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'I want to give Karan Johar a big hug'

By Rajul Hegde
April 16, 2018 13:48 IST
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'... and thank him for such a great launch for my daughter.'

IMAGE: Meet Ananya Pandey. Photograph: Kind courtesy Ananya Pandey/Instagram

Chunky Pandey is delighted that his daughter Ananya is part of Student Of The Year 2.

Produced by Karan Johar and directed by Punit Malhotra, SOTY 2 will also star the beefy Tiger Shroff and the multi-talented Tara Sutaria.

"I am on top of the world," Chunky gushes over the phone to Rajul Hegde.


The SOTY 2 poster was released recently. What has the feedback been like?

It has been positive and bright. People have liked her. So I think what has begun well is half done.

I haven't got the opportunity to meet Karan Johar (after the poster released) as he is travelling.

I would like to give him a big hug and thank him for such a great launch for my daughter.

IMAGE: Ananya with her parents Bhavana and Chunky Pandey. Photograph: Kind courtesy Ananya Pandey/Instagram

Was there similar excitement when your first film poster was released?

The excitement is 10 times more now.

When my poster was out, I was too young.

It was like something is happening to me, but you cannot enjoy that moment as you are busy working hard.

This moment is different. I am seeing it happen for my child. It gives more excitement.

How did she get the role?

When Ananya's Class 12 prelims were on, she heard about the auditions. She auditioned at the Dharma Productions office.

They were auditioning many girls.

About a month later, when her exams were still on, she told me she got a call from Dharma, saying she was confirmed for the film.

I thought she was joking, then it turned out to be real.

She surprised us with the news.

IMAGE: Ananya on the SOTY 2 poster.

Did she always want to act?

Ananya was very clear that she wanted to become an actor from Class 10.

Since she was very good at studies, she did not neglect it.

So we had a discussion if she should start young or if she should complete her studies first.

She got scholarships from two universities in the US.

But you know, opportunities like this don't come every day.

This is something she always wanted to do, and this is what we encourage her to do.

Since the film is happening, we have delayed her admission for a year.

I keep telling her, she is such a good real life student, I hope she becomes a good reel life student too.

Has she taken acting classes?

Once she decided that she want to do movies in Class 10, she started training for it.

Besides her studies, she would go for dance and acting classes because it is very important to be trained.

How did she prepare for this role?

Both my daughters are big fans of SOTY. They were so excited when they saw the film. They would enact the scenes at home.

I think subconsciously she had been preparing for it from then (laughs).

IMAGE: Ananya begins shooting for SOTY 2. Photograph: Kind courtesy Ananya Pandey/Instagram

Has the shoot started?

Yes, they started shooting from April 9, in Dehradun.

As a father, as an actor, what advice have you given her?

I have always told her not to be insecure and to make her own destiny, to write her own story.

Ananya is a unique name and you have to be different and original, like your name, I told her.

Is she nervous?

She is a happy and confident girl.

Now, she has left the stable. She is on her way to do what she is capable of.

Even getting a movie is an achievement.

Dharma is the ultimate (launch pad). I have never worked with Dharma in my life.

Imagine, my nephew Ahaan Pandey has signed up with Yash Raj. I have never worked with Yash Raj either!

These kids have really carved out their own things.

IMAGE: Ananya with her sister Rysa. Photograph: Kind courtesy Ananya Pandey/Instagram

What is your younger daughter Rysa doing?

She wants to become an athlete. She is just 13 now.

She has done theatre in school.

At 16, you never know, she might turn around and say she wants to become an actor (laughs)

What is the best compliment Ananya has got for the poster?

There were so many!

(Thinks) It would be when her Instagram account jumped to 80,000 more followers in one day.

It has become double mine (laughs).

That would be the best compliment for me. I would love to be known as her father.

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