MUMBAI— She’s Chunky Panday’s daughter, and her main agenda is to make sure the respect the industry has for her father is maintained and enhanced by her. Ananya Panday wanted to be an actress all her life and is ready for everything that comes with stardom—good and bad.
Excerpts from a chat at the Dharma Productions’ office:
Q: Was your father happy about your career choice?
A: So my parents thought it was a passing interest, until they saw me at a school Annual Day function. That’s when they first thought that maybe she can become an actress. My parents did not come for the trailer launch, letting me hog the spotlight. They had not watched anything of the movie before that, but now, they have downloaded the trailer and watch it some 12 times a day. That’s so sweet I feel like crying!
Q: Any advice that followed?
A: None, because he lets me be and also feels that what applied in his times does not apply any more. But what I love, and everyone else does too, is the way my father has been as a person. He was a big star, took a break after I was born, and has come back with his comedies. But he is still as nice and sweet, still obliges everyone with pictures and knows how to laugh at himself. He is a very positive person. I have learnt a lot from his behavior.
Q: Which is your favorite among your father’s films?
A: “Aankhen” for sure! And “Lal Dupattewali” is my favorite song. And I love his comedies today.
Q: Are you nervous as the big day nears?
A: I was, but after getting all the love from everyone, I am actually excited.
Q: And how did you and Tara Sutaria, the other heroine, get together?
A: So we went to the same acting class at different times, and were not allowed to talk to each other, though we would look at each other looking as we passed by! They then fed both of us stories about something Tara had said about me, and vice-versa. And I thought, “How can that be true when we do not even know each other?” They say two heroines cannot get along, but we bonded, maybe because we were both new and Tiger had done films. We would pull Tiger’s leg and also Punit’s together, when they tried to pull ours!
Q: And how was Tiger?
A: So (this is the way Ananya begins almost all her replies!) I think I was very lucky to have him as my first co-star. Tiger would never rest or chill between shots and kept rehearsing, and to level up, I thought I must too. I took that as a good thing, because I was the only one who was totally new, and did not know anything about camera angles, facings and all that. Again, maybe my ignorance was a good thing, too, because what people loved about Alia Bhatt in the first “Student of the Year” was her freshness.
Q: Would you like to be where Alia is after 10 years?
A: Why 10? Alia’s taken just six years! I love how Alia’s grown, she has never claimed that she’s perfect, but it’s a journey to perfection. And I feel that there are so many people out there who are talented and hardworking, so if I have got this chance, I must justify everyone’s faith in me, and not disappoint anyone.
Q: What is your relationship like with Karan Johar?
A: So (!) I am very scared of Karan. I do have a buddy-buddy relationship with him, yet I am terrified. I have yet to hear what he feels about my performance, and I am nervous about that as well. I was scared that my audition would be in front of him, but luckily it was not. Punit really liked me in the two scenes he gave me, in one of which I had to cry!
Q: And your first shot was…?
A: So it was a song. Punit was very kind and said that I can be alone in the first shot. Then it started raining, and we freaked out thinking that it won’t happen. But the first shot finally just came and went! (Giggles) And afterwards I thought, God! I am an actor already!
Q: Are you disappointed there is no cameo by Varun Dhawan or Sidharth Malhotra, but only one by Alia Bhatt?
A: Of course! I am Varun biggest ever fan, he was my wallpaper, so I am sad now!
Q: “Was my wallpaper”? Who is on it now?
A (Giggles): It’s Punit now! I need to be kind and nice to him.
Q: How would you describe yourself?
A: As someone who is a spicy chick from andar se (internally) but pretends to be studious!
Q: Tiger is never supposed to have gone to college?
A: Neither have I! Tara’s the only one who has, Tara’s smart, so do GK questions with her!
Q: And what’s your favorite film genre?
A: So this film is my favorite genre, a rom-com. So is my next film, a comedy—the remake of “Pati Patni Aur Woh”—Plug! (Chuckles). Watch it on December 6!
Q: And how are Kartik Aaryan and Bhumi Pednekar, your co-stars in that film?
A: I haven’t yet shot with Bhumi. But Kartik’s such a lovely guy and a selfless actor, whose only intention is how to make a scene better. He even helped me with my lines.
Q: Finally, how do you look at this madness of promotions?
A: I love it and enjoy it! I have all the energy and am a keen ‘kumari.’ Tiger says, “WHAT are you doing?” when I go all out!