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Interview By: Drishti Pandey

Akanksha puri, the famous face known down south who debuted in Bollywood with ‘Calendar Girls’ and now appeared in the super hit T-series music video “Jahaan Tum Ho”, talks to us about her glamorous journey. Read on…

“I really want people to offer me more than a bikini now”

You’re a model-turned-actress. Tell us about your experience so far?
Experience has been very amazing for me because I started off with aviation and then work happened to me, acting was something I wasn’t prepared but it just happened; then I started doing it and I did like 5 movies down south and one Hindi which is ‘Calendar Girls’ and then 2016 ended amazingly with “Jahaan Tum Ho” becoming like a huge success song. So in totality it’s been a very nice ride for me.

How did you get your first acting offer?
Actually when I use to fly, I did a lot of modeling assignments and I did almost 80 to 90 commercials down south; I have covered almost all the big brands so I was a face of a lot of big brands, that’s how my first production house contacted me for my first Tamil movie. That was the time I was all prepared to switch from flying to acting; then I did three big Malayalam movies and leading one with super star Mammootty sir, after that I got ‘Calendar Girls’ which was my first break in Bollywood.

What was it like working with Madhur Bhandarkar’s film ‘Calendar Girls’?
I couldn’t have asked for a better director for my debut because he is super grounded and he is somebody very comfortable to work with; and it was like a fun experience while we were on sets because he made sure that everyone is very comfortable. Like he can have tea with his spot boy to everyone, he is that grounded. That is something that I’ve learnt from him. It was an amazing experience to work with a national award winner director and doing mu debut with him so it was a great experience over all.

How did you come onboard for the single of T- series, “Jahaan Tum Ho”?

Actually there were a few girls who were shortlisted for this single and then I got a call from the production house T- series, and they fixed my meeting with Ahmed Khan who is the man behind “Jahaan Tum Ho”. So as I met him that same minute I was onboard because they were quite sure they were looking for somebody exactly like me. But I wasn’t sure whether I was onboard or no because they had told me I needed to give my passport and other details so I was quite surprised; I thought I was going for some meeting but that’s when I came to know I’m already onboard and they had already selected me. And within a week we were flying to Turkey. We shot the whole song in Turkey. And when one has Ahmed Khan behind the camera, I don’t think anyone has to think anything after that; he is just amazing. He’s the one who did “Dheere Dheere” with T-series so it was the same team I was working with so I was very excited about this song.

As you said you had an amazing experience working with the team so are you looking forward to work with them in more singles?

Yes I am, because the response I’m getting is great and even the production house is very happy with the response of this song. And I would love to work with them in future if I get the chance again and I don’t think anyone will think twice to work with T-series because it’s one of the best production houses to work with.

Have you signed as other singles?

Not signed as such but after “Jahaan Tum Ho’ response I’ve got many other offers, people will be seeing me in 2017 with lot of work coming.

What other films are you working on?

I’ve recently signed another south movie and I’ll be starting my shoot there; and I have a few offers in Hindi, so I have few of those songs as well.

Any desired genres you would like to work on?

I don’t want to restrict myself from any particular genre. I would love to work in any historical genre and see myself in that particular attire. I really want people to offer me more than a bikini now (laughs). 

You’ve been seen doing bold erotic scenes so do you think you have been stereotyped in any manner?

Not exactly, because in ‘Calendar Girls’  it was a 60 second shot we did in bikini and other shots were in saari and salwar kameez, so my role was such; only for the promotion we did that poster shoot and apart from that 60 seconds which was  “Awesome Mora Mahiya” song. But I want to work for my fans so if they love me like this; I don’t want to restrict myself and I’m open to do any kind of roles but definitely no more golden bikini’s for sure (laughs) I feel I’m jinxed with some golden bikini, may it be with ‘Calendar Girls’ or “Jahaan Tum Ho” I’ve only got golden bikini.

Lastly, how has your learning been so far?

I really feel as an actor I’ve grown from my first movie to now, when it comes to maturity of acting and  as my growth I have seen the bar raising. I am my biggest critic, when I see my movies, my song, if I feel  it’s looking bad I shouldn’t do that, I learn and correct myself; so I really observe myself a lot and I keep improving from my first to second and so on. It’s good at times to laugh at your own mistakes and to learn from it which I do quite often. I always want to keep learning, even with “Jahaan Tum Ho” my experience with Ahmed Khan there were a lot of things like small things that I learnt about the camera, about the poses, postures, because he is very particular about all that and I’m very glad I got to work with him.

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