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Ananya Panday: We observed the relationship, didnt judge it

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Ananya Panday: We observed the relationship, didnt judge it

Uma Ramasubramanian

What was Ananya Panday's first reaction to the narration of Gehraiyaan? As she recently admitted, she hid in the bathroom for 20 minutes, shocked that Shakun Batra wanted her for the noir relationship drama. The film was in stark contrast to the light-hearted movies she has done so far. Walking in, she knew that playing Tia mdash whose fianceacute, played by Siddhant Chaturvedi, cheats on her with her cousin mdash was not going to be easy. 'I am only 23. So, it's not fair to say that I have been through something like this,' begins the actor. 'This is probably one of the most emotionally fleshed-out characters I have played. It was cathartic to play a role like this because I had to draw a lot from myself. I had to tap into my emotions, and [explore] them in depth. Once you go past the barrier where you wonder what people are thinking, and explore your most vulnerable side, only the best in you comes out.'

Starring Deepika Padukone, Chaturvedi, Panday and Dhairya Karwa, the Amazon Prime Video offering tells the story of two couples who may not be as happy as they seem on the outside. Director Batra trades love mdash an oft-explored emotion in Hindi films mdash to focus squarely on infidelity. As the actors embraced the flawed characters, Panday says there was no question of propagating infidelity. 'The choice we all made was to observe this relationship rather than judge it. Just because the film has the concept of infidelity, it doesn't mean we are endorsing or glorifying it. We are merely observing four characters, their reactions and complexities. It was important for us not to judge the relationship. We are leaving it to the audience, and are keen to know their perspective on it.'

The film ticked two items off her wish list mdash working with Batra and co-star Padukone. Cherishing her time with the actor, Panday says, 'I always looked up to her as an actor, but now I've started loving her for the person she is. She makes sure no one feels left out. She doesn't make anyone feel overwhelmed, and is warm and loving.'

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