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Ananya Panday says she sought validation as actor till recently, would wonder why everyone doesn’t love her: ‘I don’t want to sound like Orry but…’

Ananya Panday is a liver, a lover, and by her own definition, a nice person. But why did the audience not warm up to her instantly when she made her debut in 2019? Ananya says until very recently, she would be constantly seeking validation, an exhausting exercise that she has finally stopped.

Ananya, daughter of actor Chunky Pandey and Bhavana, made her screen debut with Karan Johar-backed Student of the Year 2. Her next few outings, Pati Patni Aur Woh and Khaali Peeli didn’t really elevate her as an actor among the audience, until Shakun Batra’s Gehraiyaan last year, which is where Ananya started standing on her own.

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“There was a phase when I was seeking validation as an actor, until very recently. I have stopped that,” Ananya tells Indianexpress.com. In her latest feature for Netflix, Kho Gaye Hum Kahan, the actor plays a 20-something Bandra-based working professional, who is constantly seeking validation from her boyfriend.

“My dad’s a people pleaser, everywhere he goes, he wants people to talk about him and love him. I am exactly like him. When I started out, I was like, ‘Everyone has to love me’ and I couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t love me. It wasn’t coming from a space of thinking myself too be someone great but just that I am nice, I am a nice person, my friends and family like me, why doesn’t everyone?”

Ananya says she has realised overtime that it is impossible to make everyone like her and now firmly believes that shouldn’t even be her goal. “Today, my goals have shifted and so have the way I look at things. It happened only this year. I don’t want to sound like Orry– but I do just want to work on myself and want to get better. I want to be a good person, go to sleep thinking I did well at work, that I learnt something new. My priorities have shifted.”

Kho Gaye Hum Kahan aims to celebrate the power of friendship in the fast-paced era of social media, as it follows three best friends–Ananya, Siddhant Chaturvedi and Adarsh Gourav–navigating their life and striving to balance their online identities with their true selves.

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Projecting ones lives according to the Instagram algorithm has become a common reality for many, and especially for public figures. Ananya, who has more than 24 million followers on Instagram, says it is a constant push and pull, in terms of “how much of myself do I want to give, how much to keep to myself.”

“It is constantly evolving and changing. A few months ago, till last year, I was more open with sharing things about my life, putting myself out there even more. Just being stuck in this loop of updating people about what I am feeling, wearing or eating. Now I don’t feel like that anymore. If you look at actors, Instagram is also a way of making money. So, it is about prioritizing and seeing what truly is important.”

Kho Gaye Hum Kahan is directed by newcomer Arjun Varain Singh, who also co-wrote it with Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti. Produced by Excel Entertainment’s Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar and Tiger Baby’s Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar, the film will release on December 26 on Netflix.

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