In a freewheeling interview, the two young debutantes talk about their launch film, co-star Tiger Shroff and expectations from the audience.
Seems just like yesterday that ‘new kids on the block’ — Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt and Sidharth Malhotra were launched by Karan Johar in his 2012 film, Student of the Year. Now, seven years down the line, a ‘new batch’ comprising Tiger Shroff, Tara Sutaria and Ananya Pandey find themselves in the second installment of the Karan Johar franchise, helmed by Punit Malhotra.
Although one is a ‘star kid’ and the other is not, Tara and Ananya bowl one over with their sheer confidence sans any attitude. No wonder then that both of them are likely to pass with flying colors from the second batch of Student of the Year. In a freewheeling interview, the two young debutantes talk about their launch film, co-star Tiger Shroff and expectations from the audience.
Almost every month, a new girl makes her debut on the big screen. However, yours is not just a regular debut, but a major launch in a Karan Johar film. That must be giving you a high, isn't it?
Tara: I honestly couldn’t be more excited or grateful to the entire Dharma family for making this happen. Karan has been so warm and welcoming that I feel this to be a second home now. We filmed for a year after starting in April last. It has been a phenomenal year and to be honest, Student of the Year 2 is the greatest debut and launch that one could ask for.
Ananya: I always wanted to be in front of the camera, and do a film which I personally would have liked to watch on screen. Of course, being a Dharma film, this is indeed a big deal. I recall seeing Student of the Year when I was just 14-years-old. The special screening was so jam-packed, I had to beg for a seat! Then I saw Alia on screen and decided to do something like her one day. Thankfully it is now happening with me.
Tara, you have been quite popular on television, especially with kids. As for you Ananya, this is your first time in front of the camera. What sort of transformation did you have to go through?
Tara: Transformation is inevitable. I was a teenager when I did television (The Suit Life of Karan and Kabir, Oye Jassie) and it has been a natural progression into a young woman. It hasn’t really been a drastic change per se since I can’t see myself in a different way (smiles). I am still the same reserved and sometimes socially awkward person. But while my life choices are the same, I am trying to be a little more ‘Bollywood’ in my outlook.
Ananya: For me, the whole transformation was to open up when the camera rolled. In my early days, I was a very shy person. My director Punit (Malhotra) had many discussions with me in his office where he wanted me to scream, yell, abuse and let go of any inhibitions that I had. This helped me a lot in acting. So by the time I started shooting for the film, I wasn’t shy. In fact, I believe that I have so much to show the audience and luckily, a lot of that got incorporated in the film.
Your launch is opposite Tiger Shroff who is on a career high, courtesy his largely good run so far and his last blockbuster in the form of Baaghi 2.
Tara: I feel very fortunate that my first film and Bollywood journey has begun with someone like Tiger. I can definitely call him a BFF now (laughs). We are extremely similar and hit it off right from the beginning. It is great to share screen space with him, and dance alongside. We have shot many segments together and he never made me feel that he is a big star.
Ananya: I have always loved dancing and have learnt Kathak too. However, dancing with Tiger is an entirely different ballgame (laughs). I had to really up my game as I couldn’t afford to be mediocre. Tiger practices for so many hours a day, so I had to put in double the effort to match up to him. I had to dance well and also get the expressions right. Fortunately, the film’s music is catchy and I had loads of fun.
The promo of the film has come in for criticism from some quarters, especially from those who are wondering where such colleges, students and dresses exist. The film has also become a hot favourite for memes and trolls who are having a field day
Tara: I do see what people are trying to say but the vision that we had while making the film is completely different. We are not trying to portray something which is serious. Student of the Year 2 is not a realistic film. Of course, nowhere in India can you see students wear the kind of clothes that we are wearing and it is impossible to find a guy like Tiger in the crowd (smiles). As for memes, I can understand them. I want to tell the trolls that they can keep them coming, they are only giving us loads of laughs!
Ananya: I truly love these memes and find them really funny. As a matter of fact, I am actually sharing these on my social media platform and personally too with friends. It is important to laugh at yourself, this is something that I have learnt from my dad (Chunkey Pandey). Of course, I agree that colleges like these with hot girls and guys do not exist. Even my own college and school were not like this! But we were not making a documentary. People want to watch films which are larger than life. They just want to come and have fun.
Do you feel the pressure to deliver a huge commercial success at the box-office, especially since Student of the Year was a hit and launched three careers?
Tara: It’s our first film so I don’t know how to deal with that kind of pressure or think about numbers. We believe in our product and this is the best with which we could have taken the franchise forward. We are lucky to have someone like Tiger as the leading hero as he can bring the masses to cinema. Children love him, and as you know, when children love you, then there are four more family tickets that are sold!
Ananya: I won’t deny that there is a lot of pressure, but Karan, Punit and Tiger haven’t allowed that to trickle on to us. This is the first time that I am promoting a film and doing so many other things that happen before a film’s release. Honestly, I don’t even have time to think of anything else. We have made this film with so much love and affection, and were pushed into giving our best, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed, and hoping this one works!