March 16, 2021 8:21:45 am
Mann Ki Awaaz Pratigya, which created a storm in 2009, is set to return to television with a new season and actor Pooja Gor will be reprising the titular role once again. The fresh, intriguing storyline will revolve around Pratigya, who is now a public prosecutor in Allahabad, forced to choose between her emotions as a mother and her duty as a lawyer.
Ahead of the show’s launch, Pooja Gor spoke exclusively to indianexpress.com about becoming Pratigya again, regressive content on the small screen and what one can expect from Mann Ki Awaaz Pratigya 2.
Excerpts from the conversation…
What was your first reaction to Pratigya making a comeback on TV?
My reaction was pretty much that it’s about time that it makes a comeback (laughs). The kind of viewership it had, even after it went off air, on Star Utsav and Hotstar, people loved it. I have constantly received messages about the show, how people still consider it iconic. During the pandemic, when Star was showing its reruns, the response it got, I had a feeling that it might come back. But I did not think it would be so soon.
Times have changed, and so have women in the country. What new will Pratigya 2 offer to the audience?
Times have indeed changed but I think by quantitative measures, not qualitative. We are either being stagnant or going backwards. The progression is very slow, and that’s what needs to speed up. Pratigya has always helped in making a difference in some way. While the purpose has always been of entertainment, we, as a team, have never shied away from discussing or showing subjects that are taboo. We highlight them and even make them the central theme. Then, we touched on subjects that were relevant for society, and now it will be about today’s issues. I would like to add here that the audience is in for a bigger and better season of Pratigya, which has also retained its essence. It’s going to be a power packed drama, something that people have always loved.
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Did it take time for you to slip into Pratigya’s role or was it an instant connect?
Honestly, it doesn’t even feel that it’s been almost nine years since the show. It seemed like maybe we were shooting for it and took a break in the pandemic. On the first day, when me and Arhaan gave our first shot, it was so easy, it just flowed. I feel it’s a muscle memory now. It’s amazing how smoothly the transition happens on set. Also, with so many of the same team members around, it seems like a family get-together for us. Every day we are reliving the memories and usually keep having a lot of deja vu moments.
As an actor, who is always in the hunt for content rich stories, you steered away from the small screen for quite long. What was about Pratigya 2 that you decided to make a comeback?
You are right, I am someone who is choosy and always looking for meatier roles. I always pick projects that are rich in storytelling. So yes, it has always been a conscious decision to stay away from television. Also, whatever project I was getting, it was something that I had already done. Pratigya is my show, it has given me everything, made me a household name. It is my baby and there were no two ways about it. It didn’t even take a second to decide and the story in itself is mind blowing.So it was quite an easy decision.
The last season was also called out for certain tracks — how a woman is always put in charge to ‘reform a wayward man’, mistreated by in-laws and even how she eventually falls in love with her stalker. What’s your take on sexism being played out on screen?
I think women or men overlook many acts of sexism in our daily lives. And films, TV shows or even web series showcase things which happened or are prevalent in our society. So if sexism exists in our society, we are portraying the same through these mediums.
What’s your take on seasons and spin offs that has become a new trend on TV?
Why not? India has daily soaps where shows go on from 300 to 1000 episodes. In the USA, seasons are the trend. They too have a long story, it’s just broken into parts rather than at one go. And I think if networks are making seasons and spin offs, it’s because people are watching it.
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However, the web and more ‘real content’ has definitely become a threat to television?
I think TV is never going to go away. It had its takers during the Doordarshan phase, it was popular during Kyunki and Kahani, it was watched in times of Balika Vadhu, Sasural Genda Phool and Pratigya. And I think 20 years later also, it will have its audience. Cinema and OTT caters to a niche audience and the great thing about the entertainment industry is that it has something for everyone. Not everyone likes web shows or even has the luxury to watch it. I think they find TV shows closer to home — it’s about their stories, played right in their living room.
TV shows are still considered regressive. What do you have to say about it and do you feel content is seeing a change?
Absolutely it has changed and I really don’t think television is regressive. It offers what the audience wants, and if you call TV regressive, you are calling the audience the same too. Honestly, you can’t blame the medium as there are makers who have tried different concepts. I starred in Roshni, which was such a different classy show. There have been shows like 24, Everest, which tried to move out of the box. But the audience is not really ready to consume such content. TV reaches the most rural places in the country, and people there like watching kitchen drama for entertainment.
While Arhaan Mehll and Anupam Shyam also return to their characters, Mann Ki Awaaz Pratigya 2 will have Chetan Hansraj as the main antagonist. Starting March 15, the show will air Monday-Friday 8:30 pm on Star Bharat.
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