Tara Sutaria and Tiger Shroff are absolutely right when they say that Ananya Pandey is the most chatty among the three of them. I got to see that first hand when I interviewed her recently for her upcoming debut film, Student Of The Year 2 (SOTY 2). You ask her one question and she can go on talking non stop and really really fast. You feel like telling her ok, take a break, catch your breath!
But it’s this chatty and chirpy nature, that perhaps got her the role that she plays in SOTY 2, since she fits the character she tells us she plays. It was a fun interview with the pretty, young and not so bratty as her movie character, Ananya.
We start by asking her what she feels about all the memes regarding SOTY 2 that are doing the rounds.“I agree with those people that there are no schools like that but we never claimed that we are making a documentary or some real life film on students and schools. Ours is a masala entertainer, a popcorn film and a fun entertainer. In life we already have so many pressures, so many problems etc. so when we go to watch a film, we go to forget about all our problems, so we’re making a film to make people happy.”
Even though Ananya plays a high school student in SOTY 2, she has never been to college. Speaking about it she says, “I was deciding to go to NYU but I changed my mind because I wanted to act. While one needs to go to college to get educated, and get a degree, I being educated in my own school to be an actor. I learn so much everyday on set that I feel this is my school. I don’t plan to formally study but I don’t mind going for some short courses in acting.However, even though I didn’t go to college I am living through this St’ Teresa experience. It was better than any college could actually be. Look at the cars, the boys etc.”
Even before her first film was announced, Ananya was extremely popular on Instagram and has millions of followers. When I ask her what she thinks it was that people liked about her, she says, “I became public on Instagram when my film was announced. Up until then I was not on public mode. I think what people like is that I am just myself and I can connect with them. I keep doing my own thing and I write some weird captions, I post food pictures and pictures with my friends. I like being myself. It’s easy to tell when someone is faking it. It feels nice that so many people are following me on Instagram and now I hope they watch the film and like me in the movies as well.”
Ananya is often compared to Alia Bhatt, while that might be worrying for some, Ananya takes it in her stride and says she feels honored. “I take inspiration from Alia Bhatt in my real life. I really look up to her and the way she has transformed as an actress since Student Of The Year to films like Gully Boy and Raazi. What I like about Alia is that she never claimed to be perfect since the beginning. She has gradually grown and that’s how I want to be,” adds Ananya.
Being Chunky Pandey’s daughter and going to the sets is different from being an actor herself and going to work on a set. Ananya shares how she felt the first day she walked into the sets as an actor and not a star kid. “What my dad did during his time wouldn’t apply to me now, the generation changes every five years, so my father never really advised me about acting and stuff. But yes, it was a different experience being in front of the camera than being on the set as a star kid. It is not a big bad world as people think it to be, there are nice people. I’m meeting new people everyday and get to learn from them, I really like it.”
Every newcomer dreams about working for a larger than life Dharma Movie and Ananya was no different. Like every newcomer, she too wanted to work for Karan Johar and she was the one who approached him she says.“Karan didn’t know I wanted to act. I told him that I want to audition for this film and I want to act. He was shocked at first because he didn’t know that I was interested in acting but he gave me the chance and fortunately liked my audition too. My mom was the first person to know as I did not tell anyone till I had signed the papers, I am superstitious that way.”
( I interrupt her here and tell her that being a star kid, it was easier for her to go up to a Karan Johar and tell him that she wants to act, while not everyone has access to that.)
Ananya continues, “Yes, that is so true, I am very well aware of my privilege. I totally agree that we have a lot of access but the talent that you have is what counts by the end of the day. No one will put in their money on someone they don’t believe in. I hope people trust me and feel I have the talent because I believe I do have the talent. This has been my dream all my life.”
Ananya has Pati Patni Aur Woh after SOTY 2 and she looks forward to doing some romantic films, as well as comedies and maybe a dark kind of film. We hope some filmmakers are reading this! Here’s wishing her all the best for her debut film.