With life as her teacher, Anupriya masters the act
Anupriya Goenka is not a trained actor and has used life experiences to portray characters on screen. She has worked in films ‘Dhishoom’, ‘Padmaavat’, ‘Tiger Zinda...
Anupriya Goenka is not a trained actor and has used life experiences to portray characters on screen. She has worked in films ‘Dhishoom’, ‘Padmaavat’, ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ and ‘War’ and OTT series ‘Abhay’, ‘Criminal Justice’ and ‘Sacred Games’.
During a visit to HT House, Lucknow, she said, “My major learning has come from life. I started working very early, have had to deal with problems. Emotionally too, I have seen turmoil in personal life — with me, parents and others around me. I have worked in the corporate world and business world too, so I got to see various aspects of life.” The actor was here en route to Ayodhya where she will be shooting for a series by Prakash Jha.
“When I was working for my father, I had to deal a lot with the legal system. That helped me play an advocate in ‘Criminal Justice’. In ‘Sacred Games’, when I played Saif’s (Ali Khan) wife, Megha, I have had a personal relationship like that so I could relate to it. In ‘Padmaavat’, Sanjay (Leela Bhansali) sir was a big support and I am Rajasthani myself and am very comfortable in the period space. So, with my roles, I am able to grasp and mix perception and personal experience and try to portray it on screen. And, above all, I leave it to the director.”
Giving another example, she said, “With each role, I try to explore something different as a performer and with it I try to explore myself. My reason to become an actor was to explore things which don’t come out generally. Like, in ‘Padmaavat’ it was a little bit of a negative character and in which I got to explore the jealousy and insecure part of me. In the series ‘Abhay’, I got a negative character and I jumped at it, for I believe, the negative character is a great space.”
She has been part of films that have set the box-office cash registers ringing. “I feel lucky that people have faith in me that I can carry out roles, and I feel blessed that I been given responsible roles that I just try to perform to the best of my ability.
“It’s a conscious decision to try new things. Like, in ‘War’ I got to play an agent. For me that look, body language and everything was different. I got the opportunity to showcase that I can do this role and then it was a Hrithik (Roshan) and Tiger (Shroff) film who are best action heroes that we have today.”
Having worked with big banners, she said that is not her only criteria to select a role. “I have refused roles to big banners too. There is no point doing roles without meaning. For me it’s about the package — which includes team, director, actors, banner and a role where I can show my presence. Yash Raj Films have given me my major breaks so I will surely not think twice working with them. For Sanjay sir, who has shown so much trust in me, if he calls me just to stand then too I will do it.”
On her UP connection she said, “We lived in Vishnu Puri, Kanpur and did my schooling from Woodbind Gardenia School in Kalyanpur, Kanpur. I remember having a big bungalow but we shifted to Delhi when I was 7. My father had a business (garment export house) which was in bad shape when I grew up. I had to shut it down and then I worked in a call centre and corporate world. Then I shifted to Mumbai.”
So, how did acting happen? “I took a three-month break from my corporate job to do theatre. I had no acting experience and had just done an acting workshop in school which fascinated me. Then, with theatre, advertisements started happening, then Telegu movies and the journey began,” she said.
More than luck, she feels, she is blessed to get big projects in the last 4-5 years. “There has been a lot of struggle on the personal and professional front too. Yes, I am blessed that I got the opportunity to work with some amazing persons. I feel lucky that I have entered the industry when content is very important. We have multiple platforms, getting roles and good money too. Earlier, it was just TV and films.” Anupriya fascinated with Amrita Pritam and Meena Kumari and wishes to do their biopic if they are ever made.
She did not shed light on her new series being shot in Ayodhya. “I can just say that it is based on an ashram and is a psychological political-thriller where I am playing the role of a doctor.”