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Her cup of joy

Anu Hasan loves to experiment with life, writes S. AISHWARYA



EBULLIENT Adventurous in nature

Anything new is sure to excite her. First it was the fibreglass basketball court at Pilani, then the female lead role in `Indira' and now the celebrity chat show `Coffee with Anu.' Life, for Anu Hasan, the niece of actor Kamal Hassan, is worth experimenting.

Hook turn

It was this Tiruchi gal's passion for basketball that pushed her hard to secure a seat in BITS, Pilani. Her life took a hook turn after the completion of her Physics-Management degree at BITS when Suhasini Manirathnam offered Anu the lead role in her movie `Indira.'

It was her emotional temperament that helped her carry that role with conviction. "It was a heavy subject for a newcomer. But I was moved by the story line and there were occasions when I was overwhelmed with emotion. Not once did I use glycerine for tearful scenes," recalls Anu.

Off screen exploits

When she was managing her Kolkata-based outsourcing concern, off-screen chances came in the guise of production. It was in `Nala Damayanthi,' a Raj Kamal banner, when she accidentally got involved into production.

She reminisces: "Initially, I was just an actor in the movie. When the movie was shot in Australia, the production team planned to hire a helicopter for 3000 Australian dollars. It sounded hell of a lot of money for me."

It was then she decided to get into the production front. The Australian yellow pages came in handy for her to hire a helicopter at a nominal rate. Subsequent postproduction responsibilities were showered on her, in which she managed to cut down the costs to barest minimum.

"It was a great experience. Women basically are poignant but efficient financial managers," she says. For this self-driven businesswoman, her new company `Sqaush'd,' is on the top of her agenda. A juices and smoothies company, Squash'd dons Anu's philosophy — `It's fun to be healthy.'

The chain of parlours emulates yet another healthy concept — the employees are women from economically deprived families.

"When I employ a woman, I look for attitude and not aptitude," Anu clarifies and continues: "I'm a very informal person and I go by instincts. And the nicest thing is they always stick with me," she says. For Anu, working with women is "fantastic." They are responsible and too sensitive to slip up, she feels.

Like her passion for experiments, Anu always carries the `I'm-feeling-adventurous' mood wherever she goes. A scuba diver and bungee jumper, she now looks for opportunity to try out other adventure sports, which she has missed out so far.

"I love crazy things. I've been independent from my childhood and have been groomed as such. I believe in hard work and sincerity. We have to make our own plans and execute. There is no third party involved in one's success," she says.

Her recent venture into television as an anchor for a celebrity chat show was again accidental. Earlier hosted by `Mirchi' Suchitra, the talk show had Suhasini and Anu as guest for an episode.

"A week later, they called me to host the show with the brand new name `Coffee with Anu.' My good old try-it-out instinct pushed me into the limelight," she laughs.

The talk show brings in two celebrities from the same field and their associates to share their life experiences. "I feel I'm very lucky because I can meet all legends and maestros of various fields under one roof." In her inimitable style of welcoming guests, Anu makes it a point to highlight interesting instances in a celebrity's life. The TRP ratings for this show have shot up since Anu took over, for her sheer sense of humour and instant wit.

"It's a feel-good programme. I'm not here to embarrass people with controversial questions. We bring in a personality to talk about him/her as a person."

Anchoring such a celebrity talk show is never a cakewalk, she admits. There were times, for her, when the guests were too self-conscious to get into the snug feeling.

"An anchor should pick-up the non-verbal messages fast. When I find the vibes of the guests aren't too amiable, then I make them comfortable by sending non-verbal messages telling them I'm just a playful puppy who is going to make them look beautiful," she laughs.

A jazz singer too, Anu is all set to launch a new venture — a musical theatre at Chennai. "Let me see how the experiment comes through," she parts.

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