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Thiruda Thiruda Actress Anu Aggarwal Releases A Memoir

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The chatter in the hall thins down as Anu Aggarwal walks in. She isn’t flanked by assistants or guards. She catches up with friends and acquaintances in the room. There’s an unguarded casualness about her. Photographers hesitate before taking out their cameras. It’s not surprising. This is the star who burst into Bollywood and Kollywood with just two films, Aashiqui (Hindi) and Thiruda Thiruda (Tamil), only to disappear from the world of glitz and glamour 22 years ago, in 1994. She reappeared last year, this time as a published author. Her book Anusual: Memoir Of The Girl Who Came Back From The Dead , is the story of her life after 1994.

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At the book release event, Anu effortlessly assumes the role of the host. Mani Ratnam, the chief guest of the evening, arrives. She welcomes him with a warm hug. It was Mani Ratnam who had introduced Anu to Kollywood in Thiruda Thiruda (1994). “Shall we begin?” she asks the audience with a pleasant laugh. Then passes the microphone to Mani Ratnam. “I knew Anu as an actress, as a dancer. It surprised me to see her as an author. It takes immense courage to pen down all those memories, good and bad,” he says. Someone in the audience asks him if he would pen his memories someday. “Never,” is the immediate reply. The audience bursts into laughter as he continues, “I will never write a book. I would rather continue making movies.”

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It was director Mahesh Bhatt who had discovered the actress in Anu. He cast this dusky sociology graduate from Delhi University as the female lead in his film Aashiqui. The film went on to become a romantic classic. Before her stint in films, Anu used to be a supermodel. After appearing in a few movies, including Mani Kaul’s internationally acclaimed erotic film The Cloud Door, Anu retreated from the limelight. In 1997, she enrolled in a yoga ashram in Uttarakhand. Two years later, in 1999, she had a near-death-experience that changed her life forever. A car crash in Mumbai left her with multiple bone fractures, brain damage, and a palsy-ridden body. Now, she considers that accident a part of the spiritual journey that began in 1997.

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“Mani is the one who introduced me to Madras,” says Anu. “I will never forget Thiruda Thiruda. I was stunned to see the way he introduced a female character (Chandralekha). In the song Koncham Nilavu, he made her look like a goddess!” Anu recounts. Giving in to audience demands, she reads out an excerpt from the book, a piece about joining the yoga ashram. “Yoga keeps me grounded. I am at peace,” she says. The accident had damaged her jaw, and broken many bones in her body, in addition to leaving her right hand paralysed. “I had never experienced something called a fracture till then. One day, I open my eyes in a hospital, and realise that my body has suffered multiple injuries and fractures. Gradually, I started recovering. I had to eat using my left hand. Later, doctors described my recovery as a miracle.”

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Image Courtesy: Indian Express

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