Anagha: It would be unreal to expect performance-oriented roles every single time

Anagha, who is basking in the success of her recent-release Bheeshma Parvam, talks about her experience working in the film, her acting choices, and more
Anagha on Bheeshma Parvam
Anagha on Bheeshma Parvam

In Indian cinema, songs and dance numbers have always been a sure-shot route for actors to make a mark in the audience's hearts. Just a few films old, Anagha has been fortunate enough to be part of some blockbuster numbers like Per Vechalum (Dikkiloona), the songs in Natpe Thunai. It is safe to say that she has danced her way into the people's hearts. "I'm a trained classical dancer and dancing has always been a part of my life. I'm extremely happy that people are enjoying my songs," says an upbeat Anagha, who is currently basking in the success of her latest release, Bheeshma Parvam, and of course, the Parudeesa number in it.

Bheeshma Parvam, headlined by Mammootty, is surely her biggest film to date, and Anagha beams with excitement while talking about working in the multistarrer. "Bheeshma Parvam was one of those sets where I could learn a lot. I could see from close quarters how the veterans went about with their work, and it was inspiring to try and understand their process. It was a great learning experience to interact with actors like Mammookka and Nadhiya Ma'am," says Anagha.

Crediting Amal Neerad for ushering her to the next level as an actor, Anagha says, "There have been phases in my career where I was frustrated with the roles I was being offered. I used to make things worse by comparing myself with others. Amal sir was the one who advised me to be patient and continue working without worrying about the results. I've now realised that success is not an overnight thing. It's years of hardwork and dedication that made people like him what they are today. I've understood that process is more important than the result."

In Bheeshma Parvam, Anagha plays Rachel, who is the niece of Mammootty's Michael. It is never easy for an actor to work alongside someone they idolised growing up, and Anagha calls it an inexplicable experience. "Mammookka is the most experienced person on the sets and still, he is the most disciplined. His work ethic and dedication is unparalleled. Despite being such a big star, he makes sure that everyone on sets is comfortable and helps them with their performances."

Since the film is set in the 80s, Anagha had the "surreal" experience of recreating an era she had only heard of. "After I heard the script, I asked Amal sir if I should work on my appearance and mannerisms since it's the 80s. But he asked me to just be casual and not put in any extra effort. However, he was particular about the costumes, styling and makeup. We tried to recreate all that was trending during that time, including the double ponytail hairstyle and the mom jeans."

Post-release, there have been several political readings about Bheeshma Parvam. Though set in a different era, the film tries to touch upon the current socio-political issues. It begins with a thanks card dedicating the film to Kevin and Neenu, the victims of Kerala's first reported honour killing. Similarly, a small portion of the Parudeesa song is staged and choreographed similar to the viral Rasputin dance by medical students, Naveen Razak and Janaki Omkumar, who faced communal remarks for their religious identity. Although Anagha feels the similarities in the choreography were just a coincidence, she admits to not being aware of the Kevin-Neenu connection till Amal explained it. "I came to know about the Kevin-Neenu connection only after the film's release when Amal sir explained it to me. But regarding the song choreography, I still have no idea. I don't think it was deliberately done to recreate it. But such readings are only encouraging because, ultimately, the film is being talked about."

Though Anagha has an author-backed role amidst a plethora of big actors in Bheeshma Parvam, she is aware that such roles don't come often. Nevertheless, Anagha is game for commercial films where the heroines usually don't get to do much. "I wouldn't mind doing eye-candy roles provided the team is good and I'm paid well. It would be unreal for me to expect performance-oriented roles every single time. There should be something that interests me. I'll do a film even if my role is not prominent but it's backed by a big banner or my co-star is a popular name. It will help with visibility."

It is impressive how Anagha isn't image-conscious or wary about how the market perceives her. In between her feature films, she also did a couple of music videos, one of which, Magizhini, was about a homosexual relationship. The actor asserts, "In today's changing times when OTT content is flourishing, you don't really have to be worried about being stereotyped."

After Bheeshma Parvam, Anagha is taking her time to sign new projects. "Cinema is a world of uncertainty. There have been times when I shot for one day and then the project got stalled soon after. I see it as the vagaries of this profession. Bheeshma Parvam has given a break of sorts for me. So I don't want to immediately pile up my projects. I'm ready to wait for something exciting. Currently, I have a Telugu film coming up and one in Tamil under Karthik Subbaraj's production."

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