarrer comedies "Housefull 4", "Pagalpanti' to Bejoy Nambiar's action-thriller "Taish".
In an interview with PTI, Kharbanda said it has taken her five years and several films to finally afford the luxury of choice and she wants to consciously build her carreer hereon.
"My attempt is to work towards making myself so secure that I have the opportunity and the option to say no and make the right choices, which I probably didn't have a few years ago.
"I have that option today and I am going to make the most of it. I will only do something that truly resonates with me," Kharbanda said.
The actor called learning to say no her "biggest achievement" in the last few years.
Kharbanda said she would earlier struggle with it, unaware of how to turn something down without "offending" people.
"But I realised, whatever decision you make, someone, somewhere won't be pleased by it. Today, I have come to accept that someone will be unhappy. But I can't compromise on my happiness to do something to please others.
"The pandemic has also contributed to giving me that perspective. I don't want to spend my time doing things that I don't enjoy," she said.
From the Akshay Kumar-headlined blockbuster "Housefull 4" to the acclaimed "Taish" in 2020, the 30-year-old actor said some of her film choices which worked, were a result of listening to her voice and not what people around her dictated.
"There were films I was offered, which a lot of people told me I should do but I had a feeling I should not. When I look back, it turned out in my favour.
"While I should be accepting of the opinions of others, it is the opinion I have of myself that matters the most because I have to live with the choices I make." The actor will be next seen in romantic-comedy "14 Phere".
Co-starring Vikrant Massey, the film follows two lovers, Sanjay and Aditi, who lie to their parents about each other's families to get them to say yes for their marriage.
After the release of "Housefull 4" and Anees Bazmee helmed "Pagalpanti", the actor wanted to shift gears and feature in films other than comedies. Which is when, Kharbanda came across "14 Phere".
"After 'Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aaana', I felt I hadn't been challenged enough. 'Housefull' and 'Pagalpanti' were a challenge too but I wanted to do something that also made me feel I was doing more than that...
"I was in a good space and thought of going back to light-hearted fun films which give me a scope to perform. But it is difficult to come across films like that."
"14 Phere" is written by Manoj Kalwani and directed by Devanshu Singh, who also helmed the acclaimed 2020 comedy drama "Chintu Ka Birthday".
Kharbanda said the film gave her the opportunity to headline a strong character like Aditi- an independent, practical young woman who breaks all stereotypes.
"She is not the conventional shy, girl-next-door. Aditi is relatable, inspiring. She doesn't just blindly gives into love. She understands the practicality of the situation. She has so many flaws and is a girl who uses her brains.
"That's what I loved about it, there was an opportunity to play a character where the brain was as important as the heart," she added.
"14 Phere" is slated to be released on ZEE5 on July 23.