Actor Hina Khan has over the years managed to win adulation by playing several fan-favourite characters on television. Be it the righteous Akshara in Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, or turning villainous with Komolika in Kasautii Zindagii Kay, Hina received praise for all. She even had a highly successful stint on reality shows like Bigg Boss 11 and Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi 8, emerging first runner-up in both.
Hina has been around for over a decade and tried hands at various mediums too. Apart from TV, she made her Bollywood debut with Vikram Bhatt’s Hacked. While she featured with fellow Bigg Boss contestant Priyank Sharma in Arijit Singh’s single “Raanjhana”, her OTT projects include Damaged 2 and Smartphone. She even made her Cannes red carpet debut in 2019.
But how did Hina Khan’s showbiz journey begin? How did she land the lead role in Rajan Shahi’s Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai? Here’s what the actor shared:
1. How did you land Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai?
I auditioned for it. Actually, I was forcefully sent by my friends to audition. The casting guys reached out to a lot of colleges in Delhi and distributed pamphlets. That’s how my friends got to know. They came home and told me about it. At the audition, they made me sit for the entire day. It was a whole long paragraph that I had to learn, and I was not prepared. Maybe they found out something, or they just wanted me to stay. They gave me the entire day from 10 AM to learn those lines and deliver them in one shot. Finally, around six in the evening, I delivered those lines. And the next day, I was in Bombay! So that’s the story of my first project.
2. What do you remember of your first day on set?
I did land in Mumbai the next day after my first ever audition, but it wasn’t easy for me once I arrived here. There was a lot of debate going on about how I look. The channel figured that my features are too sharp to play such an innocent girl – Akshara. So we did a lot of look tests which we sent to the channel to see how the character is gonna look and all.
Then, on my first day, there were a lot of big names involved. I’d seen them in many different shows on television, so I was very nervous, but they were very supportive. They made it easy for me.
3. Were you nervous? How many retakes did you take?
Oh don’t ask! Yes, I was very very nervous. I gave many retakes and not just the first day, but for good 15-20 days. I used to give 20 retakes for one shot. It wasn’t easy. I was so new, I mean I didn’t even have a portfolio shoot. I never had my pictures done. I remember I went for my first audition ever for Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai with a passport size picture. That’s why I say my story is just like a Cinderella story. When I reached Mumbai, I realised how much people suffer here. Just for a small role, they get so many portfolios done. They cut down on their monthly requirements to save money and get the photoshoots done. So I consider myself really lucky. But I had my own share of hard work and struggle where I used to give 20 retakes. Eventually, I improved. From 20 it became 15, then 10, then 5 retakes. That’s how my journey was.
4. Who were your co-stars and how was the rapport with them when you got to meet or work with them again later?
My co-stars were Vineeta Malik, Lata Sabharwal, Sanjeev Seth, Sonali Verma, Medha Jambotakar, Sanjai Gandhi, Karan Mehta, Pooja Joshi and so many more. I worked with them for eight years. We had so many characters who entered the show and exited, but we were there. We were like a family. I am in touch with most of them even now.
I do meet some of them, but I don’t think I have worked with any of them again. And I don’t think I would want to do that because I have worked with them for so long, at least with the main characters. I want to explore opportunities with actors I haven’t met or worked with before.
5. If given a chance to go back to your debut role, what would you like to change or do better?
When I look back, there is one thing I wish I had thought of before – to move on from Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai a little earlier, not after eight years. I had to let go of a lot of work, a lot of big opportunities while doing the show. So, I sometimes feel like I should have taken the call a little earlier.
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6. One film or role that inspired you to become an actor?
I did not want to become an actor. I wanted to become a journalist. So there was no such inspiration. But I was a huge fan of Smriti Irani, and I used to love her character Tulsi (Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi). She was so good. Her emotional scenes would make you cry. For me, I always used to feel if I ever try acting, I would like to do it like Tulsi. How beautifully she performed. I still get goosebumps when I listen to its title song.
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