Ananya Panday says 2019 is most special to her as her dream of becoming an actor came true this year. (Photo: Ananya Panday/Instagram)
Actor Ananya Panday, who made her debut in 2019 with Student of the Year 2, made another glamorous appearance in last month's Pati Patni Aur Woh. Both the films did decent business at the box office.
In an exclusive interview with indianexpress.com, Ananya opened up about the compliments she received for playing Tapasya Singh in Pati Pati Aur Woh, why she does not see it as a sexist film and more.
Here are the excerpts:
What did you expect from Pati Patni Aur Woh?
When you make a film with so much love, you expect to get love in return. It is such a light-hearted film that we were hoping to get this (positive) response. But yes, it (the response) is overwhelming, especially for me as people are showering so much love on me in my second film. It is a big deal for me. My father has always been telling me that audience’s love and appreciation are the most fulfilling and important. So, it has been the best feeling.
How many compliments did you receive after the release?
I have been receiving compliments on my comic timing, which feels nice because my father is known for comedy. So any comments, appreciation or compliments I get for comedy, I feel proud I am doing something my dad has done. Also, a lot of people said I look very grown up, and it doesn’t feel like this is my second film. So, that is something I felt like an achievement.
What did the audience response teach you?
The response is teaching me that a lot of people will have a lot of different opinions about things and you should always listen to what every person has to say. Some very experienced people are calling and giving me feedback, which I am really glad about. They are being helpful and kind by telling me how I can improve myself. I think that is important to me as I am just starting my career. I want to get as much constructive feedback as I can so that I can grow and implement the changes.
So will we see you in more comedy films?
I don’t mind because comedy is my favorite genre, but I don’t want to put myself in a box. I want to try everything.
Coming back to Pati Patni Aur Woh, some critics have called the film sexist. Do you agree?
I don’t think our film is sexist at all. I don’t think Bhumi (Pednekar) and I would ever be drawn to a film that is sexist or goes against a particular gender. I don’t see people leaving the theater calling the film sexist or misogynistic. Our film compliments both the sexes. So, I do not agree.
Also, there were arguments that you are too young for the role. How did you take it?
I know when the script was offered to me, Juno (Chopra, producer) and Mudassar (Aziz, director) knew my age. I was coming out of a film where I was playing a youngster. But I think the thought behind Tapasya’s character was sort of young, beautiful and fresh. Everything about her was not what a typical ‘woh’ would be. She is never portrayed as a villain, vamp or home breaker. She is a normal girl. So, I don’t think there is an age that can be put on to such a character.
On my part, I wanted to be different than what I was in Student of the Year 2. I wanted people to feel like I have grown up as I am playing a mature character. So, I did put a lot of thought into how can I bring a change in my body language. I needed to be more poised and graceful. I had to become like a businesswoman and be different from what I am in real life. It was a challenge.
You admitted that you liked Kartik Aaryan. And now that you have worked with him. How has your relationship evolved?
We have become really good friends. We are very comfortable with each other. He is an extremely charming and nice person. What I like about him is that he is very grounded and real. I liked spending time with him. Also, he helped me a lot in this film and held my back.
How will you describe 2019?
2019 has been everything I ever dreamt of. 2019 is going to be the most special year of my life because I became an actor. I waited for 20 years of my life to become an actor. Also, I had two releases in 2019. I hope from here, the journey gets bigger and better.
What sort of Ananya we can expect on-screen in 2020?
A very different one. I can tell you that for sure. My next film Khaali Peeli will release in 2020. And in that film, you will see a completely different me. I don’t think I or anyone I know has ever seen me like that. So, it is exciting for me to play someone so different than myself.
You are working with Ishaan Khatter in Khaali Peeli. Have you started shooting for it?
Yes. We have already finished one schedule.
Is there anything intimidating about sharing screen space with Ishaan?
No. He is such a brilliant actor. I think it is a blessing to have a co-star who is so talented because you can feed off from his energy. It is going to be fun.
Khaali Peeli is yet another different genre. Was it a conscious choice to pick a different film?
Yes. I always wanted to do a hardcore romantic film. Khaali Peeli is one such film with a touch of comedy and thriller to it.
Lastly, you started an initiative called So Positive in 2019. How did it turn out?
It is turning out well. There is a lot to do. I have just started, and I feel the initiative will grow with me. I am happy about the changes that have come as within a week or so of me launching the initiative, Instagram made a change where they took action against negative comments.