AnUsual: Anu Aggarwal’s gutsy story of ‘to the hell’ and back

Model-turned-actress Anu Aggarwal was every newspaper’s muse, a rage in the film world with her debut in Aashiqui (1990). She became an overnight star. Producers were betting on this dusky beauty, a break from their tradition of chasing fair skin actors. And so Anu had achieved more than a few milestones with one single movie. She was the envy of her contemporaries. Even as she struggled with roles that followed, what changed her life was a near-fatal accident. In 1999, she went into coma for nearly a month. While she took a few years to come out of, Anu took up yoga passionately to bring balance and peace to her life. Anu has now put the story of her life in a book titled AnUsual.

Varun Vazir caught up with her for an exclusive conversation with actor.

Why did you decide to pen down your autobiography now?

Anu: This is a question that has many different answers because I was not even expected to live. The doctors thought that I would live for only three more years after my fatal accident. I had a miraculous healing and I just felt that I should share that with people. I have so much love and I am so grateful to the adulation that I have got from millions of people.

Her time is precious and she keeps it for slum children. Her energies are dedicated to yoga, in a form she has extracted after years of learning with Vipassana, tantra, other yogic styles from Bihar and ashrams in Uttarakhand and Kutch. She wants to give back to life.

How did yoga and spirituality happen to you?

The strange thing in life is when you’re ready for something, it comes to you. That’s how all the things in my life have happened; on their own. I’ve just been an acceptor.

After being part of it, what does spirituality mean to you?

There is a really nice quote, “patience is the biggest austerity” and it’s about coming to terms with yourself and having consideration and love for others.

What did the fatal accident do to your mind, your thinking, your perspectives on life?

It’s just that so many things become clear to you and one of those things is how precious life is and I wanted to talk to everyone about how we can make the best of this life and treat it with respect and love.

The doctors though she was a vegetable case. Her car accident in Mumbai had left her physical invalid and completely battered. “It was suspected I would cop it any second, it was a question of when,” she write in her book

Aashiqui became such a big brand and a franchise…a flashback?

It is just unbelievable how Aashiqui has taken off because when we were shooting Aashiqui, Mahesh Bhatt was an art film director and we never made a commercial film and we never thought it would be a commercial film. It has become iconic and revolutionary and it’s a pleasant surprise.

Do you have any plans of returning to acting?

My life is full of imagery. I haven’t been in Bollywood but acting is a part of my life.

What is your take on the women centric films being made in Bollywood?

It had to come now or later. I did a film called Khal-Naaika (1993) where I played a negative lead role and people told me how you could be playing negative roles. I definitely hope to see advance in this new way of thinking.

Do you the film industry is gender biased?

It’s not fair to talk about film industry as being gender biased because I think being gender biased is something that exists in human beings on a one to one in everyday life.

Do you think the skin colour still plays an important in the film industry?

It’s not just the film industry, I think it is India. It’s like your ads for matrimonial mention terms like fair, clean skin etc and that is wanted by the people around the country.

Are you a strong feminist?

I don’t really know what a strong feminism is. I’ve really been studying this for a long time and trying to find out who is a strong feminist? Is it man haters or somebody who fights for women rights as opposed to human rights? If it’s that, then I am definitely not that one.

What is your mantra in life?

Let go…Live in the present.