Actor Anjali Anand who made her Bollywood debut with Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani, has been making headlines ever since the film’s release. Her subtle yet powerful portrayal of a plus-sized woman, struggling to break away from the shackles of patriarchy was adored by the audience and critics alike. In a recent interview with Hindustan Times, the 31-year-old actress however talked about the film industry which is still plagued with toxic beauty standards. Talking about the harsh reality of the entertainment world, Anjali said that the audience would not be happy to see a plus-size woman like her, play the lead role in films.
Elaborating she said, “It’s not just the showbiz industry, even the audiences will not be very happy with a heroine if she looks like me. It is a very hypocritical world that we live in. Everybody wants to see a toned body and fair skin on screen. Sabse zyada seetiyaan item number par hi bajti hain. That is the world we live in and that is the truth nobody wants to accept,” she points out, adding, “Many audiences call themselves progressive… Okay, then! Tomorrow, make a film with me as a lead and if that becomes a very big hit, then I’d agree that maybe the world is changing, but until then, I don’t think it is the industry’s problem, it is everybody’s problem. We need to move ahead in life and not think about petty things like how a person looks.”
Anjali however expressed her gratitude for Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani being a medium through which her character succeeded in sending a message of body positivity. She however stressed that she doesn’t want to get stereotyped in just this kind of role.
“Whatever comes next for me, I want to be very careful in what I’m choosing so that I’m not stereotyped. I hope I get to play something more challenging and unbelievably different, and not what filmmakers and audiences already expect from me. I want to play different parts, whatever it takes,” she told Hindustan Times.
Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani, which was released on July 28, also featured Ranveer Singh, Shabana Azmi, Jaya Bachchan, Dharmendra and Anjali Anand. In his review for NDTV, film critic Saibal Chatterjee wrote, “On the screen and off it, flamboyance comes easy to Ranveer Singh. There is nobody in the Mumbai industry who could have pulled off Rocky as well as he does. Alia Bhatt strikes the right notes in the role of a girl who embraces her beliefs with confidence and confronts all the imperfections in her and the people around her without letting any of it get the better of her. She is the real star of the show.”