Ananya Panday on why she loves to act and how she found a sister in co-star Deepika Padukone
Ananya Panday's name surely features on the top of the list of millennial poster girls. With a follower base of about 19 million on Instagram, this petite beauty is adored by Gen Z for her fresh looks and inimitable sense of fashion. The young actor, whose Instagram handle describes her as a ‘serial chiller’, is also the founder of So Positive, an initiative that raises awareness about social media bullying.
Panday, who debuted in Student of The Year 2, is now the face of the US-based footwear brand Skechers’ new offering that includes Energy Racer Sneakers and D’Lites. Last seen in the masala flick Khali Peeli opposite Ishaan Khatter, Panday just finished shooting with actor Vijay Deverakonda for the multi-lingual film, Liger, that’s set to release this September 9.
Tell us the secret behind your petite frame?
I started working out seriously only in the past two years after I debuted as an actor. In fact, I have started to enjoy my workouts now and feel rejuvenated after exercising. I do a mix of yoga and weight training. I love dancing and I have trained in kathak and that’s what takes care of my cardio routine.
We are sure a strict diet also contributes to your fitness?
A balanced diet is what I prefer. I just eat whenever I feel like and whatever I feel like but it has to be ghar ka khana like rajma chawal, chicken, eggs or paneer. I have a healthy mix of carbs, proteins and fats like avocado and nuts. But, I have a huge sweet tooth and I love ice creams and have pancakes and chocolates every day. My comfort food includes butter chicken and pancakes.
What’s your comfort drink?
Coffee, I just can’t live without it. Also, I drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Your fashion choices?
The pandemic has taught us to gravitate towards all things comfortable and I too love to be in comfortable outfits like shorts, jeans, oversized sweatshirts, crop tops and sneakers. I don’t accessorise much but I love hoop earrings, they simply change my looks. I don’t splurge at all and I am a very reasonable buyer. I feel things don’t have to be expensive to be nice and I love casual clothing a lot.
Five wardrobe essentials?
Comfortable and colourful sneakers, well-fitted ripped denim, a white shirt, hoop earrings and a little black dress.
What’s behind your gorgeous skin and hair?
A lot of people (laughs). I am not going to lie; it’s not possible to look perfect all the time. But I think working out, eating well and leading a happy life lead to great skin and hair. I put a lot of weird things on my hair like bananas and eggs and I oil my hair regularly. I have combination skin and once in a while I apply turmeric, honey and yoghurt on my face.
Tell us about your film Liger?
It’s a full-on masala multi-lingual film, like all Puri Jagannadh’s films are. I play the female lead opposite Vijay Deverakonda. I learnt so much while filming for Liger and it was a completely new experience. The Southern film industry has a very different way of working. They are very efficient; know exactly what they want and it’s always fun on the sets. I have very fond memories of the shoot, especially when we went to film a song in Goa and stayed there for a week together in a house. The entire team connected so well.
Will we see more of you down South?
Why not? Our country has so many different kinds of stories to tell and the language barrier is actually a very small thing to overcome. I definitely want to work and tell good stories, irrespective of languages.
Who’s your favourite actor from the South?
Right now, obviously Vijay. He is such a nice, talented and soft-spoken person.
Any other films?
There is also this yet-untitled Hindi movie directed by Shakun Batra that I am a part of. Shakun is a dream director and it was a wonderful experience, especially with my co-star Deepika Padukone. She is amazing and as beautiful inside, as she is outside. She is very warm and used to ensure that we all eat together and spend time together. She literally took care of me as a sister would.
How are you enjoying your acting journey?
It’s not been that long but I feel I have learnt a lot and I want to keep on learning and growing and try out new things as an actor.
Quick five with Ananya
Series you binged on recently: The Family Man
Last film you watched: Sherni
Currently watching: Mindhunter and The Office
Directors you wish to work with: Zoya Akhtar, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Karan Johar, Neeraj Ghaywan and Vishal Bhardwaj.
Any actor you wish to work with: My dad (Chunky Pandey).