Having an Identity

Poonam Dhillon on her role as an illiterate mother-in-law and her return on television after more than a decade.

Published: January 3, 2014 4:55 am

I am excited about my role in Ek Thi Pehchaan since I am doing a TV serial after more than 11 years. Moreover,I felt it was the right time in life to do a daily soap as usually TV serials demand a lot of time and I had to fulfil responsibilities towards my children earlier. The last time I was acting on TV was when I did a show called Kittie Party in 2002. I have completed my responsibilities as a mother now and can concentrate on pursuing career objectives. I don’t have to assist in birthday parties and school functions any longer. In the past also,I was offered TV serials but the timing was not right since I had to commit more than 22 days at a stretch.

I did not think long before accepting this TV role. Within two weeks of being narrated the story,while I was shooting for Double di Trouble in Chandigarh,I accepted the offer. I especially liked my character,since she has a very powerful personality and the show carries a nice message about women empowerment. It is not regressive or a negative character,so it feels nice to be associated with it. I share a nice friendship with my daughter-in-law (on the show) and the story is built on very strong foundations. There are loads of women in India who are not academically sound but they are wise and sensible. Similarly,my character is also wise in her worldly ways. She was forced to discontinue her education and married off at an early age. She is unaware of her own worth,gets discriminated for not being educated,and doesn’t realise that her family takes her for granted. The role was very intriguing because I am from a very academically inclined family,so I have a fascination with education.

A lot has changed since I worked in TV serials. There are a lot many mythological shows,which is nice,but at the same time,the story takes a long time to get to the point.

As far as my acting projects are concerned,I have always acted as per my convenience. I did Andaaz (1997) at quite a young age and once my children became teenagers,I felt I needed to be at home because they are growing up. I have tried to balance my personal and professional responsibilities at the same time. And I don’t think I have the capacity to do two daily soaps at the same time,unless there are 14 days in a week.

When I joined the entertainment industry,I was just 15 and in Class X,and did not know anything about the camera. That was a different exposure. But now,when I see my younger co-actors they are so good that I need to take inspiration from them,as they are sorted when they come on sets. They know what they are doing. It is really a lot of hard work for me to cope with younger talent.

In future,I would like to do an interview-based show where I can get a chance to use my knowledge and experience about people. That is something I am looking forward to next and whenever I want something it usually happens. Besides this project,I am doing theatre simultaneously and currently acting on a production called U-Turn,which is a translation of a Marathi play.

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