It is Anandis big day and the chief minister of Rajasthan has sent a horse-drawn chariot to fetch her to the function where she is to be felicitated for her contributions to society. But the horse,frightened by the sound of bursting crackers,loses control,putting Anandis life in danger. Out of nowhere,a tall,young man appears on the scene. Jumping from his jeep on to the white horse,he scoops Anandi up and rides her to safety before vanishing from the scene.
This whistle-inducing entry of Sidharth Shukla two weeks ago boosted the popularity of Balika Vadhu,escalating its TRPs from 3.3 to 4.2 in two weeks. It also gave hope to millions of fans that the heroine will not spend the rest of her life sullen and single.
His character,it would turn out,is Shiv,Jaitsars first collector who will work closely with Anandi,the village sarpanch,to further development. The heroic entry was fun for the audience but I was apprehensive because I underwent a knee surgery three months ago and am yet to recover, says the actor who has done shows such as Babul Ka Aangann Chootey Na on Sony (2008) and Jaane Pehchaane Se Ye Ajnabbi on Star One (2009). He did not want a body double though the channel offered him that option. It hurt,but when the shows crew cheered upon watching the edited version,I knew it was worth the effort, he adds.
Though the actor refuses to confirm that he is Anandis new hero,Shukla does admit that along with Anandi,his character does bring some crackling chemistry on screen. The track is still developing and the script sees the chemistry building up. It remains to be seen how the characters and their equations evolve, he says.
Shuklas entry has infused a romantic-comedy track into the serious drama by converting the otherwise-strict matriarch,Dadisa,into a comic character who dreams of and schemes to engineer a romance between Shiv and Anandi. All the romance is in Dadisas head,which makes it funny, Shukla laughs. For now,Shiv and Anandi share only a professional bond and are yet to loosen up, he adds. Interestingly,Shukla underwent an audition before landing the role for this crucial character.
Balika Vadhu also marks his return on TV after Star Plus Love U Zindagi in 2011,a show that was written as a prequel to the popular Hindi film Jab We Met. For that show,Shukla had stepped into Shahid Kapoors shoes as Rahul Aditya Kashyap. Despite the buzz,Love U Zindagi failed to impress and went off air in six months. The character and the show,however,remain close to the actors heart. He says,I believe that Love U Zindagi did not work because it was a bi-weekly and the time slot was inappropriate.