A Star among the Stars: Anjali

Anjali on her experiences in the industry, relationship rumours and her future

She made humble beginnings sans any luxurious landscapes or glamourous gowns. She’s bold! She’s fun! She’s smart in uncanny way and she can be shrewd when she wants to be, yet she keeps it simple and gives her best in everything that she does. RITZ Magazine speaks to the cover girl Anjali, who made her debut in Tamil cinema as the simple small-town girl Anandhi and soon made everyone sit up and take notice of her acting talent. The actor wants to be remembered for her roles and wants to be part of some of the most memorable movies ever made.

Interview by Vignesh Sastivel. Written by Kaanchan Prashanth

Photography: Jay & Mano

Hair and Makeup: Samantha Jagan, Wink Salon

Styling: Amirtha Ram

Jewellery: THAT1TOO.COM

Location: Radisson Blu, Chennai

You had no formal training in acting when you made a debut in Kattradhu Tamil. Yet you did not flounder…

When I worked in Kattradhu Tamil, it was the first time I was facing the camera. I did not know much about the process. But fortunately for me director Ram was there to tell me what to do. He would show me exactly what was required and how to go about it. I just followed everything he said. People who watched the movie said that I had given a very mature performance, which made me feel good. I learnt everything on the set, on the job. Then my next movie was Angadi Theru. The role was so much more serious than before and hence I really had to put in more effort. And just like that from one movie to the next, from one role to the next I figured my way out.

In most of the movies you have done, you have co-stars who are well-known actors. How do you hold your ground in spite of that?

When I listen to a story, I try to understand my role. I need to feel a spark and make a connection with the character. I accept to do the part only if I am confident that I can do justice to the role. And then when it comes to the time of shooting, I should be able to become that character, only then will it stand out. When you’re in front of the camera you have to focus on the character completely. You have to put 100% effort into making the character as believable as possible. At the end of the day, what counts is how well you have performed, that’s the only way to hold your ground.

When you are a part of multi-starrers that are attached with bigger stars, do you feel intimidated?

I think that feeling was there only when I did Iraivi. The movie had stars like Vijay Sethupathi, Bobby Simha, SJ Suryah… all of them are good actors. And we all had equally important roles. When we started the shoot I had lots of scenes with Vijay Sethupathi, and I was very conscious of the fact that I was acting with a guy who has given some fantastic performances. And in being so conscious of that and in wondering whether I was doing a good enough job, I was losing my originality. I was losing grip of the character. That’s when I just told myself to stop bothering about how good the co-stars were and focus on giving my best to my role. Each actor must work to their fullest potential to the story. And once I stopped worrying over my co-stars, I was back to being myself and everything fell into place. My character managed to stand out and was also much spoken about.

Every actor needs to do a variety of roles. But sometimes they get labelled or stereotyped. In your case, you did a lot of non-glam roles so when you suddenly turned glamorous, it came as a shock…

It’s not like I said I would never do glamorous roles. I think it was around Settai and Kalakalppu that I did my first glamourous role. In both movies the characters I played were sketched in such a way that I needed to look glam. I am not saying that I will only do glamourous roles or that I will never do them either. I will do whatever is required of the character that I play.

You acted in Mankatha but you were not paired with Ajith. Likewise in Singam 2 also, you were featured in just a song. Does it irk you that you have not starred with big heroes?

I did have a few scenes with Ajith sir and I was very happy to work with him. I may not have been paired with him, but I am definitely happy that I got to work side-by-side. In general for me to do a role in a movie, I should have a meaty part to play. Just because I want to be paired with a big hero, I do not chase after roles in their movies. I want to play a substantial part in the plot. And actually these days even though the movies are riding on the big heroes, the heroines are also given importance. So if something like that comes along, I wouldn’t mind doing it. For me what matters is what role is being offered to me.

There was a time when there was a rumour that you and actor Jai had gotten married. And his tweet to you on your birthday, created quite a flurry. What is your stand on this?

I did not initiate the rumour. I have not commented on the rumour. I have nothing to do with such a rumour doing the rounds. As such I do not feel like clarifying anything. It’s not my responsibility because I did not put that out there. If I was to clarify every rumour about me, I’d have to quit acting and do only that! I like to steer clear of all these tangles and go about my work.

What is the general direction in which you are heading as far as your career is concerned?

Like every actor I just want to be a part of good cinema. My focus is on picking interesting roles in some interesting movies. I want people to watch my movies and say that my character was a good one and that I had done right in choosing to play that part. Going forward I have signed on movies like Aramm, where the story rests on the shoulders of the heroine. I am really looking forward to getting started on them.

QUICK BYTES:

What do you miss the most? Spending time with my family and watching movies at the theatre without being spotted.

What do you fear the most? The dark

The prank you are famous for? Hiding the mobile phone of my co-stars.

The most difficult thing for you to do? Solo close-up of romantic scenes without the actor present for the take.

Which director made you work the most? Director Ram for Kattradhu Tamil.

Who is the co-star who has teased you the most? Jiiva, during Kattradhu Tamil because my Tamil was pretty bad then.

Who is the co-star you have teased the most? Every co-star who is a junior to me! I make them call me ‘madam’ or when they are doing a scene I make funny faces and distract them.

Who gets angry with you the most? My Mom, especially when I am not working and I laze around the house doing nothing!

Who do you get angry with the most? It could be with anyone. I don’t get angry much but when I do, it goes away in a minute or two.