Pursuing big dreams
A young girl preening and pirouetting in front of the mirror, or trying to imitate her favourite actor or her teachers in school — a common sight that any mother would encounter. While most mothers brush it aside as a rite of growing up, Aanchal Munjal’s mother did not. Instead, she spotted the potential in her daughter — her ability to perfectly imitate the actors — and made a decision that would change her daughter’s destiny. The Haryana-based family shifted to Mumbai so that Aanchal could pursue her acting dreams in earnest. In a voice choked with emotion, Aanchal still recalls the words her mother spoke to her extended family, “I have been a good daughter, sister, wife and daughter-in-law; let me now be a good mother!” Those words proved to be prophetic. Thanks to her mother’s efforts to get Aanchal’s portfolio done along with making the rounds of production houses, Aanchal debuted in the mini screen at age 9. There was no looking back. The child actor made appearances in films like We Are Family and Aara
kshan, acting opposite actors like Amitabh Bachchan, and with Sunny Deol in Ghayal Once Again. She, then, seamlessly made the transition from child actor to heroine through the recently released Tamil film Sei. The pretty actor was in Kochi in connection with some meetings regarding projects in Malayalam, and is hopeful of debuting in Mollywood soon.
Though just 20, she is very clear about her path. “I realised earlier on in life that I would not be able to stick to playing just one role for a long time. I want to experiment and do multiple roles and for that, I needed to be part of the film fraternity, which is why I quit TV six years ago and started focusing on films!” Going back to her Tamil film Sei, in which she acted alongside Nakul, Prakash Raj and Nassar, Aanchal mentions that she received a very warm welcome from Kollywood. “I was not made to feel like a stranger. Tamil was difficult to master. I still cannot speak the language, but can understand everything. I take just two minutes to learn my dialogues now,” she adds with glee.
There was no language barrier because, “Everyone knows English in Chennai,” she reveals. Aanchal played an aspiring filmmaker, Neena, in Sei who has her friends helping her realise her dream when life suddenly takes a U-turn. Neena then realises there are values and morals which are more important than ambition. Talking about her equation with her co-stars, she says Nakul was very cool. “Interacting with Nassar sir made me realise that, the more heights you scale in your career, the more humble you become! Nassar is such a down-to-earth person with absolutely no airs,” she opines.
Language is no barrier for Aanchal who says that her prime concern is connecting with the audience. “Whatever be the script, with a good banner and good artistes, I will not say no. It does not matter if it is in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi or Marathi.” Incidentally, Aanchal is on the verge of signing a Malayalam film, but she would prefer that the makers themselves let the cat out of the bag. She has begun to catch up with recent Malayalam projects like Charlie, Bangalore Days and Take Off. So, which actor is her favourite, “Fahadh Faasil,” she answers, adding, “I really like Dulquer Salmaan and I am eagerly looking forward to working with him.”
The film format aside, most mainstream actors have made the transition to the web series format and here again, Aanchal remarks, “If the script is amazing and if it can grab the attention of the audience, then why not?”
Leaving behind the world of films and moving on to the more serious MeToo movement sweeping the industry, she feels it is high time there was a cleansing happening in the industry. That being said, she is also skeptical about using the movement to victimise someone when a relationship was consensual or to malign someone. Before winding down, she talks of her future plans. “I want to do more and more work and have hundreds of films in my name when I hang up my boots!”