Ananya Pandey and Ayushmann Khurrana’s film Dream Girl 2 was released recently. Amidst the vast box office roar of Gadar 2, films like OMG 2 and Dream Girl 2 could not get a bumper opening. Dream Girl 2 opened to a lukewarm response and failed to attract cinemagoers to the cinema halls. Ananya Pandey talks to Lipika Varma about being a star kid, her new film, and more.
There is a way up with failure, as you have so much to learn. But with success, you find out the true character of the person.
You entered as Chunky Pandey’s daughter, but now you are known as Ananya Pandey. How do you look at this transformation in your life?
I am grateful that I got so much love from the beginning. People have accepted me, and that is a huge compliment for me. My dad always told me you can belong in the industry, but there is no point if the audiences don’t like you. I have never liked to disappoint my fans and the audiences. I always want to give them better films.
Has Gheraiyaan changed you a lot?
Yes, I have changed a lot after the film. For my first few films, I was always anxious to be part of the big screen, and I would dance, sing songs, etc., and all this was partly to keep my anxieties high. Director Shakun [Batra] has taught me that as an actor, you must have a process, your contribution, and a strong sense of homework before you come on the sets. That advice has changed everything, for now, I have fallen in love with acting. In this film, something struck me honestly, and I hope these feelings continue in every film of mine.
How have you faced success and challenges?
My father always told me it’s more difficult to handle success than failures. There is a way up with failure, as you have so much to learn. But with success, you find out the true character of the person. One can become egoistic when they let that success go to their head, and that person can change a lot. I think I have tasted that kind of success in a small quantity. Whatever I have tasted, I do not take it too much to my head and stay grounded.
My dad always told me you can belong in the industry, but there is no point if the audiences don’t like you.
What advice does your dad give you?
My dad is a very hard-working person. He is also a versatile actor and tries everything. He always tells us to respect our work and be around good people.
The film Dream Girl 2 shows a male playing the role of a female. How was the experience?
There are many films like that. I have no complaints, more the women – the merrier it is! I love that female energy. It was fun, and I enjoyed it.
Your father has donned the character of a female in a film. What was your reaction? Have you ever liked any other actor who may have donned a female character in their films?
I was shocked when I saw my father’s photograph as a female character.
I loved Ritesh Deshmukh in Apna Sapna Money Money. I liked the movie and found it hilarious. Riteish’s voice was so beautiful, and the attire he wore matched so much with his character. My dad was also part of the film.
Apka sapna money money nahi hai?
Papa ka sapna money money hai. He is not kanjoos, he is very good at handling finances.
Do you discuss screenplay with your father?
We discuss it at home, as my dad is an actor, and I am too, so we usually talk about films. Also, my younger sister is studying filmmaking in New York to become a director, and my mom is participating in a reality show. I usually give my parents scripts to read, but they never thrust their opinions on me. They always want me to decide for myself. They are smart; they don’t want to take the blame on themselves; if all my decisions go kaput, then the responsibility will not be on them. However, my father reads most of my scripts.
How did you react to watching your dad in films, being paired with different heroines?
I had seen Neelam at home, and when she was paired with my dad, I never felt bad about it. I would never watch many films where he would die because I would feel horrible. I watched a film when I was very young where he died in the end. No one told me he would die at the end of the film, and I was howling in the theatres because I thought films were real.
Love is important in life –do you agree, and what would you like to share?
Love is important in life, and love is special for my family, my audiences, and the special ones in my life. You guys have made stories about me, so you guys only decide and reveal. [laughs]
What qualities of your father would you like to see in your husband?
As chilled out as he looks and is funny, he has been a solid support to my mother. He is like the best friend to my mom. He is also very handsome. So, I would prefer to see all these qualities in my husband.
You are very close to Shahrukh Khan. What response did you receive from him after the release of the trailer?
I met him, and he said he loved the trailer and was very happy watching it. He is also looking forward to watching the film.
My parents never thrust their opinions on me. They always want me to decide for myself.
Suhana is also planning to debut in the industry, being her best friend; what is your reaction?
We have always seen this dream together. I am happy everyone’s dreams are coming true. Shanaya’s [Kapoor] film has also started. I have seen them and am waiting for the world to see them.
Any particular role you wish to do?
I would love to do a film with classical dancing and action to perform. I want to play a kathak dancer or a sitar player.
Also, do you wish to reprise any biopic on the celluloid?
I would love to play the actors from the 50s and the 60s – Waheeda Rahman and Mala Sinha. I would love to work with SLB and hope to work with him soon.
Pl Put in Box
On replacing Nushrratt Bharuccha-
Nushrratt was terrific in the first part of the film. This was the decision made by the makers of the film. I think the story has changed, and the characters have changed.
I am looking forward to watching her in Akelli.