Identities are crucial to television. People still identify me with my character Anandi on Balika Vadhu. They still call me by that name,and I feel lucky. So,when I got the chance to play an 18-year-old Roli on Sasural Simar Ka,I was excited and nervous.
Excited because I was getting the opportunity to essay a new character,nervous because I am a 15-year-old girl who had to play an 18-year-old married woman. It was a huge change from an eight-year-old Anandi in her ghaghra cholis and rustic Rajasthani accent to an 18-year-old Roli sashaying in her sari,(which I have fallen in love with) and her posh Delhi upbringing. It was difficult,for I had to observe how an 18-year-old girl walks,talks,stands and conducts herself. The upside is that I have never really been tensed about the characters I get to play because I love being an actor,and the challenges this profession throws up. Yes,the transition was slow,for people were so used to seeing me as Anandi,and getting acquainted with Roli took time.
Initially,I had my doubts whether Ill be able to establish myself as Roli,but they vanished when a little girl walked up to me and asked,Are you Roli from Sasural Simar Ka? I was the happiest person that day since people started recognising me as Roli.
The beauty of television is the element of change. Its a constant in this medium. How does one get the audience back Monday after Monday to watch the show? So every Friday or Saturday,the show weaves in a twist,a freeze point or something gripping that will automatically make the audience view the show the following week. Sasural Simar Ka,which was telecast from Monday to Friday earlier,and now extended to Saturday,too reached its freeze point with the sudden death of Roli and entry of Jhumki.
Now,Jhumki is a banjaran who dances to bring up her younger brother Buntoo. When Simar sees a striking resemblance between Roli and her,she convinces Jhumki to act as Roli. This is a new challenge for me for I have to now establish myself as Jhumki and would love people to call me by that name. Her scenes are tricky as she is pretending to be Roli,while all the time she is Jhumki. Its going to be an emotional rollercoaster,as Rolis disappearance is a mystery since her body was never recovered.
Just like Roli was demanding in terms of looks and body language,so is Jhumki. I had to dance to Madhuri Dixit numbers including Mann dola re and Mera Piya Ghar Aaya,and act as Basanti fast,smart,spicy and saucy. It was a complete role reversal from Roli.
More than the actors,I feel its the writers,producers and the programmers who are under pressure to develop plots and come up with fresh ideas on a daily bases. They have a really tough job. Im given readymade scripts and research to follow through. I just have to watch,learn and play. Moreover,I have an excellent supportive set of parents and directors on board who help me and dont let me miss school,holidays or outings with friends. As for whether I want to play the older Anandi again,why not? I will never let go of such an opportunity.