Anu Aggarwal became an overnight sensation after her debut Bollywood film Aashiqui went on to become a huge hit. The actor did a few more films but then stepped away from the industry. She is now a Yoga Expert and runs her foundation AAF (Anu Aggarwal Foundation). It is a platform to spread inner joy, for which one of the practices is AFY (anufunyoga). Anu talks about her decision to quit films and her growing interest in social media.
“Acting is like my second skin, I did lead roles in plays and theatre, but then I signed up with a modelling agency in Paris for ‘special looks’ and acting in Hindi films, Bollywood was never a part of the plan. Mahesh Bhatt approached me to which I first said ‘no’ as I was on my way to Paris. But the lead character in Aashiqui also called by my name ‘Anu’ was like playing my own real story— having a musician boyfriend, being alone and self-made and silent— so I got to express a lot without speaking much. Frankly, in just 3-4 years in Bollywood, I had worked with the best directors, around the time MTV India was launched and I became one of the first brand ambassadors. Finally, the avant-garde movie released in the Cannes Film Festival and all the young success I had got told me I needed to upscale myself, breathe, meditate and live for a bit in silence. So I turned to a recluse for some time. In interviews, I was honest and spoke as myself freely but that got twisted when printed. So a lot of that was not really the truth,” she says.
Meanwhile, Anu is making headways through social media. It has helped her reach out to her fans once again. “I love social media as it gives you an opportunity to speak your mind, uncensored and not how the selling or marketing team of press portray you, which we didn’t have in the 90s so it is a bonus now. Over 80% of my followers on Instagram are between 22-33 years old. It is fantastic to see the youth relate to me, love me for who I really am as I speak honestly, and not as the 90s Aashiqui girl,” she adds.
Audience validation is important however Anu wants to point out that she does not use social media with a self-gain agenda. “It is not a sales pitch based on promoting myself, it is for the betterment of people’s lives, bringing awareness, and spreading positivity. There is too much hate, and stress in the world today, people need to relax, care and support. I think self-love is crucial as a lifestyle so I preach that through my fashion, style-icon image and now yoga. I am grateful I have succeeded in doing that on social media. Honestly speaking. With due respect, I have never been a fan of reality shows. But if it is something special like recently an Aashiqui special episode where I showed up, and gave it my best shot like I always do then it’s all right,” she says.
About what’s coming up as far as her career is concerned, Anu adds, “A lot is in consideration since I am opening up to act again but let’s not talk about the chicken before the eggs hatch. Follow me on social media and you will be updated.”