Audience has always had a love-hate relationship with the now three film old Ananya Panday. Even much before her acting debut in Student Of The Year 2, she has been the butt of the jokes. The actor was 20 years old when she starred in Dharma's over ambitious SOTY sequel. Her face didn't offer much expressions and her stiff dialogue delivery forced the audience not to take her seriously especially after her "struggle of not going to Koffee With Karan" statement which resulted in a flood of memes.
With her second film Pati Patni Aur Woh, she played 'the other woman', she seemed rather juvenile for the role especially when sharing screen with rather mature actors like Bhumi Pednekar and Kartik Aaryan. Her fashion sense didn't help her either as her wardrobe was full of bright and shimmery short dresses and over the top make up in dance sequences which felt too much on a 20 year old. However the dialogue delivery didn't feel so flat compared to her debut.
With Khaali Peeli being her first movie where the newbie Panday would be the sole lead actress, the pressure was huge and starring opposite the rather nuanced actor Ishaan Khattar added to the audiences' expectations. Playing the 18 year old 'Mumbaiker' prostitute Pooja on the run, Ananya is risky, moody and savage. However, she struggles getting the Mumbaiyya lingo right. Her stylist helps her look the part unlike the previous movies with bright red salwars with colorful bangles which makes her look raw. Her acting graph has definitely grown a lot compared to her blank-slate face debut.
Any debutant in the industry knows how much it takes to perform and give your all when you are on screen and seems like Ananya Panday is trying to decode it one level at a time and learning the craft as an actor with each failure. But it should not take her long. After all, the Indian audience isn't known to give many chances to an actor who they invest their film tickets in.
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