After dabbling with independent, strong-headed and contemporary characters in her previous small screen outings, Kritika Kamra has made an unusual choice. She has decided to play the role of princess Chandrakanta in the remake of the popular ’90s series.
The fantasy genre currently rules the TRPs of Indian television soaps and Kritika is excited to make her mark. However, she is bothered by the fact that this role might lead to her being typecast as the common ‘damsel in distress’.
Ahead of the show’s premiere, Kritika speaks to the indianexpress.com about what made her do Chandrakanta, the challenges she faced while playing the role and how feminism dictates her choice of projects.
Having played the role of strong, open-minded girls previously, to varying degrees, why do Chandrakanta now?
It was a conscious effort to play the kind of roles that I did. I choose characters that I can relate to. Even though I personally do not relate to the role of a princess, I was interested because it is our homegrown fantasy. In the midst of mythology and period dramas, this is unique. There are a lot of American shows like this, but, I think Chandrakanta is one of the first Hindi fantasy shows. So, that’s exciting. Also, I hope people don’t mistake my character to be spineless or ‘bechari’ because she is not. I am a feminist and I am inclined to choose roles that have more meat and spunk as opposed to the victim. There’s nothing wrong with the other characters, but I personally prefer to be a part of stories I like watching and talking about.
Were you convinced in the first go that you will be able to pull it off?
I couldn’t imagine myself playing the role. The first time I was offered the character, my reaction was ‘Why me? How could you? Have you seen me in life? I am not at all like this!’ But that’s the fun part and a challenge for me. Now, I want to explore this arena. I want to give it my all and hope it gets appreciated. I got the hang of the role really soon. I did my look test and when I started to dress for the part, I felt the part. Then I met Nikhil sir and his belief in me was encouraging. So, I am not nervous. I want to dig my teeth into this, give it my best and add this to my body of work. I have done fiction, hosted shows and done reality TV too. This is a fresh genre for me.
Was your decision motivated by the fact that supernatural genre is the currently ruling TRP?
Oh absolutely! I have been a part of stories that were unconventional in their times. They didn’t get the TRPs that we had hoped for. They did great online, though, and I have got a good response. I call that an alternative to television. Now, I am doing mainstream television. I have aways wanted to work on something that is mainstream, at the same time, not saas-bahu soaps, and this is it. When people have the taste for a certain genre, it is a good thing for the show because eventually as makers when you put in so much hard work, you want the content to be consumed as much. The timing is crucial and is good that people are appreciating this kind of content.
Did you watch the original series to prepare for the role?
No. I watched Chandrakanta as a child but have consciously stayed away from watching it now because I want to give the role my own interpretation. I don’t want to have references because then you repeat them.
What challenges do you face while working for Chandrakanta?
It is taxing both physically and mentally. Physically to be in shape all the time, to carry these costumes and run in them, jump up and walk down in them, stand in them with a panache — it is not easy. Also, the incidents on the show are not from our world. There is no reference point for anything that happens on the show. You can’t even take cues from real life.
Do you think that the content for television is where it should be?
I will be honest. We are not where we should have been. It is a great medium, but we undermine the reach and the scope. We have the power to reach families living in the remotest areas. I really hope we make better use of this reach, not just in terms of the messages we send but also in the stories we tell. Globally, television has evolved beautifully but we have kept ourselves on a lower platform creatively. Television deserves better, audiences deserve better. I hope somehow, we learn to strike a balance between generating content for the masses and something niche.