Sooraj Barjatya’s Maine Pyar Kiya is a classic. The film starred a young Salman Khan and marked the Bollywood debut of Bhagyashree. Its been over three decades since its release, but it continues to have a recall value for fans. Recently on Bigg Boss 15, Bhagyashree and Salman recreated an iconic scene of the film, making the audience walk down the memory lane. While the 1989 release remains special for several reasons, Bhagyashree’s daughter Avantika Dassani does not have a perfect first-time watch memory of it. In an interview with indianexpress.com, Avantika revealed that she had to watch the film a couple of times to complete it.
“I watched it a couple of times when I was much younger,” Avantika recalled and revealed, “When I first saw it, I couldn’t take it because I couldn’t watch my mom being sad. It would not sit well with me. So, I would walk out of the room,” the aspiring actor says.
It is only later that Avantika realised what the film meant for the audience as well as her mother Bhagyashree. “We saw that anywhere we go, mom was showered with love and praise even after 30 years of its release. It is a reminder of the fact that when you do something so amazing, the industry will repay you with years of love.”
While Bhagyashree’s debut was a love story that showcased her as this perfect daughter, Suman, Avantika is set to mark her debut with a psychological thriller, titled Mithya, that shows her as anything but that.
Previously, Avantika’s brother Abhimanyu Dassani, who made his Bollywood debut with Vasan Bala’s Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, had spoken about how his parents were sceptical about him making a career as an actor. So, after Abhimanyu’s debut, did Bhagyashree and her husband Himalaya’s opinion change? “They saw it coming. They knew that no matter what this is where our genuine interest lies and this is what excites us,” Avantika said about her parents.
She explained that their scepticism came from a place of love. “I am a very emotional and sensitive person. So, both my parents and brother were worried about me. Any protective family would be because, with this industry and the kind of work we do, we have to face several ups and downs. And go through experiences, unlike any other profession. But they saw how passionate I am. They saw my excitement whenever I would read a script or gave an audition. They saw how fulfilled I felt after my acting workshops. So eventually, there was only support and encouragement, and a constant sense of – you love this, you want this, you better work hard for this,” she said.
As the conversation continued, Avantika said her reason “to choose something not-so-obvious” like Mithya was to “surprise or excite the audience.” In the series, Avantika plays Riya, a student who has grey shades to her. “When I was offered Mithya, I liked the character of Riya because it has grey shades to it. The character is so well written that I had to be on board. It is opposite of what people would have expected out of me. The character gave me a scope of learning and to challenge myself. It is a story of two powerful women who are equally headstrong and have so much going on beneath the surface,” Avantika said, adding that she was kicked to be working on a project with a powerful star cast that consisted of Huma Qureshi, Parambrata Chatterjee, Samir Soni, Rajit Kapoor and others.
On sharing screen space with Huma Qureshi, Avantika said that apart from bullying her on the sets, the actor was “silently mentoring” her and guiding her. “She is so fabulous in everything she does,” an impressed Avantika expressed.
Referring to herself as an “excited bunny,” Avantika explained how Huma taught her some acting tricks that she would remember for life. She spoke about a scene that left her exhausted and said, “That’s when Huma very quietly took me to the side and told me ‘Do not do this to yourself.’ She told me how important it is to conserve energy and understand where to expend it. Afterwards, I noticed her and she was so effortless and brilliant.”
She added that usually, Huma would refrain from praising her, which helped her to stay “grounded and urged me to come well-prepared”. But, after a gruelling day at shoot, Avantika found a note from Huma. “Another day, we had an intense shoot all day long. By the end of the shoot, I got a message from her, which was a highlight for me in the whole experience. The message from her read, ‘You did a good job.’ Just that. It was enough,” Avantika concluded with a big smile on her face.
Produced by Applause Entertainment, Mithya is directed by Rohan Sippy. The series is scheduled for February 18 release.