New York-based actor Anuja Joshi is on cloud nine. The second season of the popular psychological thriller, Hello Mini is finally streaming on MX Player. But, Anuja’s journey in showbiz wasn’t an easy ride even though she hails from a family boasting of renowned names in the film industry. Anuja’s father was a child artiste, Master Alankar, and her aunt is the versatile actor Pallavi Joshi. A trained classical singer and dancer, Anuja recounts her journey in the entertainment industry. Excerpts from the interview:
From Hollywood to the Indian entertainment industry... tell us about your journey.
I wish I had a more romantic story to tell. I was working as a waitress, and also giving auditions. In fact, I got close to bagging a Hollywood film, but unfortunately things didn’t work out. I was upset, and booked a one-way ticket to Mumbai to meet my sister. During this difficult phase, my sister, fiancé [Ankur Rathi] and my aunt [Pallavi Joshi] stood by my side like a rock. It was a tough phase of consistent failures for almost four years. Then one day I came to know about an audition for a web series [Hello Mini]. Everyone encouraged me to give it a shot. And, it worked. The series came at a time when I was on the verge of quitting.
Did your family’s connect to the film industry help in anyway?
I consider myself an outsider here, even though I have links. I was born and raised in the US, far away from the industry. Even if walk in and remind the industry that my aunt is an actor and father was a child star they would probably look at me and ask, 'What are you? Why should we care?' My aunt is a National Award winner, why would I even take her name? I needed to make my own identity in the industry first.
What can viewers expect from Hello Mini season 2?
It’s an amazing show. Even though it's an extension of the first season, the difference is rooted in the characters. My character [Rivanah Banerjee] in season one was just-out-of-college girl, looking at the world through rose tinted glasses. But, she has grown up and is more mature in the new season. It’s a brave story with meticulous direction, and we have really pushed the envelope at all fronts. We shot it during Covid; it was a challenge, but we did it.
How different is it working in Indian entertainment industry and Hollywood?
There are a lot of differences, but you have to see how things operate. I am now used to filming in Mumbai. I have done Hello Mini, Broken with Beautiful with Vikrant Massey, and a few advertisements. I know how things function in India. I'm balancing between the two: Indian entertainment industry and Hollywood. When I am in India I think from that perspective.
What next after Hello Mini?
I have a Hollywood show. I can’t reveal much about it, except that it is a medical drama.