’26/11 Gave Me the Push I Needed for My Career’


Anushka Manchanda, Singer & TV star

What’s your earliest memory?
I remember sitting on a brown coloured carpet, I must’ve been a year old. My mom was wearing a white cotton summer dress with green stripes. I remember she was twirling around and I was sitting and clapping.

Tell us about your childhood.
Dad was a sailor and mum was an air hostess. She stopped flying after she had me. As a child, I was very clumsy. I had scars on my knees and my head – I got hurt a lot. But mum and dad are wonderful; they’ve always been my friends. Every Saturday, dad would cook us a fantabulous meal and while he was cooking we’d all dance around. I get my music from them, too. They had this humongous collection of LPs – Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple – the works.

How did Popstars happen?
A month and a half before we were supposed to move to the US for good when I was in the 12th standard, my dog bit me in the face and I had to undergo surgery. My pre-boards were supposed to start at the same time. So we didn’t move. I saw the contest but I was into Metallica and Pantera at the time so I didn’t pay any attention. A friend said that if I go, I won’t have to study. So I convinced dad and he convinced mum.

Why did you take a long break after the show?
Once the band split, I couldn’t go back home. I was a VJ for a year but I was afraid composers would think that I wasn’t serious about singing so I quit. I had sporadic releases then, the first being Golmaal. Honestly, everything changed with 26/11. It was the push I needed. I realised that I was making the most of the opportunities coming my way, but I wasn’t creating any. So in December last year, I made demo tapes, hired a manager, a publicist and an agency. And it’s been crazy since.

What are you afraid of?
I recently lost a friend and even though I wouldn’t call it fear, but somehow I don’t think I’ve made my peace with the idea of death. Fear, I think is very relevant to where you are in life.

What’s your take on cosmetic surgery?
It’s your body and you should do whatever you want with it. You know, celebrities are under a lot of pressure to look good, it’s their job. The same guys who critique a celebrity for getting breast implants, expect women in their lives to look a certain way. It’s a complex issue.



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