One of Anupriya Goenka’s favourite quotes talks about how a woman isn’t “shattered”, but simply a stunning mosaic of the battles she has won. In a lot of ways, the actor says her journey from Kanpur to the stardust of the film industry in Mumbai has been deeply personal, where she has shone through the cracks in her stars.
Anupirya shot to fame with her appearances in blockbusters like Salman Khan’s Tiger Zinda Hai, Sanjay Leel Bhansali’s Padmaavat and Hrithik Roshan’s War. She recently starred in the Disney Plus Hotstar show Sultan of Delhi. While her decade-long career went through a roller coaster ride, Anupriya says her life has always thrown challenges at her.
“In the last 10 years here, while acting has been a big part of my journey and I have made it on my own, my family life has still been beautifully entangled,” Anupriya tells Indianexpress.com as she opens up about her life.
Born in Kanpur to a rich Marwari family, Anupriya was used to all the comforts in the world, until she turned six and learnt that the family business of garments had fallen apart. Overnight, the family moved out from their 14-room bungalow to a one-room house in Delhi.
Anupriya–youngest of the four siblings; two sisters and a brother, who is developmentally challenged–was conditioned to grow up and take over the family business due to their financial constrain. By the time she finished school and got into her family business, it was crumbling. She worked to save it, while taking up jobs at call centers, but decided to shut it down eventually, following which there were court cases and bank liabilities that she had to face at the age of 19.
“I continue to have a lot on my shoulders, I take care of the house financially, physically, emotionally, and I do everything. Sometimes I wish I only had just acting to focus on. A lot of tiredness comes from having done so much for so long, striving alone. I see actor friends, who put their entire focus on just acting– so their entire happiness, sadness, joy comes from there. In my case, it is different. I am constantly juggling between acting and my family life,” she adds.
More than a decade ago, when she moved to Mumbai, Anupriya started to work in the corporate sector and began investing in properties, as she saw growing up how her father had to liquidate properties to save their business. Naturally, the actor grew up looking at struggles, both financial and mental, intimately.
“In my family, I have seen depression closely. That I believe also adds to the feeling of tired and being exhausted. I have wanted to find the right guidance, some support. I have struggled my way to figure out how to deal with management, creating your own PR in this space. I don’t know how to do it because I am used to doing it all alone, and since the beginning.”
Because she has done it all alone for so long, Anupriya says people rarely understand why she would feel tired or exhausted or “why I am so serious about my work.”
“Sometimes my being serious or quiet is misunderstood as being snobbish or too reserved. But when I am bluntly saying something to someone, it is considered as being rude or difficult. My learning has been to now just have a lot of patience and a smile on my face, apart from being out there and find the light and do good work. Of course, the acting journey has been tiring but also rewarding.”
But through all the career highs and lows, Anupriya says the more she reflects, it dawns upon her that she is in constant pursuit to chase excellence because it is personal for her– she wants to give her family their lost glory.
“When I came here, I didn’t think I will make it even this far. I have managed to do things purely out of will power, thankfully the responsibility I have has also pushed me. I started acting not only because I was in love with it but also because I wanted to give my parents their lost glory, lost respect back in the society or the extended family. It steamed from there too and I continue to strive for it,” she adds.