Anu Hasan has been an entrepreneur, talk show host, columnist, painter and author. “My life has never been just about films,” she says. After a break, she recently made her return to Tamil cinema with Valladesam, a film that also starred Nasser with whom she worked in her debut film, Indira (1995). “I have never done as many interviews as I have around the release of this film. It’s crazy. Things have changed so much in these two decades,” she smiles.
Her on-and-off film career can partly be attributed to her reluctance to become an actress, even though her family includes her paternal uncles, Charuhasan and Kamal Haasan, and her cousin, Suhasini. “I was always more focussed on my education. I got myself a Masters in Physics and Management from BITS Pilani,” she points out.
“After Indira, I never did any lead roles. This film has happened after two decades. In the middle, of course, I featured in a few films including Run, Nala Damayanthi, Santhosh Subramaniam and . I accepted them as I have always believed that there is no small role, only small actors,” she says.
Why has she done only a little more than a dozen films across more than 25 years then? “After Indira, I got a few offers, but none that interested me. Indha romance panradhu-laam enaku varaadhu. I wanted to do unconventional roles, like the ones I am getting now. Producers would hear my reason and promise to get back. I guess they are still thinking about it,” she laughs.
Anu also gets bored easily. “That’s why you never see me doing one thing for too long. I took a break when I realised I wasn’t getting good roles. I did serials. Then, talk shows. I started writing, and launched my first book, Sunny Side Up. I am now working on my next.”
Curiously, for the longest time, Anu didn’t even realise she was the lead in Valladesam. “I realised it only after I caught its red carpet screening in the UK,” she says. The film may not really have been appreciated a lot, but Anu expresses satisfaction with playing the role offered to her.
Her stint as a talk show host perhaps made her more popular than cinema. Any plans to follow up with a similar programme? “I was in the UK for some time, and relocated to Chennai only last month. I am getting film offers, and am also discussing some TV projects. I want to do something that isn’t what you generally see. I still remember all the appreciation I got for Koffee with Anu.”
Any plans to write scripts? She bursts into laughter. “Every time I have approached producers, they usually go, “Ungalukku romba modern thinking ma. Idhellam seriya varaadhu!”
When asked about Bigg Boss, a show that’s hosted by Kamal Haasan, she says, “I am not a fan of the concept as I think it psychologically damages the participants. I also dislike the voyeuristic nature of the show—but, I guess, it’s appealing to a lot of people for various reasons.” She goes on to add, “I love how he anchors the show with his usual kusumbu though.”