Anu Aggarwal, who became a national sensation after the massive success of ‘Aashiqui’, decided to leave all of it behind and live a quiet and peaceful life. However, in the past few years, she has become a sensation on social media ever since she started sharing about her journey and talking about yoga. However, social media comes with its ills as well.
Speaking to Prateek Sur, Anu Aggarwal opens up about why she decided to move away from cinema, how she made a stunning comeback on social media, and why she feels audience validation is important for her. Excerpts from the candid chat:
After doing ‘Aashiqui’ you were the topmost actress then. Then, why did you decide to move away from films?
Acting is my second skin. I did lead roles in plays and theatre, but I had signed up in Paris with a modelling agency for ‘special looks’ and acting in Hindi films, Bollywood was never a part of the plan.
Mahesh Bhatt approached me to which I first said ‘no’ as I was on my way to Paris. But the lead character in ‘Aashiqui’ also called by my name ‘Anu’, was like playing my own real story, like a musician boyfriend, being alone and self-made, modelling in Paris, was simple and silent so I got to express a lot without words, speaking. Frankly in just 3-4 years in Bollywood, had worked with the best directors in Bollywood, South of the time, launched MTV India and became one of the first brand ambassadors to endorse products. Finally, the avant-garde movie release at Cannes Festival and all the young success I had gotten told me I needed to upscale myself, breathe, meditate and live for a bit in silence. So, I turned into a recluse for some time. In interviews, I was honest and spoke as myself freely but that got twisted when printed. So, we could not speak our minds out, as what people read was what the journo wrote about you. A lot of that was not really the truth.
Now, you’re making headways through social media once again. How has social media helped you reach out to your fans once again?
I love social media as it gives you an opportunity to speak your mind, uncensored and not how the selling marketing team of the press portray you. Which we didn’t have in the 90s, so, it is a bonus now. A majority, over 80% of my followers on Instagram are between 22-33 years old. It is fantastic to see the youth relate to me, love me for who I really am as I speak honestly, and not just the 90s ‘Aashiqui’ girl.
With social media, you have regained the love of your audiences and now they support you in your ventures even if you’re not doing films or shows. How important is audience validation for you?
Audience validation is important however I want to point out that I do not use social media for a self-gain agenda. It is not a sales pitch based for promoting me. It is for the betterment of people’s lives, bringing awareness, positive qualities, the joy the readers have, etc. There is too much hate, and stress in the world today, people need to relax, care and support. I think self-love is crucial as a lifestyle. So, I preach that through my fashion, style-icon image and now yoga. I am grateful I have succeeded in that on social media. Honestly speaking, with due respect, I have never been a fan of reality shows and I personally don’t watch them. But if it is something special like recently an ‘Aashiqui’ special episode, I showed up and gave it my best shot like I always do.
What’s coming next for you?
A lot is in consideration since I am opening out to act again, but let’s not talk about the chicken before the eggs hatch.