The film industry is notorious for its shape-shifting promises of dazzling fame and cringe reality shows. Navigating her way through this world of smoke and mirrors is Mumbai-based actor Ananya Sengupta, who started off as a model and then acted in a few unnoticed films. But the end of 2021 promises to be a new beginning. She is placing her bets on two Telugu features —Madrasi Gang’ and a yet-to-be-titled production. Directed by Ajay Andrews, Madrasi Gang, also to be made in Tamil and Hindi, is the story of a bunch of small-time thugs trying to establish their dominance in Mumbai. Sengupta is the gang boss, marking an exciting turn for this young actor who for the first time will move away from the usual glamorous roles. In the untitled film, directed by Kannada director Srinivasa Raju, she will be seen opposite Telugu actor Naveen Chandra.
Elated about her upcoming projects, Sengupta reflects on her journey that began with a horror film, Final Exit (2017), opposite Kunal Roy Kapoor. It was a supernatural thriller. “I will be very honest with you. Being a newcomer, I didn’t have too many options. Had I a choice, I would never have started my career as a horror film actress. For a debut film, I would’ve preferred light-hearted comedies, family-oriented films or movies that make you feel good,” she admits. She believes that Final Exit would have fared better on OTT, since it is the kind of experimental film better suited to current watching trends. Her second film Ghost, was a supernatural thriller too, directed by Vikram Bhatt in 2019.
Like all actors who seek fame and fortune in Bollywood, she did dance competitions, elocution and debates in school. In college it was theatre and later modelling. She thought becoming Miss India would hopefully assure her a successful Bollywood debut. “But my height didn’t meet the eligibility criteria. Lost by half an inch!” she rues.
Though there is only uncertainty in store in the industry, Sengupta isn’t complaining. “The beauty of this industry is no one knows what’s in store. Everything seems to depend on the next Friday, and you don’t know which movie might work and who might call you for their next project,” she says. In the end, there is more horror and terror in the box office which is the make or break for new actors than in a supernatural thriller.
“Getting up at 5 am daily for shoots, which went upto 7 pm, was difficult but a fulfilling process. It made me productive as the entire process would be on time.”
“I wonder how actresses like Tapsee Pannu have done similar films (multilingual films), it’s tricky
delivering dialogues in different languages!”