banner image banner image

Adgully Exclusive | From VIVA to Stunt Mania, Anushka credits her success to her parents

Her life has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. From being a teenager to become a member of the first Indian all-girl band Viva, to a veejay to a playback singer and now a host of bike show Stunt Mania, she has donned several hats.

And despite a freak accident, where her dog almost bit her face off, she is one prettiest ladies in town. Welcome Anushka Manchanda.

Though many would remember as the tall Viva girl, who used to play guitar, she is one of the names to reckon with down south. And she has slowly started to create ripples in the Bollywood as well.

Before 2010, she only had two Bollywood songs in her portfolio -- a super hit song from the movie Golmaal and the other one being Zindagi Rocks.

In 2010, she has sung in movies like Pyaar Impossible, Dulha Mil gaya, Teen Patti, Badmash Company, Kites, Aisha, We Are Family and Lafangey Parindey, clearly showing that a new star is on the horizon.

Anushka, who was born and brought up in Delhi, discovered her love for music and drama right from her school days itself. An all-rounder of sorts, she was equally good at academics and participated in extra-curricular activities as well.

"I was an excellent student until class 6th, and that's when I discovered my love for music and other extra-curricular activities, so I started participating in a lot of inter-school competitions, drama etc. My mother is very hardworking -- she comes from an Air-Force background. My parents have travelled a lot, my mother was flying with Air India and my father worked for Merchant Navy," she explains.

The former VJ of Channel V, credits her success to her parents, who have stood by her in the thick of things. "I had a great childhood -- I got to travel with them. They have a world view on things -- they are very open about discussing things with me and my brother.

"I've always loved music. I grew up listening to Deep Purple, Santana and a lot of rock, since that was the kind of music that was played at home. My mum bought me a piano, my dad got me a guitar and my closest friends in school all sang. So that's how the music journey began," she explains.

"I wouldn't have been able to do things that I'm doing if my parents were not their open-minded self," she added.

Anushka shot to fame with the Viva band, but the band soon disintegrated due to infighting. Since then she has been a successful host at Channel V and has been a participant in various shows like Khatron Ke Khiladi.

But Anushka insists that they have sorted out their differences and is optimistic of the view that they could work together in the future.

"The band had split up. Though Pratichee and I are still in touch and Mahua is like my sister, there is nothing happening professionally as a group. But then I believe in the principal of 'Never Say Never'! Who knows we may be working something together in future again. We have sorted out our difference but just on different paths today," she says.

So how did life change post Viva?

"Well I think more than what happened after the band split, the thing that even happened before Viva was smoothing that changed my life. It was very strange because our family was going to shift to the USA, and we had got our visas and it was around 2001, sometime before the 9/11 attacks.

"In the end of August my dog bit me, and he almost ripped off the flesh from my face. But because of that we couldn't go as post 9/11 the regulations had become stricter, and they would have put me in quarantine for a couple of months because I was still taking injections and undergoing surgery," she reveals.

"Then the Viva auditions were happening in January and my class 12th standard boards were nearing, since I was in Delhi 12th standard exams are very important for us. But because all this happened to me my parents allowed me to go for the auditions. So that way this was a life changing experience for me," she adds.

Post Viva, Anushka got offers from Tamil industry to sing songs and it was quite a challenge, considering the fact that Tamil is not her mother tongue.

You are quite famous in the Tamil Industry as a play-back singer, so are you comfortable being there or do you plan a similar thing for Bollywood? And how difficult is it to sing in a language which is so different from your mother tongue?

"It's tough but I love to sing in Tamil. It's all phonetics when I sing in Tamil, you hear what they say and you write it down in English and then you ask for what it means. But you always lose something in translation. Besides most of the songs that I get called for are sexy songs, so they are always too shy to explain to me what the song exactly means," Anushka explains.

An adventurous person by nature, Anuskha was one of the participants in Fear Factor and she is following her heart and will host the new season of Stunt Mania.

"Fear Factor was an experience of its own. I don't think I am going to have experiences like that ever in my life. It was amazing and I got to do really cool things. I thought I was a really cool person, who wasn't scared of anything, but once I was in Fear Factor, I realized I was very wrong and that I am afraid a lot of things," she says.

"Shoot of Stunt Mania was fun. Firstly, where we shot the show is an amazing place; I loved it because I am an outdoor person. It was completely a male dominated set, so there were certain things that I had to come to terms with. I had a great time," she explains.

"Initially I was scared of Allan sir, but he is a very relaxed person. I had a great time on the show -- I enjoyed being a part of the team. In the end it's worthwhile to do a show like this where there 250 people on a set and all of them are a part of almost everything. One of the stunts that happened in Kothi , took an entire day for the setup, in terms of camera angle and safety measures," she adds.

As for future, besides pursuing music, Anushka plans to continue with her studies and wants to get into NYU or Cornell to study advertising.

"My grand plan in life was to give my SAT tests and study either in NYU or Cornell and study advertising. Singing with Viva happened by chance, which was followed by playback singing, being a contestant in Khatron ke Khilade and now Stunt Mania. But I never planned all this, it just happened. So everyday has been like a surprise for me. I just work hard at whatever I do and follow life wherever it takes me. We cannot plan everything in life so I believe in making the best out of the opportunities that come to me and do my best with my hard work. Even if things don't work out the way you want it to, you learn a valuable lesson from it," she says.

More in Exclusives