Colors’ latest show Choti Sarrdaarni has been garnering positive reviews from all quarters. Set in the heartland of Punjab, the daily stars Avinesh Rekhi and newcomer Nimrit Kaur in the lead roles. The mature love story will also focus on the trials and tribulations of a woman and how she overcomes it with her grit.
At the show’s launch, Avinesh sat down for an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com. He talked about his latest show, donning the turban on-screen and television’s influence on the audience.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
We don’t usually have lead actors with a turban. How did you react to it?
I was so happy to wear it. I am a Sardar in real life and donning the turban is a matter of immense pride for me. And yes, this is the first time that a lead actor on Indian television will be seen in a turban. For some time now, I was dwelling on the idea of doing a Punjabi film so I could wear the turban. But I was lucky that this show came my way. My family, especially the elders, is so excited and have been showering me with their blessings.
What kind of efforts went behind the look?
It’s not really easy to wear a turban for such a long time. I used to get headaches and my hair pulled. I took two months to get used to it. I would go to cafes and malls to get myself comfortable but now it’s effortless. Also, I grew my beard to make the character look authentic. My character Sarabjit Gill comes from a royal family and I wanted him to look grand and not uncomfortable in the avatar.
Tell us more about your character.
He is a politician, the agriculture minister of Punjab to be precise. He wants to work towards the development of his people and create more opportunities and employment. He is also a single father. He meets this woman Meher (Nimrit), and their beautiful love story follows.
Many actors still shy away from playing a parent on-screen. Weren’t you scared of getting stereotyped?
I played a father even in Madhubala. I started my career with a negative role. If I had got stereotyped, I wouldn’t have ever gotten a chance to do such different roles. Also, I think it depends on actors how they manage to get out of their characters. I know, if needed, I can lose weight and change my look to play a typical hero for my next show.
As an actor, what do you look out for in a project?
There is no specific requirement that I want to do this or that. As an actor, I want to explore myself and prove my versatility. I want to do different shades. Though yes, I am looking at attempting comedy sometime soon.
Whenever there is a project with the backdrop of religion, one has to tread carefully. Is the team worried about that?
Not worried but we are being conscious to not harm anyone. Fortunately, a lot of people in our unit are Punjabis, so we make sure that we are on the right path. A lot of our scenes are in Gurudwara, so we made sure that we abided by all the rules. We want to glorify the culture and would never want to cause any harm. It’s the first time a show like this is being made and we want to be as authentic as possible.
In a time of supernatural dramas, do you think a show like Choti Sarrdaarni will connect with the audience?
I think people are always on the lookout for different content. There are so many genres of shows on television. Not everyone likes one kind of drama. Also, the show has a very inspiring story. We are also touching upon important social issues and promoting women empowerment. We hope we can set an example and bring about a change in society with our show. However, it’s not preachy as we also have enough emotions, drama, humour and romance. It’s a total package that will entertain and inspire at the same time.
Do you feel television can still bring about a change in society with its shows?
If it can justify what it wants to say, then why not? The audience should be eager to know more or learn from it. Not every change is a conscious one. One might not implement it immediately but what we see tends to stay in our subconscious mind. It does affect our actions somehow.
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