Hey Folks! Hope you all are doing good. If yes, great, and if no, then hopefully this interview shall pep up your senses. 🙂 In this week’s #BlabWithSandy, we have actress Anisa Butt with us. She kickstarted her acting career with Disney Channel India’s show Ishaan and was later seen playing important roles in films like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Half Girlfriend and others. Let’s wait no further and dive into the blab I had with Anisa:
Sandy: Hey Anisa! How have you been?
Anisa: Hello Sandy! Going great, thanks! 🙂
Sandy: Could you let us know a little bit about your background?
Anisa: My forefathers were from Kashmir. My parents are from East Africa. They had shifted base to London and that’s where I and my brother were born and brought up.
Though we do not have much of connections in India, my ancestors are from Kashmir, so it’s kind of a circle you see. 🙂
Sandy: Great! How did acting become your forte?
Anisa: I was into drama and dance right from my young years. You can say I am a self-taught dancer, as I used to practice by myself in my room and try new steps altogether. I was always a part of my school plays.
I took to drama in my college while I was also fond of sociology and psychology. I pursued Drama Performance in my high level as a degree. Acting is something that I studied to an extent and participating in various shows and plays made me feel comfortable in pursuing it. I was 13 when I decided to become an actress.
Sandy: How did you get your first break?
Anisa: I did plays and was part of one such wedding run play which garnered good response. I collaborated with a dance company and took part in live shows. I also did a show at the Royal Albert Hall with singer Atif Aslam.
Hari Puttar was my first film in Bollywood. I also acted in few short films. I gave my look test for a film called Always Kabhi Kabhi (directed by Roshan Abbas) and was selected in the auditions for the role of Aishwarya (eventually played by Giselli Monteiro).
They flew me down to India and was part of the workshop too! However, politics played its role which eventually took away my role from me. Apart from me, even Aman Uppal was to star in Always Kabhi Kabhi but it was Giselli Monteiro and Ali Fazal who were finally chosen.
Sandy: You were then seen in Disney India’s show Ishaan and a cameo in Jhootha Hi Sahi.
Anisa: Yes! I did Disney India Channel’s Ishaan which was my first well recognized work. It was a weekly show on Disney India. Mine was a very small role in Jhootha Hi Sahi which had me work along with Madhavan. It was shot in the UK and I agreed to be a part of the film.
Sandy: Your major claim to fame was Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, and later followed by Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Half Girlfriend. Few anecdotes on them.
Anisa: (Smiles) I had tested for Kalki Koechlin’s role, but I did not hear back from the makers for some time. The casting director, Nandini Shrikent called me and said that Zoya Akhtar wants to meet me and it was for the role of Kalki’s sister. I wasn’t keen as it was a very small role, but I went ahead to meet Zoya.
She conveyed her interest in picking me for the role and told me to do it. She felt I and Kalki look similar and it would be great to have me onboard playing Kalki’s sister. I felt I can’t say no and finally I got to play that character.
I wish I had more to do in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara but I must admit, Excel Entertainment is a wonderful group. I got to meet Kalki and Abhay Deol and I share good equations with them. I again got to work with Kalki in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and it was lovely!
I debuted as a lead actress opposite Ali Fazal in Baat Ban Gayi. It couldn’t secure itself a big theatrical release, but it was a great experience. It had a new director who was from a television background, new production house was taking on the mantle, thus it seems a risky choice, but I accepted the film.
Half Girlfriend was again an enriching experience. The film did well, and I got good points for my performance in the film.
Sandy: Interesting! You were seen opposite Siddharth Mallya and Shashank Arora in the much talked about Indian sex comedy film Brahman Naman. How was your working experience?
Anisa: A friend of mine had told me about this flick and that the co-producer was in UK. I had to send my acting tape to Kolkata, India where the film’s director Quashiq Mukherjee was based.
Again, I did not hear from them for a long time. They later told me that they wanted an actress who was Indian looking, and I couldn’t fit the criteria in totality.
