Trodding the alleys of B-town for quite some time now, this girl from the theatre world is a firebrand of sorts. Playing a dark character in an otherwise abstract plot that in itself symbolizes elusory, Anjali Patil has come a long way, up from Nashik!
Call her a small town girl and she will drive you nuts, but shower her with some lovely comments and the excited baby in her spills the beans of her underlying innocence and vitality. With an astounding debut with Prakash Jha’s Chakravyuh, Anjali decodes the minute details behind her Juhi, her ambitions and desires to rule the Bollywood kingdom someday!
Up all the way from Nashik, it seems to be a catapulted journey to the roads of Bollywood. How has the entire journey been for this small town girl?
Actually, I don’t like this word: this entire ‘small town girl’ thing! We have been in such a globalization streak today, so I feel this term is really insulting at times! Even though it would be good to have myself tagged as a small town girl making it big in Bollywood, I would not prefer doing it. I love my town very much. And the journey has been great! In terms of confidence, yes the girls and boys from the metropolitan cities are of a different level. But in terms of dreams, I don’t think there can be any comparison and dreams have always been the biggest motivations for me. It could just be anybody in place of me!
You have been a really bright student in college, getting a gold medal in Dramatics. So did you always have a plan to be an actress?
I never had a really strong plan. I just wanted to travel, and considering plans, I guess the first one was to be a nomad. That is the reason why I chose theatre. From there onwards, I went to Pune University, did my graduations there. While I got to meet so many people, acting happened eventually. I discovered ki yaar, there is nothing else that I can do!
Your father did not support you when you decided to opt for theatre and dramatics. Were you bogged down then?
The only reason he did not support me was because like every other father, he wanted his child to have a safe and secure life. He believes in the notion of monthly payments and earnings. That was his only concern and that made him think that the performing industry is very risky. But the moment he saw me performing lead roles in my university dramas, he realized that I am happy doing that and that is the only thing I can excel in!
But then how did Chakravyuh happen?
After my stint in ‘Delhi in a Day’, I received a lot of offers from Hindi films, Konkan films and I did a couple of them. I did a Telegu-Malayalam film and an Indo-Sri Lankan film which was an international project. I was also doing some other films and I remember finishing my shoots for a Telegu film in Hyderabad when I received a call from the casting director. Then I met Prakash sir and through the auditions, I bagged the film.
Playing lead roles in your theatre plays and opting for a supporting role in your debut Hindi film, do you think this was a wise decision on your part? Don’t you feel the pressure of being stereotyped?
I would have been wise about taking that decision if it was some other director. But it was Prakahs Jha, I have seen his films and I know how nicely he crafts a film. I know the way he treats the actors, the characters and even his one-day actors! Even a one minute screen space in a Prakash Jha film would be as important and that’s what Prakashji shines at. So I never had the tension of being overshadowed by the three male characters. I have my character which has her own life, her own graph and is very strong. My character really stands out in the film and that is what makes me happy.
How were your equations with your director, Prakash Jha?
I look at him as somebody who guides me and teaches me like a father. I feel he knows me very well and coming to tuning, I would like to just say that we share some very similar traits. The passion for work, bhook-pyaas bhulke jo kaam karne ka jazba hota hai, that is there in both of us.
You also feature in a tentative item song for the film. How was the experience?
Item song? No, that’s not an item song at all! It is rather a song of celebration, where the tribal gang is enjoying themselves. It is just me and Abhay Deol having some fun moves; it is not at all an item song. It is a happy celebration wala enjoyable song!
After Chakravyuh, what is keeping you busy?
Now, I would be really busy in the promotions for the film and I am reading some scripts too. I am meeting new people, directors each day. That is something which is happening a lot these days. I am getting some better scripts too. Now, I want to do something different from what I did in Chakravyuh. I am trying to do something romantic, something comic, probably something very fragile where people get to see a different side of me altogether, and one that they haven’t seen before.
So, being associated to both theatre and Bollywood now, if you had to choose between the two, which one would you opt for and why?
Well, I have a very strong education of six-seven years in theatre. So if I say Bollyood films now, it would be a straight forward betrayal. But then again, I will try my best to not betray any of the mediums; both of them have provided me with something as a human being. They have become a part of my character now and groomed me in certain ways with experiences. And one day, I hope to rule Bollywood! For now, I won’t choose any, coz you cant really choose between your mom and dad!