Turning Points - Anisha Ambrose

After doing 9 to 5 jobs at corporate biggies like ICICI Bank and Dell, it was fate that led her to filmdom. Anisha Ambrose has seven films (five Telugu and two Kannada) to her name, with another two set to release soon. We chatted with this bubbly woman to find out more.  

First things first – tell us about your new films.
I am currently working on two films in the Telugu film industry. One of them is Fashion Designer s/o Ladies Tailor. It’s a sequel to the old film, Ladies Tailor, which was made by the same director, Vamsi garu. The second film is a biopic that I’m doing with Manoj in which I play the role of a journalist. The movie runs in two timelines; one is when LTTE Prabhakaran was alive, and the other is the present day. The latter film sees me play a very different role, but I’m looking forward to both equally.

How do the roles differ?
In Fashion Designer I play a more glamorous role whereas in the biopic it’s a very serious character, so it’s quite a contrast. I’m looking forward to both.

What was it like to do a biopic?
When I heard the script I was very driven by the passion my director had for this film; it’s something that he has perceieved, written, and now directed. The passion and zeal that he has for this film intrigued me. When someone has that kind of trust in their story, they’ll make sure to bring out the best in you as an actor. There are very few directors who will go for multiple takes just to ensure that he’s got the best out of the actor. And of course I absolutely love to work with such directors, and I’ve been lucky so far to work with some fabulous ones.

I want to do different characters all the time. And for this role, too, I had to do a lot of research so as to be ableto relate to the emotions of a reporter.

Both films and journalism represent unique ways to reach and connect with people. What are your thoughts on this?
I totally agree and that’s one thing I’m very conscious about when picking a role. Nowadays I feel that actors are responsible for a lot of behaviourial patterns, especially with youth, because you can instantly become a youth icon or an idol. So you tend to have a lot of responsibility on you. When films like Rang De Basanti and Lagaan released, people were charged to go do something for change.
So I’m hoping this is one such film that can motivate the audience, especially young people, in the right way.

Which of your films have been the most memorable?
I’ve done five films in the Telugu industry and two in the Kannada industry.

The one I did in Kannada, called Karvah, was the most memorable, because it was a character with a split personality. So once I was playing a good girl and at another point I was playing a villain. Then too I was working with a highly talented director who didn’t settle for my best; he wanted me to better my best. Also, I got my first nomination for the Best Actress at IIFA for this film.

Would you call that the turning point in your career?
No, I feel that there will never be a single turning point. If you’are always looking at that, you will never be able to enjoy what you’re currently doing. Every movie gives you the opportunity to better yourself and improvise, so I’m not looking for that one turning point. I do every film as if it’s my last, and put in the same amount of effort for all. So whether it does well or not, I’ll be happy with myself knowing that I gave it my best.

Was acting always on the cards for you?
It never was, actually. I finished my MBA in finance and I was working for Dell and ICICI Bank, but neither struck me as interesting. There was something about the 9 to 5 world that didn’t suit me well. Then I started looking for alternatives and looking around for other options, and that’s when I got this offer for a film. And then there was no looking back.

So how did the opportunity come up?
I had put up some pictures of myself on Facebook. The makers of my debut film came across these and messaged me, asking if I’d like to audition. I wasn’t sure if my family would agree, but when I mentioned it to my dad, he was fortunately encouraging. He asked me to give it a shot and not worry about whether or not I got through.

Once I got through the audition, the task was to get everyone’s approval within my family, because a career like this is not exactly apt for a girl in today’s society. But my dad really pushed me to do it. It was during this time that we realised that not everything and everyone in the industry is bad; there are some really good and professional people, too.

What’s one good thing and one bad thing about the industry?
The one good thing is that you get to meet a lot of nice people from different walks of life. You work with different people for every film, and you don’t get that kind of exposure in every field.
One negative is that nothing is ever on time. For my parents especially, since they come from a disciplined education field, it was quite a shock. This is something we had to get used to.

What are your other interests?
Cooking and watching makeup videos online.

What are your beauty essentials?
Currently it’s a Vitamin C serum. It’s like food for your face. You’re doing so much good to your skin by using it.

What’s your motto in life?
Don’t take everything so seriously, and never take yourself too seriously, either.

You mentioned your love of food too, right?
I’m a total foodie! While working for Fashion Designer, my co-star and director happened to be foodies too. So during the shooting for the film in the outskirts, amidst small villages, we had a different type of food being made for every meal.

What is your favourite cuisine?
I love Indian food. I can’t stay away from it. I just cannot diet and eat grilled chicken all day.      --- as told to Niharika