CHENNAI: Remember the dusky beauty Anu Aggarwal who played the role of Chandralekha in Mani Ratnam’s Thiruda Thiruda? She became an icon for such bold roles at a time when woman power was a hushed topic. So, curious to know what our very own ‘Chandralekha’ or the famous Aashique girl is up to? She is back with an autobiography which talks about her journey of self-discovery — a memoire of her unusual journey through her book, Anusual: Memoir of a Girl Who Came Back from the Dead. Title of the book seems apt especially considering she was nowhere to be found after 1994. Excerpts with the artist who was in the city to launch her autobiography...
Was it tough to handle success and media glare at a very young age?
Success and achievement did not bother me. I was facing a lot of personal problems at that point. I felt taking a break was best, but who would have imagined the events that unfolded later!
Well, the ‘dead’ part is not answered yet, isn’t it?
A fatal car crash in 1999 left me with broken bones, damaged brain, a skull fracture and a paralysed body. I was in a coma for 29 days and since then I had to start afresh and learn everything from scratch. That night was my first step in transformation. From the toppling of the car to being alive — which still is a miracle, from being in coma to recovering and learning again, it has been an experience. I didn’t even know what family was and lived in a lala land. To think about that state now, being oblivious of what was happening around me seems like a cool state to be in!
A memoir about your personal life, why?
It was way back in 2013, something kept pushing me to write one. It took me almost two years to complete the book. I kept ridiculing myself for writing something that was so personal. The thought that it will become public scared me. That’s when I took a call. Either I write without inhibitions or I scrap the idea, I decided to do the former and here I am. I have always had the habit of writing a diary and I had to take bits and pieces from it before the accident. I picked the most important learnings of the day and penned them. An excerpt from the book talks about how the doctor assured my mother that I had only a ruptured bladder and that I can have babies. But at that time, my mother’s only concern is to see me bubbly and alive again.
How supportive has your family been over these difficult years?
Saying I am blessed is such an underrated word. It’s more than that. I had a silver plate implanted and was in a dead vegetable condition. Even before the accident, most of what I did wasn’t conventional. My family stood with me through it all. There are many intimate details of the sensual and sexual experiences, men in my life and even astral travel. I am glad to have experienced everything. Writing has been a therapeutic process in my healing. My journey is wilder than a Bollywood or Hollywood blockbuster. Having done a course in Berklin on peace and happiness, I am a self-confessed sanyasini in modern clothes! I teach AnuFun Yoga, a module I developed for healing children who are from low-income families. I am a firm believer of living in the present and my goal is to spread positivity and to help in giving others a better life. Everyone deserves a little more in their life. Overcoming human limitations and breaking barriers is what I want to achieve.
A second innings in movies?
Why not! My life is always full of surprises. Acting, or may be even direction!