New girls in the class - Ananya Pandey and Tara Sutaria gear up for Student of The Year 2
SOTY 2 female leads, Ananya Pandey and Tara Sutaria, on landing their big Dharma break and plans for their careers ahead
Karan Johar’s 2012 directorial Student of the Year launched the careers of Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, and Sidharth Malhotra. Seven years on, a sequel of the popular campus flick, Student of the Year 2, introduces two new female actors to the world — Ananya Pandey and Tara Sutaria. Ananya, who grew up in Mumbai, is the elder daughter of Bollywood actor Chunky Pandey. The 20-year-old debutante says her parents were incredulous about her becoming an actor until they saw her perform at an annual function. “As long as I can remember, I always wanted to be an actor. My parents never believed me. They thought it was a wishful phase that would pass. It was only after they saw me perform that they thought maybe I could give it a try,” she shares.
Ananya lists Aankhen (1993) as her favourite film featuring her dad and O Lal Dupatte Wali as her favourite song. “I also like the funny stuff he does, like the Housefull series. My dad has never given me any direct advice. I have learned more from his behaviour, how he has stayed the same through his ups and downs.”
The newcomer recalls how she was terrified to audition in front of Karan Johar for SOTY 2. “Luckily, he wasn't in the room and later saw a video.” She adds that the Dharma Productions scion — who has a reputation of launching and mentoring several star kids — doesn't interfere in anyone’s process and lets newcomers “do their own thing. I stand by what I said on Koffee with Karan — that I don't deserve to be on the show. There are a lot of people out there who are talented and hardworking. As for me, I’ve tried my best. I auditioned for the part and will also be super hard-working. I want to justify everyone’s faith in me.”
Unlike Tiger and Ananya, newbie Tara Sutaria does not come from a film family. The 23-year-old Mass Media graduate started her career as a child actor on Disney India, appearing in shows like Big Bada Boom, The Suite Life of Karan & Kabir, and Oye Jassie. A trained ballerina, she has worked as a video jockey and also recorded her own music, performing solo concerts worldwide and singing in musical productions and operas. “I've been lucky to be raised in the arts. But this is a completely different world for me. It's been everything one would imagine a Dharma launch to be — surreal, magical. It was also like a holiday since we were shooting in the beautiful locations of Mussoorie,” Tara says.
Both debutantes reiterate that the film is in a light-hearted space and encourage audiences to come in with that mindset. Asked what subject is she studying in SOTY 2, Tara jokes, “That's an interesting question. We are studying… dance, music, and looking at cute boys like Tiger Shroff. And also kabaddi, which is an important part of our curriculum.”
While awaiting the release of her debut film on May 10, Tara has already wrapped up her second commitment, Marjaavan. Directed by Milap Zaveri, the romantic thriller stars Sidharth Malhotra in the lead role. “It is an emotional, violent love story. I am playing a character no young female actor has played in the recent past,” reveals Tara, who is now gearing up for her third film — a Hindi remake of the Telugu hit, RX 100, co-starring Ahan Shetty. “I begin shooting for it this month. I have seen the original and I love it.”
As for Ananya, she will next be seen alongside Kartik Aryan and Bhumi Pednekar in the upcoming remake of Pati Patni Aur Woh (1978). “Producer Juno Chopra saw some rushes of SOTY 2 and decided to cast me in his next. They are quite different films. I shot for three days for Pati Patni. We start again in July," she says.