Ananya Panday: ‘I like to be kind and stay in my lane’

Ananya Panday

Teen romance to romantic comedy to action drama. In just three films, Ananya Panday, 23, has shown that she will not be put into a box. Her latest, Gehraiyaan , tackles messy relationships and the drama that comes with them (the cast calls it ‘‘domestic noir”). Directed by Shakun Batra ( Kapoor & Sons , Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu ) for Amazon Prime Video, the movie also stars Deepika Padukone and Siddhant Chaturvedi.

Also read |Why Siddhant Chaturvedi isn’t copying SRK in Gehraiyaan

While we don’t see much of Panday’s character, Tia, in the recently-launched trailer, she says there’s a lot more to her role. “I won’t say I have experienced what she has been through, but we do share a lot of characteristics. Like being extremely loving and loyal in any relationship. Perhaps a little dependent and insecure as well…,” she trails off with a smile in a Zoom interview with The Hindu Weekend .

Deepika Padukone and Ananya Panday in a still from ‘Gehraiyaan’

Deepika Padukone and Ananya Panday in a still from ‘Gehraiyaan’

The dynamic and complex relationships between the three protagonists are what drew her to the script. That the project was helmed by one of her dream directors was an added bonus. “I don’t think I had a process in terms of acting; I would turn up and just go with the flow. [But] Shakun has been very conscious and mindful with me. He gave me the freedom to explore. When we would block our scenes, he would let us play it out.” This helped Panday build the character on her own terms and connect with the role better. “It’s something I will take forward with me in my career.”

Ananya Panday

Ananya Panday

The social netwo rk

One area that Panday does not need help with, however, is social media. Her 21 million Instagram followers are privy to her love for fashion, her new projects, and glimpses of her personal life. In her bio, she calls herself a ‘serial chiller’. “I’m happy just being with my family and closest friends [whom I’ve grown up with]. I love sitting with my pancakes and coffee in a corner and getting lost in a good book,” she says (see box), adding that, at the same time, she is careful about not setting unrealistic expectations for those who follow her. “It isn’t possible to be completely confident, happy, or on point at all times. I like to be kind and stay in my lane.”

Between pages

    It’s also why she does not understand cancel culture. “What does that even mean? It’s not like they will cease to exist any more!” This approach to creating safe spaces online gave rise to So Positive (@sopositivedsr) in 2019, her Digital Social Responsibility initiative. The aim is to create awareness around social media bullying, she says. “The fact is that anyone could be in that position; it’s important to discuss these subjects openly.” So, apart from tips on their social media feed, they have also put together a handbook on how to best deal with such situations.


    During the pandemic, the content pivoted to highlight Covid warriors. This included a series of interactions with the people behind initiatives that brought oxygen aid, animal welfare, rations, and more, to their communities.

    Ananya Panday and Siddhant Chaturvedi in a still from ‘Gehraiyaan’

    Ananya Panday and Siddhant Chaturvedi in a still from ‘Gehraiyaan’

    Poo for power

      Future projects

      On the work front, she’s busy promoting Gehraiyaan at the moment. Liger , with Vijay Devarakonda and Mike Tyson, is set to release in the second half of 2022. There’s also a mystery project she promises we’ll hear about soon.

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      In the meantime, she will begin shooting for Zoya Akhtar’s Kho Gaye Hum Kahan in March. “I’m really looking forward to that experience. Because Zoya’s films are my favourite kind of films,” she concludes.

      Gehraiyaan will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on February 11.

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      Printable version | Apr 23, 2022 11:45:08 pm |