As Fresh as Daisies: Elli AvrRam & Deanne Panday
GlobalSpa|March 2021
A DUO THAT’S CREATIVE, ENERGETIC, AND FULL OF LIFE! ALWAYS ON THE GO, DEANNA IS MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE. A FITNESS ENTHUSIAST EVEN SINCE CHILDHOOD, HER CREATIVITY SHINES IN NOT JUST HER WORKOUTS BUT INTERIORS AND DESIGN TOO. ON THE FLIPSIDE, A RATHER RELAXED AND “TRUST YOUR PROCESS” KIND OF GAL, ELLI IS ONE WITH BIG DREAMS AND STRONG AMBITIONS WORKING HER WAY SMOOTHLY UP THE FILM INDUSTRY. AN ARDENT COMING TOGETHER OF TWO PERSONALITIES FUN AND INSPIRING, HERE’S HOW OUR CANDID CONVERSATION WENT BY...
Parineeta Sethi & Vidhi Gupta

Elli AvrRam

You moved all the way from Sweden to India to pursue your dreams of becoming an actress. But when was that revelation for you? How did you realize this was what you wanted at last?

After my graduation, I kept thinking about what I want to educate myself in. It was a matter of my life choice, what I wanted to truly work with and do in life. That is when I realized that nothing excited me as much as this childhood dream of mine. Since I have grown up with my mother who is an actress and my father, a musician, I have automatically had that love for artistry. I am someone who can only do something if it comes 100% from my heart. So one fine day I decided to just go for this wild big dream of mine! I thought now is the time to do it and see what happens, rather than doing it later in life because that later might just not come. So that is when I started to prepare myself for the adventure to move to India, all alone. I studied Devanagari at Stockholm University and took a course in English as well.

I was already part of a Bollywood dance group, so I kept learning different Bollywood styles. Every day I felt so alive and excited about the fact that I knew what I wanted to do in life and I am going for it!

What were the challenges you had to face when you finally moved to India?

Lots of challenges! Everything was just another world altogether. First of all, I do not know Hindi and my English was also extremely weak. So to communicate with people was a bit of a task. Secondly, the entire system of finding your location! The directions are so different from the way they are in Sweden. Third, I did not know how to write a cheque because we do not have that system back home. The entire gas and geyser system was new to me, where to go and pay my electricity bills (chuckles). How to understand the way people talk over here, in terms of respect to elders and the way one is supposed to say, or react or think in certain scenarios. And the constant judgment of being a foreigner girl. Well, there have been lots of challenges...but they have all made me stronger and wiser. It has made me who I am today, and I am very proud of myself for learning and not giving up.

As an actor, what kind of roles do you seek out? What are your criteria for choosing the films that you do?

Performance. That the role has something to teach me, or for me to discover and create. I am someone who loves challenges, so a role needs to have something new and challenging for me to get me excited. I have always loved studying and understanding humans and different personalities constantly curious to know why a person is a certain way and how they feel. Therefore, I love to act, because you get to step into the skin of another person, as if you are living another life during your own current life.

What is your biggest driving force behind working in the Indian film industry?

My love for it. It has been my childhood dream. I am in love with Indian culture and versatility. It is very expressive and exotic to me!

Who is Elli AvrRam when not on screen?

A very simple, deep, funny girl! I am super chill and love to think or wonder about the secrets and mysteries of life. At the same time, I keep on joking a lot and doing quirky stuff. A bit of an entertainer in my own little world I would say!

What do you think you would be working towards if it had not been for acting?

Humanity and saving Mother Earth.

Lastly, what is your biggest goal as an actor in the film industry?

To act as the main lead in a Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie and to win an Oscar hehe!

Deanne Panday

Take us to the beginning. How did you discover your passion for fitness all those years ago?

When I was about 10 or 11 years old, back then with video cassettes, my elder sister had a workout video cassette of Jane Fonda which used to be really famous at that time. The cassettes were about a 60-minute workout or a 90-minute challenge. At that age, when we used to get an hour of playtime after school and homework, I chose to do that workout instead of going and meeting my friends. I would take my sister’s cassette, wear my leg warmers, do that 90-minute challenge by Jane Fonda, and I used to really enjoy it! I would do that every day and not knowing that many years later I will get into fitness.

My father was very big in the advertising world, in Hindustan Liver Lintas and as we are a family of six, he always had a dream that one child should become an artist or an interior decorator, so of course, I pursued art in my college. But I continued to work out. I remember when I was 16, I had saved some of my pocket money and got a summer job to join a gym which was only available at five-star hotels back then. At 17, I discovered yoga, and this is how working out has been a part of my life since a very young age.

What is your biggest driving force to continue working towards yourself and in this field?

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