By Natalia Ningthoujam
National Award-winning actress Anjali Patil has dabbled in various film industries but her aim is not to be a big Bollywood star. Anjali, also a director and writer, says Bollywood films and money are “very little” aspects of her world, in which she would also like to be a chef someday.
A look at her filmography will give people an idea about her interests that go beyond Bollywood. Yes, she has done Mirzya (Hindi) and Newton (Hindi), which was India’s official entry for the Oscars’ Best Foreign Language Film category. But she has also featured in Naa Bangaaru Talli (Telugu), The Silence (Marathi), Ente (Malayalam) and the forthcoming Tamil film Kaala, starring megastar Rajinikanth.
What attracts her to films in multiple languages?
“My curiosity to learn. I have always had this fascination to learn things and to know the world. With each film and with each new language, you get to know other people. Even though I did a Telugu film, I had no idea about its culture earlier.
“When I did Kaala in Tamil, I had a new introduction to Tamil Nadu and its language, culture and food. I want to do films as an actor, writer and director which will nurture and nourish me as an artiste. Bollywood films and money are very little aspects of my world,” Anjali, who hails from Maharashtra, said.
She just has a “simple expectation” while taking up a project.
“Happiness. Nobody paid me to become an artiste. I chose to be an artiste. I fought with people and got myself into a drama school. So, I don’t really have any expectations apart from enjoying and working on my skill as an actor and as a director,” said the National School of Drama alumnus.
What also doesn’t matter much to her is the size of her role.
On being the leading lady of Eros Now’s first original film Meri Nimmo, she said in a recorded response: “These are the things that I don’t understand somehow and I feel that it’s good that I am ignorant in these matters.
“For me, the most important thing is the script and what my director is saying. It doesn’t matter if I play the title role or a character with no name,” she added.
Meri Nimmo is enjoying a straight to digital release on Eros Now. The Rahul Shankalya directorial, which revolves around an eight-year-old boy who thinks he is in love with a 24-year-old girl, premiered on April 27.
“Netflix and Eros Now...all these digital platforms are just entering the Indian market. When we started doing the film years ago, we thought it would get released in theatres and it (the big screen) has its own charm, for sure; but at the same time, there is this niche audience that is growing day by day, thanks to all these online platforms. So, it’s still great,” she said.
She describes the film as a “very innocent love story of this eight-year-old guy”.
“There is nothing controversial in it. It reminds you about your childhood sweetheart,” Anjali said about the film that had earned wide praise at the 47th International Film Festival of India and the 19th MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.
“My journey (in showbiz) starts from film fests. Delhi in a Day, With You Without You were my films which went to major film festivals. It’s important because most of the people in the world in the festival circuit know me and my work.
“It’s a different audience. It’s not the mass audience. Festivals are the platforms where very specific work happens. Where directors, actors and artiste strive for their individual expression. They are not catering to box office success and the money involved in it. So, I really feel honoured and blessed to be a part of that circuit,” said Anjali.
“I am working on my own script. I will be travelling for the next six months for location recce of my film. It’s a film with real people. I will be shooting in different parts of India for nine months,” she said.
On life without acting, she said: “I never really planned to become an actor. Acting was just an opportunity to know the film medium more and work on my craft more. If I wasn’t an actor, I would probably be a director which I am now — or a chef.
“I would like to have my own cafe. I want to specialise in different kinds of brunches,” she signed off. — IANS
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