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Anaitha dribbles to her goal

One film, ‘Chak De India,’ changed Anaitha Nair’s life. The bubbly actor talks to SHILPA NAIR ANAND on life after that landmark film



Fresh Face From veejaying to the film world Anaitha Nair is on a roll

Anaitha Nair looks familiar, as she walks in for the interview, sporting a million watt smile. She is easily the girl next door, a very stylish girl next door at that. She was Aliya Bose in ‘Chak De India’, but that is not why she looks familiar, there is something else.

Launch pad

She couldn’t have asked for a better launch pad than ‘Chak De India’, but a hockey player? She talks of her audition for the role, “I have never played a sport, seriously that is. Coach Negi was surprised at the fact too, but he said that I have a swimmer’s shoulders and that I am athletic.” So, that means she is a good actor? “Yeah!!! And I patted on my back after I bagged the role, I was telling myself ‘I am that good an actor’” she says.

Joking apart, Anaitha has been part of projects by Nagesh Kukonoor (‘Aashaayein’) and Shyam Benegal’s ‘Abba ka Kuan.’ Shahrukh Khan for her first project, Nagesh Kukonoor and Shyam Benegal…definitely an impressive CV for a beginner. “It was not a conscious decision at all. In Mumbai it is not like one can pick and choose the roles, you grab whatever you get. Yes, I have been lucky in that sense. But, yes as an actor I would say I am in the Tabu/Konkona Sen mould sensibility wise,” she says. As for films, ‘Aashayein’ and ‘Abba ka Kuan’ are awaiting release; ‘IG’ in Malayalam has already been released. She was in Kochi for some promotional work for the film. Plus she has a Malayali connection too. Her father is a Malayali and mother a Parsi, “that is quite the unique combination,” she laughs.

This is not her first tryst with the Malayalam film industry. She has ‘acted’ in Jayaraj’s ‘By the People’. “Not really acted, but there were songs. The band ‘S – Five’ had sung some songs in the movie and I was part of that band,” says Anaitha. Aha! that is why she looks familiar. Remember that reality show on SS channel where a rock band comprising five youngsters was chosen? Anaitha was one of the five. But those days are of the past. “The band disbanded in 2006, and in January that year I moved to Mumbai from Bangalore and in May that year I landed the role in ‘Chak De India’.” On changing track, from being a musician to an actor, she says “In college I have always been involved in a lot of extra curricular activities, and this was just an extension of all that. I got a second rank in the Bangalore University for mass communication but this is what I want to do.”

“I remember a journalist friend calling me and asking ‘What is this film? Shahrukh and a bunch of ugly girls! This one is going to be a dud’. Anyway once the film was released, we (the cast) were like ‘O! good! We have arrived’!” Anaitha reminisces.

Good experience

The ‘team’ had a rather short schedule with Shahrukh Khan. “But he was fun! Whenever we had any doubts or questions we would go up to him and he was very helpful too.” And John Abraham, with whom she has done ‘Aashayein’, “was good, in the sense that the set as such was sombre and serious, the film is a heavy one therefore really not the place where everyone was being chummy with each other. But it was a good experience.” Even, as far as directors go, she has had the pick. “Nagesh has a clear idea of how a shot should be and therefore he guides one in that direction. And Shyam Benegal Sir, what a phenomenal director!” she says.

In between all this she even acted in the British sitcom Sanjeev Bhaskar’s ‘Mumbai Calling’, “which was an altogether different experience. I was working with a British team and the ethics were so different and quite the education.”

Since she has wrapped up work on ‘IG’ and the Hindi films, what is she doing now? “Finding work in Mumbai itself is work, jokes apart…I am learning to play the piano...” she signs off.

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