From English Vinglish to Rangrezz and Fukrey, Priya Anand talks about them all

Pree Naman22 Mar 2013

She was noticed by one and all in English Vinglish as the sweet niece of Sridevi. In an exclusive interview with Gomolo, Priya Anand talks about her new films, experience in the film industry, family and a lot more.

The interaction I had with Priya Anand was filled with her laughter. She is extremely fun, genuine, bubbly and vivacious. She has this energy in herself that makes her extremely amiable. For those who thought that her accent in English Vinglish was faked to justify her character, let me tell you: it is her natural accent. With Rangrezz and Fukrey in the pipeline, this vivacious girl takes out time to chat for an exclusive interview with Gomolo.

First English Vinglish, then Rangrezz - what has been the biggest difference shooting for the two?

Other than the superficial differences, one of the major differences was that for English Vinglish, we had mainly foreign crew with us since we were shooting at New York, while for Rangrezz, it was only Malayali crew! (Laughs) For me it was easy; since I am comfortable with Tamil and Telugu, I could understand Malayalam. But for Jackky, he was so lost on sets. I was totally at home while shooting for both films, since both the filmmakers were South Indian.

How did you bag the lead role in Rangrezz?

I stay in Chennai. So, the casting director of this film asked me to come down to Mumbai and give an audition. This is post the shooting of English Vinglish; but the film hadn’t released then. I auditioned for Rangrezz and Fukrey on the same day, and luckily, bagged them both!

Tell us something about your character in Rangrezz.

My character’s name is Megha Joshi. This is the second time I play a Maharashtrian girl, and I am really excited about it since my grandmother was a Maharashtrian. One peculiar thing about Megha is that she speaks in third person, which I think is really funny. But initially when Priyan ji told me about this I thought that this habit is really annoying. But the way he has written the character, it comes out as real fun. Megha’s sole ambition in life is to marry this guy played by Jackky Bhagnani. Since childhood, it’s been decided that they both are going to get married. So she just wants him to pass his exams soon and marry her. But eventually, this does not happen!

Did you have to prepare for this role?

There was no time to prepare at all. Dialogues were given to us on the spot. But once you know what the film is all about, and what’s your part in it, you automatically connect with the character and go with the flow.

How was your first day on the sets of Rangrezz?

We had to shoot at Mumbai’s Worli sea face area, in a place which was supposed to be Jackky’s terrace in the film. I still had to digest the fact that I was going to work with “The Priyadarshan”. Anyway, as soon as I reached there, Priyan ji greeted me warmly and introduced me to Jackky. Then he asked Jackky to remove his shirt and do push-ups, while I sit on Jackky’s back and read a book as if I am totally engrossed in it. It was really funny doing it, especially because I had to maintain a serious expression. And when they were doing my close-ups, there was no one under me, and I was doing squats to go up and down for the camera. Doing this scene broke the ice for me and Jackky.

Do you consider English Vinglish as a stepping stone into Bollywood?

It wasn’t a conscious decision to come to Bollywood. I just wanted to do good movies. I auditioned for English Vinglish 2-3 times, and I was like ‘I don’t want to embarrass myself anymore’, especially since this project involved big names like Balki and Sridevi. I was compelled to give an audition one last time, before I finally bagged it. I feel lucky to have got a chance to work with an icon like Sridevi so early in my career.

How did you enter the film industry?

My beginning in the industry was extremely humble. I never intended to act. But I guess life had different plans for me, and I started acting. My first film was horrible. But thankfully, I have grown and learnt a lot with each film that I did. English Vinglish brought a lot of change for me – I was brought before a new set of audience.

How is it being a part of this industry?

It’s awesome, especially because I have no Godfather to guide me, no PR, no agency. I am just this little girl with lots of love for cinema. I started up in the South, and now I am a part of Bollywood as well. I guess, I am God’s favourite child, as he keeps sending some really nice people into my life to take care of me!

Is it difficult being a part of this industry, especially since you are an outsider?

Not at all! If you know where you want to go and how you want to go there, then I don’t think it is difficult at all. I am here to do some good work. I am such a huge Sridevi fan; if I could act well in front of her, then I feel I can do it with anyone else as well. The fact that people like Priyadarshan and Santosh Sivan think I am awesome in front of the camera adds to my confidence.

Tell us something about your family background.

I was born in Chennai, and I’m the only child of my parents. My mom is a Tamilian from Chennai. My father is half Telugu, half Marathi from Hyderabad. I grew up in Chennai and Hyderabad.

How comfortable are you talking in Hindi?

I am as comfortable in Hindi as I am with Tamil and Telugu. In fact, I dub for myself in my films, whether it is Tamil, Telugu or Hindi. It is important for me that the audience experiences my performance with my voice because I have a distinctive energy and voice on screen.

Who is your idol in the film industry?

Undoubtedly, Sridevi. In fact, I still remember: when I was a kid, I wanted to change my name to Pooja because Sridevi’s name in Lamhe was Pooja. I had written several letters for her, but could never mail them to her as I didn’t have her address. So, when I met her for the first time while shooting for English Vinglish, I couldn’t stop myself from telling her about my immense craze for her. Other than her, I am also in awe of Rajpal Yadav. Luckily, I got a chance to work with him in Rangrezz. I always wanted to get a picture clicked with him; but whenever I was on sets, he was in chaddis or boxers. So, I would always wait for him to come in normal attire, but that never happened. So, I am still waiting to be clicked with Rajpal Yadav.

Did you have cold feet while working with Sridevi or Priyadarshan?

Surprisingly, I didn’t; because I couldn’t believe it that I’m working with them while on the sets. In fact, it didn’t really hit me that I am working with Sridevi until I actually saw myself onscreen sharing the same frame with her. So, I guess, once I see the complete film, and I chat with Priyan sir about it, it will hit me that I got an opportunity to work with this respected director.

What are your future projects?

I just wrapped up Fukrey for Excel Entertainment. This is my career’s tenth film, but has been the most challenging one ever. This is because for the first time ever, I was out of my comfort zone. In the film, I play a Punjabi girl from Delhi. I went to a Punjabi school when younger, so it’s not that I am alien to it. But yes, playing that role was challenging, yet fun! Fukrey is one film that I am really kicked about.

Tags: English VinglishRangrezzFukreyPriya AnandInterviewFeature

A Bollywood buff to the core - that's what Pree is! She started reading about Bollywood when others of her age started reading the basics of Science and Geography...! She'd go through newspapers and magazines only to read what's going on in B-town. Well, nothing has changed till date - she still continues to do the same!

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