Anu Hasan dons many hats effortlessly — entrepreneur, chat-show host, columnist, actor and poet. She will soon add one more — that of an author
Anu Hasan refused to become an actor. That it was in the genes caused a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ against the profession — her paternal uncles are Charu Haasan and Kamal Haasan, and her cousin is actor Suhasini. “I knew, or rather at the time I thought, I did not want to act. I was more interested in human resources as my father was an HR person,” says Anu.
She focussed on her education and earned a Masters in Physics and Management from BITS Pilani. And thanks to a persistent Suhasini, she found herself facing the camera for Indira. Anu recalls, “I told her ‘I am not going to act. I don’t want to.’ She responded with, ‘First let’s see if you can act’.” It was a challenge she couldn’t resist.
Entrepreneur, chat-show host (think Koffee With Anu), columnist, poet, line-producer, production controller and soon-to-be author… Anu wears many hats. “I am not afraid of failing, so I take on too many things on my head. And then I have a tough time striking a balance,” she says.
After Indira, she acted in films such as Run (for which she got the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Artist), Kamal Haasan’s Nala Damayanthi (for which she also was an associate), Dhaam Dhoom, Kaanagham, and Red Building Where The Sun Sets, a short film that won the National Award for Best Non-Feature Film for Family Values. She is also the recipient of the Tamil Nadu government’s ‘Kalaimamani’ award. Though none of these was a major role, she says, “I believe there are no small roles…there are only small actors.”
Television happened simultaneously, a reason why she did not focus too much on her film career. She did a slew of Tamil television serials such as Rekha IPS, Avan Avan Avargal, and Ammaavukku Rendula Raagu. She made a mark on television with her chat show Koffee With Anu. That show won Anu many fans, and a factor that contributed to the show’s success, in no small measure, was her unobtrusive style as the host. “I wasn’t there to make them uncomfortable, I would just put myself in the background and let my guest’s personality come out.” Besides that chat show, she has hosted a couple of reality and cookery shows too.
And then she took a hiatus, and there was very little of her on television and film. “I was doing too much of the same thing, so I took a break. Till I took the break, I was doing the dying sister kind of role. But now I am doing the role of hockey coach, so maybe I’ll take another break,” laughs Anu.
The U.K.-based Anu (she lives there with her husband Graham Jay) is currently busy with her firm IVY Mobility, which is, incidentally, not her first business venture. Squash’d Juices and Smoothies, with a 100 per cent woman workforce, was a business she started in 2005 (it has since been bought over), and along the way set up a couple of marketing companies too. And that is not all. Come July and she becomes a published author with her self-help book tentatively titled Sunny Side Up, culled from her life experiences.