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Tejas actress Anshul Chauhan: ‘I definitely think that I am different from everyone else’

Anshul plays an Indian Air Force pilot in Sarvesh Mewara’s Tejas, starring Kangana Ranaut in the title role

Sameer Salunkhe Calcutta Published 01.11.23, 04:04 PM
Anshul Chauhan in Tejas.

Anshul Chauhan in Tejas.

After playing an IAF pilot in Sarvesh Mewara’s Tejas starring Kangana Ranaut, Anshul Chauhan is looking forward to the release of Animal, where she will be seen as Ranbir Kapoor’s younger sister, and Chakda Xpress where she plays a sportsperson. The actress talks about how she prepared for her role in Tejas, working with Kangana and her career aspirations.

Firstly, what did it feel like to wear the Indian Air Force uniform in Tejas?


Anshul Chauhan: It’s a very special and proud feeling. If I were not an actor, I would not have been able to experience that.

How did you prepare for your role in Tejas?

Anshul Chauhan: I play Aafia Ali who is a squadron leader. I am three years junior to Tejas Gill, played by Kangana Ranaut. I go on a mission with her. We have our two separate jets on the mission.

To prepare for the role, I watched many documentaries and footage of how to fly a fighter jet. You can’t have a real-life experience of that because it’s very difficult; you have to shoot missiles and all. We also had retired IAF officer Abhijit Gokhale with us who taught us the mannerisms and behaviour because we couldn’t go wrong with that. Abhijit sir used to be with us before the shoot as well as during the shoot.

What was it like to shoot the slow-motion shots of you going on a mission wearing aviator glasses?

Anshul Chauhan: It was a seeti-maar moment. It is an actor’s dream to have their slo-mo shots. I realised it while shooting only because there were only two of us in the shot, Kangana and I. I got a solo slo-mo shot as well. When I saw it on screen, I had my mouth open. It felt very heroic. That’s a dream come true.

You have plenty of scenes with Kangana Ranaut. What was it like working with her?

Anshul Chauhan: I had a very good experience working with Kangana. As an actor, I learnt a lot from her. She is one of the most celebrated and talented actresses we have. I was really looking forward to working with her. If my character has turned out to be better, it is because of Kangana. She played her character so strongly that it helped me improve my performance.

Did it ever get intimidating to work with Kangana and that too while playing a character in uniform?

Anshul Chauhan: No, I didn’t feel intimidated as such. But there was an initial hiccup because due to Covid, we didn’t have any workshops or interactions. We were directly called for the shoot. So, I had not interacted with Kangana. There was nervousness for sure because you don’t know the person but in the film you have to act as if you’re very close to her. After the first day of acting with Kangana, it became easier.

You made an impressive debut in Shubh Mangal Saavdhan. How did that film change things for you?

Anshul Chauhan: Actually, nothing major changed for me. I didn’t get work because of that role. Whatever I got after that film were the roles of the heroine’s friend, which I did not want to do. It’s been a slow and steady progress for me. That thing ‘one project changed my life’ has not happened yet. I’m getting better auditions, sure.

But you have done decent work on OTT. How has that helped in your career?

Anshul Chauhan: When you asked me this, I just realised that I’ve also done these shows. Whichever part I have got to play so far has been through auditioning. After playing a character, your confidence as an actor definitely gets boosted. On OTT, I get to play primary and lead characters which I don’t get to play in films.

I have so much more to offer and I am hungry for more. I did whichever project came my way and resonated with. But I still have that hunger – ‘andar bahut strong feeling hai.’

So, how do you keep striving in such a situation?

Anshul Chauhan: I don’t do anything special. In such an uncertain life in Mumbai, the most certain thing that I have is my husband and my family. My husband is always there for me even if professionally things are not stable. My family believes in me. That’s what keeps me grounded and I am happy in my life. As far as my career is concerned, I can only do my work to the best of my ability. Other things are not in my control.

But you have some promising upcoming projects like Animal, Chakda Xpress, and a series called Pill. What kind of expectations do you have from these releases?

Anshul Chauhan: I had to wait eight years for these releases to happen. I will come to know what will happen in my career once these projects come out. The characters that I play in these projects are very different from each other and are substantial parts.

In Animal, I play Ranbir’s younger sister and it’s a huge film. Being part of such a huge film will play an important role in my career because it will be seen by many people. Being placed among such stalwart actors is an achievement in itself for an actor like me.

In Chakda Xpress, I play a sportsperson. In Tejas, I play an IAF pilot. In Pill, which has not been announced yet, I play one of the main characters. I believe that things will change for me after these projects are released.

Even when I hear my name in people’s reactions to Tejas, I feel nice. That’s what an actor wants, right? I want to do bigger and better things so that the industry people finally acknowledge me. I really love acting. I really enjoy the process of filmmaking. And I know that I am capable of offering a lot more to entertain the audience.

Your Instagram bio reads: ‘An uncommon breed’. Please elaborate.

Anshul Chauhan: Itna sab kuchh bacha hai abhi dikhane ko. But why should I beat my own drum? People don’t know it yet but I know for a fact that I have it in me. I keep on doing different things in life and I enjoy them. The people I work with seem to enjoy it, so I get a sense that you’re doing something right. ‘An uncommon breed’ is not to show it to people. I have written it for myself because I definitely think that I am different from everyone else.

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