10 days before the film shooting began, I received a call stating that I was picked for the role of Anita. The character had to wear Indo-Western and upper-class attire and the makers were happy to offer me the role.
I travelled to Bengaluru for the shoot and got to play the lead opposite Siddharth Mallya. It was fun working alongside Siddharth and Shashank Arora. Netflix bankrolled the film and we got to be at the MAMI Film Festival. It was an Indie film and it was a blast on the sets. 🙂
Quick Shot Round:
- Love: It is everything
- Close friends in industry: Honestly, none from the industry. They are all non-industry people
- You are stuck in a lift and can have two people accompanying you. Who would those be? Jim Sarbh and Ranveer Singh. I know Jim quite well but not Ranveer. Will be fun meeting them. Both are eccentric characters, so time would pass real soon with them, ha-ha!
- What makes Anisa angry: When people are late and have no time manners
- A film/ role you wish it came to you: Priyanka Chopra’s role in Dil Dhadakne Do. Any one of the female characters in Dangal and Charlize Theron in Monster
- Directors you would like to work with: So many! Anurag Kashyap makes interesting films, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Shashank Khaitan, Kiran Rao, etc
- You are stuck in an Island for a day and can carry 3 things with you: Music player, pen and paper, and a book to read
- Good thing and bad thing about the industry: Bad is the insecurity as an actor. It’s difficult to start your journey if you know no one. You wouldn’t know much about people and when your next offer comes to you! Good thing would be, hmmm. films nowadays are changing. It’s a good opportunity to grab variety subjects which fulfill your acting
- When idle Anisa Indulges in: I am a big fitness freak. I do write poetry time to time. I am into podcasts, music and love travelling
- Cutest/ Hottest/ Stylish actors in the film industry: Ishan Khatter is cute. I don’t find many people hot in industry Sandy, ha-ha! Let me say Sushant Singh Rajput is hot and Abhay Deol is stylish
- If u were to remake and act in a superhero film, what would it be?: I would love to play the Cat Woman in The Dark Knight. Anne Hathway’s role in The Dark Knight Rises. Batman is my favorite. I recently watched Aqua Man and liked Amber Heard’s role as Mera in the film
- Biggest regret in life: I am that kind of a person who thinks 100 times before doing anything. I am into spiritual belief, thus there is no such thing as a regret for me. I take every step as a lesson
- Mandatory things you carry to the sets: The mandate thing for me is to start the shoot on time. I would just need a vanity or a room, with my scenes given in advance and not to forget, a good cup of coffee, that’s it! 🙂
- If you had a title of your own life, what would it be? Hope
Sandy: What’s in the pipeline for you in the coming months?
Anisa: I acted in a short film called It’s a Girl which is directed by Simmer Bhatia. It has won few awards in the States. It would be releasing soon on the online digital platform.
I am doing an Indie feature film Night Encounters. I have shot for Balaji ALT Entertaiment’s web series called Verdict. It is loosely based on the Nanavati case and will be releasing in the month of March.
Sandy: Are u inclined towards acting in South films?
Anisa: Definitely! I would love to, if the right opportunity comes along my way. My management team conveyed that some exciting stuff in on my way from the South, so I shall see you soon out there, ha-ha!
Sandy: A few words about Hyderabad Local.
Anisa: So, it’s all about you haan? LOL! It was so much fun blabbing with you and is a fun interview. John (actor John Kokken) spoke highly about you. I appreciate all that you do. It is interesting and enjoyable.
Unlike the others, you aren’t into masala but, you are into the bracket which is uber cool. Keep going ahead! 🙂
Editor’s note: This is called Mutual Admiration Society, ha-ha! Jokes apart, would like to firstly thank John Kokken for making me meet Anisa. She is a beautiful actress, who is doing some beautiful work around us. Just a matter of time that we shall be seeing Anisa rise to greater heights in the coming months. Wishing Anisa a beautiful film journey ahead!
Interview by Sandy (Sandeep Rao)