Having won praise for 'Gehraiyaan', Ananya Panday says it gave her the confidence to be uninhibited in a masala film like 'Liger'
In some ways, 'Liger' is an opportunity that doesn’t come easily to a young actor — to be able to debut all over again, this time, in multiple languages. But four-film-old Ananya Panday is assured as she, along with Vijay Deverakonda, fronts director Puri Jagannadh’s multi-lingual that will introduce her to a wider audience across the country. “Deciding to do the film was daunting,” she admits, right at the start of our chat. “I was stepping out of my comfort zone, and learning the tropes of a new set-up and film vocabulary. Puri sir and Vijay held my hand throughout. Thankfully, my character is speaking in Hindi mostly, so the language wasn’t much of a barrier.”
A sill from Liger
When you’ve got Deverakonda in the cast, the attention can tilt towards him, given his fan following. Does she worry about being overshadowed? “Oh, you should hear it when he enters a venue,” she laughs, clearly delighted with her co-star’s popularity. “But it doesn’t make me feel insecure. He is kind, humble, and different from his on-screen persona. Our conversations have led me to believe that I have found a friend in him. I am not insecure about him because seeing him get that love makes me happy. He deserves all of it. On the first day we shot together, he re-shot a complex fight sequence only to help me perform my scene better. That’s an honest artiste right there!”
Panday, who started the year with 'Gehraiyaan', was praised for bringing restraint to her character in the relationship drama. Shakun Batra’s film, she says, has empowered her as an artiste. “People liked my character and performance. It’s all thanks to Shakun. Being in a massy film like Liger requires a lot of confidence and [a lack of] inhibitions. With 'Gehraiyaan', I overcame the fear of being judged, and that showed in 'Liger'. I don’t want to be scared of judgment. I have started young, and I don’t want the audience or myself to get bored of my work. When you start early, you are unprepared for the love you’ll get or the hate you’ll see. I was 18 when I began, and the hate hit me then. I felt lonely and isolated. But I have realised that to keep doing good work [is the answer]. Nothing speaks louder than that.”