The very beautiful Anupriya Goenka, who has acted in films like Bobby Jasoos, Daddy, and Dishoom, recently won billion hearts by her flawless performance in Ali Abbas Zafar’s Tiger Zinda Hai. This time, not only Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif were the one who grabbed all the attention, but also Anupriya, who has garnered a lot of appreciation for her role as Poorna, who essayed the role of a nurse in the film.
Remember, a lady sitting in Padmavati’s Ghoomar song? Yes, she is none other than, Anupriya! Her appearance in the song left everyone puzzled about who this mystery lady is! She will be seen in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati, and her role as Shahid Kapoor’s first wife is an integral part of the film.
Recently, Koimoi.com caught up with the lady herself and spoke about her super duper film Tiger Zinda Hai, how she bagged this film, her equation with Salman Khan, Padmavati and much more!
Excerpts from the interview:
1. First of all many congratulations! audiences are loving your character in the film. To start with telling us how did you bag a grand film like Tiger Zinda Hai?
Well, casting director of Yash Raj Films Shanoo Sharma auditioned me and we auditioned somewhere in 2016 October and then there was the second audition in January. And then I bagged the role in March. About three years ago, when they were looking for someone new for Sultan, that time I was approached for the main lead and there was a very rigorous set of auditions that were carried out. I think that’s when I had connected with Ali Abbas Zafar, I have had readings with him and then I had a final test with him, and the whole team is the same in terms of ADs. So, when it came to Tiger Zinda Hai, I wasn’t new to them per say. And it was surreal that I had auditioned for the first round for Tiger Zinda Hai was the same scene that I had auditioned for Sultan as well. I remember Shanoo mentioning it also that how life comes a full circle. Then the second time I auditioned for Poorna and then in March I finally got a confirmation with them.
2. What was your first reaction after you were signed for the film?
(Smiles) the crazy thing is then Shanoo suddenly called me for the first time for Poorna and she was like, ‘Listen, we are really considering you for Poorna, I need your dates now. Let me know by tonight (laughs).’ And I was in between Padmavati then and we were having our own set of problems. That Jaipur episode had happened. And in all probabilities with all these films what happens is that they have a tentative idea of when the shoot is going to be. You never know how they will transpire in reality and even with Padmavati, all my scenes were with Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor. So, a lot was depended upon their dates, and everybody had kept themselves free, the lead actors as well. So, that one week my first reaction was I went nervous (laughs). So yeah, that was the crazy week I remember!
3. Technically if we see Padmavati was supposed to be your first big break. But unfortunately, it has been stuck with controversies. How do you feel about it?
My first reaction was obviously it was hurtful because when you are expecting your work to come out on a certain date, there is so much aspirations and so many hopes attached to it. More than that, my heart goes out to Sanjay Leela Bhansali sir because he has put in it all into that movie and he is so attached to it emotionally, he is attached to his characters, he just wanted it to come out and audiences to see it. So every day that is laid by, is very painful at an emotional level. But I believe that there is a silver lining in everything. Even though it is delayed, it will be going to definitely come out and I am just so sure that everybody is going to love it. Just the way they are loving TZH, I am sure with Padmavati too, the flavour is very different, creative and a beautiful film and every scene is breathtaking! So I am sure that people are going to adore it as much.
4. Could you tell us about your role in Padmavati and what kind of chemistry you shared with Deepika and Shahid on sets?
I am playing Shahid Kapoor’s first wife in the film as you saw in the Ghoomar song and it is a very integral character. That’s all I can reveal at this point honestly. I have had a great time working with the whole team. I am blessed to be a part of both these films.
5. If you have a meaty role both in small and big films, the role in the bigger one gets more recognition than the smaller one. What do you have to say about it?
See the thing is that as much as we might say that it is long but at the same time, it is the reality. And if it wasn’t a Salman sir’s popularity, you wouldn’t be talking to me right now. The entire audiences have been drawn to the movie because of Salman sir because it is a Yash Raj production. They have that kind of reach. And so many careers have been made on that basis. So, I am all only gratitude for that! Also, the thing with Sanjay sir and Padmavati, it is his magnum opus and that’s why anybody would be excited to see me in it because they know the kind of films he make is huge and grand. So having said that these films are the ones that give actors like us a base and recognition. For the smaller films, of course, it will be amazing if these films start doing better. Because there are lovely stories being told, there is a whole variety of actors out there who are so talented and the content is becoming the king in both these genres, commercial films as well as small independent films. I think because the content has started becoming the primarily important thing even in bigger films, it is because the independent films gave it that kind of challenge. The situation is changing, it is going to take time but it will change slow and steadily. I did a Nagesh Kukunoor film, I played a lead there. It is an independent film, it is completely based on my character and it is a very intense film. It has a huge graph for my role and it hasn’t released yet. It’s been 2 years since we shot the film. But I am hoping that it will come out in some form or the other. Now, there are a lot of other avenues as well for digital releases. But still, I am sure that it will come out in due point of time and people will get to see it.
6. In Tiger Zinda Hai, you have shared the screen with both hero and villain, Salman and Sajjad. How was the experience of working with them?
Amazing! Like Salman sir…I mean it is like a dream for any actor to share screen space with him and I am so full of gratitude that I had the opportunity. He is extremely giving as a person, at a human level, as an actor. He gives you his full say and space and supports you in every way. I have this aura about him which is fully protective, he has that aura that you feel protected around him. The funny thing is that when I went to Chandan cinemas and I saw the film and all the previous screenings that I have seen in Chandan and there have been many, I just realised that how the audiences love him. When you meet him in person, you understand why! You just get that vibe, there is so much love for him and why he deserves it and why he is Bhai! (Laughs). That way I was lucky because I got to see the reason and understand it and feel it myself.
With Sajjad Delafrooz, he is a very dedicated actor, a very good human being first of all. He is extremely hard working, he works on a method and he has been a big support to me while I was in Abu Dhabi, through the shoot as well at a very personal level in fact. Because we became great friends and he was always there as a friend for me. I enjoyed every scene with him, like the first scene in fact which you saw is the first scene with him and it was the first shot of the film which was shot in Abu Dhabi. He was great!
7. Now that you have worked with Salman, are there any other actors on your wish list?
I want to work with Salman sir again! (Laughs). I don’t think that wish will ever go even if I work with him again and again, I will always want to work with him again! He is very addictive like that. Of course, I want to work with Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Rajkummar Rao, with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Irrfan Khan…there are so many on my wish list. With Ranveer Singh and Ranbir Kapoor!
8. You know Tiger Zinda Hai is an action thriller, Padmavati is a historic film, so what kind of genres appeal to you or you want to be a part of?
All sorts ya! Like as I am working more, I am realising that all genres interest me. I love period films, I have always been drawn to period films, to the Smita Patil zone, Shabana Azmi zone and films that depict the rural space or which are more intense in terms of characters. I love those kinds of spaces, niche cinema. But while I am a part of these commercial films, I have realized that how interesting they are! (Laughs). They are completely a different experience. Like the grandeur and the scale that we were working in Tiger Zinda Hai with Salman Khan and YRF was amazing. I want to do all of that. I want to strike a balance between these two. Now, thankfully we have come at a time where the line has got blurry between commercial and niche/art cinema. Even I would love to do a love story, I am a very romantic person at heart (Laughs).
9. What’s next in the pipeline?
There’s Padmavati about to release as you know. Then there is Maya which will be releasing, it is a very intense film. Then I have got two web series in the pipeline. There are 2-3 things being spoken off in terms of scripts and discussions are going on. I hope they will materialize soon and I will have good news to share!