Having been born to a famous Indian actress of the 80s, Rati Agnihotri, this South Mumbai boy has movies and stardom in his DNA. Tanuj made his much talked about debut in the film One Night Stand, in which he stars opposite Sunny Leone, as the playboy Urvil, who becomes obsessed with the woman he is having an affair with. Tanuj is set to take on Bollywood with a bang, and he is one who takes life on with immense passion and, more importantly, a sense of humour.
Tell us something about yourself and what you do.
I’m a film actor who has been active in the Hindi film industry since 2013. My mother, Rati Agnihotri, has been a prominent actress since the 1980s. I have done three films so far: Luv u Soniyo, produced by Viacom; Purani Jeans, produced by Eros International; and my debut film One Night Stand. I also have a short film banner ‘Pin Drop Violence Films’ where I make a lot of fictional content for the web.
How would you describe your career so far?
The journey so far has been exceptional. There is so much to learn about the industry as well as oneself, on a daily basis. It is a hard business and it humbles you, keeps you grounded at every juncture, as fortunes fluctuate with each passing Friday. So it’s best to neither take success to your head or failure to your heart. There are times when one’s films don’t do well or you get negative reviews. And, yes it hurts a lot, as you put in a lot of heart and time into each project. But over a period of time that rejection has made my resolve even stronger. It reaffirms the faith I have placed in myself of why I want to be an actor for the rest of my life.
What’s been most exciting about it all?
Well, there have been plenty of highlights so far. The day I signed my first film and got a signing amount was a pretty big moment for me. The day Sunil Lulla from Eros signed me on for three films, shook my hand and said ‘welcome to the family’ was a day I won’t forget either. The first time I saw my trailer in the theatre, was also super special. The first hoarding I saw, and the first time I was on the front page of Bombay Times were also huge moments. So, yes there have been plenty of memorable moments thus far, and God willing there shall be a whole lot more to come.
What’s your take on fashion and style?
I’m not very big on following trends. I wear whatever I feel I look and feel best in. It’s important that your fashion sense is an extension of who you are as a person, instead of aping someone else. Just being comfortable in one’s own skin is a lot sexier, I feel. This could mean perhaps just a simple pair of jeans and a white tee routine, or else something more adventurous. It is also important that your fashion sense reflects the place and surroundings you are in. I often see people over dressed for a movie, and it makes me wonder if they’ve come to watch a film or walk the ramp. Oh well, different strokes for different folks, I guess.
What are some of your other hobbies and interests?
It goes without saying that I’m a huge film buff – not just Indian or English films, but world cinema too. There are so many little gems being made all around the world that most people are not even aware of. It is important to watch these films, see how different societies function, and how many diverse worlds there are out there. All of this broadens one’s horizons.
I’m also an avid comic book collector. I have a statue collection of over 300 pieces that I have been carefully collecting for the past 10 years. I love watching and playing cricket as well. I also write, mainly fiction, and for the short films that I make. And lastly, I am a huge dog lover.
Is Bollywood a fun place to be in, or is it a lot of hard work and dirty business that no one likes to talk about?
It’s a lovely place to be in. But at the same time it can be pretty cruel and hard; it all comes down to the kind of individual you are. If you want to be in this business for the long haul, then you have to be prepared for anything and everything that comes your way. It may all appear very glamorous and ethereal from the outside, but I can assure you that every actor out there, every director, all work extremely hard in order to sell these beautiful dreams to the audience.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently shooting for an international series that Excel Entertainment is producing in association with Amazon Prime. I’m really excited about it since it’s based on cricket and what happens behind all the glamour of the IPL. It should be out early next year. – as told to Suneela