I put on weight for the show, and people around me say, ‘Oh, you have put on weight!’ I respond, ‘Thanks, I am getting paid for it’. -Anjali Dinesh Anand (Dhai Kilo Prem )
Anjali Dinesh Anand, an actress, can be without a doubt called Sunny Side Up for her zappy spirits. Currently a lead on the show on Star Plus ‘Dhai Kilo Prem’, Anjali is a lighthearted human inspiring many woman. Catch her candid with The Complete Woman, all giggles and charming.
Let us begin with a personal question since that’s what’s most important. What is that one childhood memory you still cling two?
Well, there’s one happy one and one sad. The sad one is when I lost my father. That obviously is unforgettable. The other one is more embarrassing than happy. This was my first dance performance at when I was very tiny in a jacket and boots. I remember people laughing at me and so I never forgot. (She hee-haw’s while she re-visits her memory).
Yes, it was always a dream to be an actress. I did, of course, feel scared to share this dream with people, but I knew that I wanted to act, perform, be in front of the camera, in front of people and entertain. Like I mentioned that my first memory as a child was when I felt laughed at. I knew then that I had to change that from that moment on and be better at that and give my 100%. So I started dancing, later acting and the rest is what you see me now. (she winks)
You are the main lead on one of the famous shows on Star Plus. While we live in a world where size zero and plus sizes are made to feel less important, how did this offer come your way?
I was offered similar shows and offers. But people do not take plus size very seriously. They assume it is just someone to make fun of someone on a show, a movie or in an advertisement. They don’t think that fat girls are pretty or good actors for that matter. I think it is very difficult to get jobs that I have been doing for so long. I have found people with the similar mindset as me. It is very difficult to find people who are certain that plus size girls can also look nice or be an ideal ‘Bahu’ or be an ideal girl to represent a brand or show. Having said that I might add that I got lucky!
You were recently spotted walking the ramp at Lakme Fashion Week that covered the theme ‘Plus Sizes’. How did that make you feel?
This is the second time that I walked Lakme Fashion Week and it felt pretty amazing. It is my ultimate dream to see a plus size girl be a model and represent from the smallest to the largest of brands. Not only plus size brands. And it is only fair because she is beautiful, has something in her, she has the star power to pull people towards her which is the whole agenda of an advertisement. People might like to look at different people. This is a very nice initiative taken by Lakme and I wish they continue with this trend.
Do you feel judged or embarrassed considering most healthy women are made to feel like that by our society?
Of course, I feel judged and embarrassed every day. But I have never lived my like the fat girl who is sad, less confident and less liked. I have always lived my life with confidence because I am sorted. What people should know is that everyone is made for everything, and they should see that difference and act accordingly. There will always be people who will come your way but it just becomes more difficult when your fat. I put on weight for the show, and I see people around saying, ‘Oh, you have put on weight!’ I respond, ‘Thanks, I am getting paid for it’. It is weird that the first thing people observe is your body. They should focus more on the bright smiles, their thoughts and what they are doing in life!
What are the pros and cons of being a television celebrity?
I don’t think I am a television celebrity, but there are pros and cons. Cons are of course a little less privacy and being looked at wherever we go. But it has not been so hard for me at this point. Pros are definitely more because I receive these lovely messages from people on social media and how they are inspired by me. Even though the show is ending after a good six months, I am happy I could help people feel good about themselves.
Who are you closest to in life and why?
I think I am the closest to myself, I feel no one understands me more than myself. I like to keep my emotions to myself. Most definitely it is my family. It is also my best friend Utkarsh. She understands me very since school. We have a beautiful relationship.
Hmmm… What are the fun things about me? Well, I don’t think a lot of people know that I am a huge Harry Potter fan and also the biggest Shah Rukh Khan fan that you will ever meet. I am also very filmy and do great mimicry. I am never going to do it in front of the media by the way! Lastly that I only eat non-vegetarian food. Only five times in my lifetime have I eaten vegetarian and otherwise, I don’t touch vegetarian food.
What was life like while growing up? Were there struggles to reach where you are today?
I think everyone has to struggle, mine has not been that bad. Personally, it was bad when I lost my father at a fragile age. Things changed after that. Such incidents and struggles shape the person you are. And I became this independent person living on my terms. And I like that. Professionally, I did have to struggle a lot because of the weight because no one takes you seriously as an actor. I am working hard every day to reach where I want to reach for the strong love I have for what I am doing. I am running to my dreams and I will reach my deserving place some day.(Cuteness overloaded, she giggles when she realises that she is talking too fast.)
Don’t let anyone tell you what to do and what not. NOT even your friends and family. They are meant to be in your life to make you feel better. Do what you want to do because, in the end, it is going to be just you. Don’t give the key to your life or heart to anyone. Love yourself the most.
Also, do not let people’s judgements about your appearance define you. People should remain as friends and not as coaches and dieticians. You know what you are more than anyone. Be happy run towards your dreams in full speed. Never let anyone dull your spark.
For the spark of lightning that she has expressed through this interview, her success story is sure to leave many inspired. Thank you Anjali, for people who think like you are few, but your interview might change the way the world looks at many!
Interview by , Hemali Adhiya