Fantasy drama Naagin 5 launched recently with Hina Khan playing the lead role of Naageshwari. The actor plays sarvasestha naagin, who is happily in love with her naag (Mohit Malhotra), when the king of cheels (Dheeraj Dhoopar) enters their lives. He takes a fancy to Naageshwari, and tries to separate the lovers. Their tale ends up in bloodbath, and a curse by Lord Shiva that they will have to be reborn in order to complete their story. Naagin 5 will chronicle their tale.
Excerpts from the conversation.
Many in the audience feel series like Naagin are regressive and silly. What was your take on the show before you joined it? What is your take on it now?
I will be very honest. I don’t watch Indian television as I find it really regressive. We choose this profession for various reasons — be it to better our craft, become a good actor or even money. However, most shows have women being insulted, and I can’t stand that. And I really can’t blame the makers or channel for that’s what the audience likes. There have been shows which had women walking shoulder-to-shoulder with men but they weren’t accepted by the audience. I am a woman who would want to watch female characters that empower and inspire others. As far as Naagin is considered, it is a supernatural show. We all watch Hollywood fantasy dramas or shows on Netflix. It’s also one of my favourite genres. However, the fact remains that we know it’s all a lie, everything is made up. If I can’t inspire my audience at least I can entertain them with this show. It doesn’t send out any wrong message at least.
Your ‘red glamorous’ avatar has become the talk of the town. What was your reaction when you saw yourself in the getup?
We did try a lot of outfits, and Ekta was personally involved. She even messaged me about the colour of the lens I should try. The team has really worked hard on the look, from the attire to jewelry. Ekta just gave me one brief that ‘Hina, you have to look glamorous and hot’ (laughs).
During the lockdown, you had been quite vocal about the importance of precaution during such times. Were you apprehensive to shoot with so many people around?
I was extremely nervous. I actually went a day ahead of my shoot to check on everything. The sets are sanitised after every four hours, everyone is in a PPE kit, masked. Temperature and oxygen levels are checked at intervals. I got a little assurance seeing the facilities. Although it’s a minimal crew, I make sure I do everything to keep myself protected. I have been consuming kadha, doing vapour therapy and checking on my vitals.
There is a buzz around your role being there in Naagin 5 for just a while. What do you have to say about that?
I am not in that space where I would do just a cameo. All I can say is keep watching the show to know more.
If you could have the powers of being icchadhari (shape-shifter), whose avatar would you take up?
I would want to be Neil Armstrong and be on the moon. I am so fascinated with space, stars, planets. I would love to don that hazmat suit and be on the moon. That’s the only name that came to my mind as I wish I could do all that he did.
Most people have a perception that a TV actor doesn’t look back once they start doing films. If they do, it means there was lack of opportunities. What do you have to say on this as the division between mediums is blurring?
We will show to the world what we are capable of. Honestly, we are taking baby steps and trying our best. We all know how the film industry works, so this journey is very tough. But the biggest problem is how people divide actors according to mediums. In the west, things are so different. No one is looked down upon. Look at Meryl Streep, she is such a great example of someone doing good work in every medium.
I had two releases during the lockdown. And now that shoots have begun. I am doing Naagin, and it’s really fine. I have always been a person who has broken every kind of stereotype. When people told me I would be just known as Akshara, I went on to do two reality shows. They told me I could only play goody-two-shoes, I did Komolika. And now while I am doing films and web series, I took up Naagin. I have always believed in breaking barriers and setting my own benchmark. And I will continue to do that always.