Sayantani Ghosh, who is currently seen playing Dr Anjali in Sanjivani, is happy that her negative portrayal is getting her a lot of praise. “It’s good that people hate me. My job’s done! (laughs),” she said. Sayantani, who has been a part of the industry for nearly two decades, is currently kicked about her first play Ovee – A Haunted Hostel.
The play also stars Rohit Roy and Ridhima Bedi. It revolves around a girl caught in supernatural happenings around her and how her psychiatrist friend helps her solve the paranormal mystery. Originally written by Sachin Mestry and Aniket Patil, the play has been adapted by Imtiyaj Patel and directed by Aniket Patil. It is being presented by BookMyShow.
In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Sayantani shared why stage was the next obvious thing for her to explore. She also revealed why reboots like Sanjivani have an instant connect with the audience.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
What made you try theatre this time?
After a successful run in Marathi and Gujarati, it is now being done on the Hindi platform. Theatre has always been on my bucket list. Every actor should experience it because to perform in front of a live audience is one of the toughest things and helps you grow as an artiste. I was approached in the past too but with daily soaps, it became difficult. This time around, I really wanted to challenge myself. So when this project came, I just jumped into it. Also, it is the first time supernatural is being attempted in theatre. Anyways, we all know we can’t have retakes on stage, so supernatural becomes trickier as light and sound play a huge factor. That makes it very challenging and a lot of fun too.
Which side of your personality did you discover on the stage this time?
It is not just about remembering your lines. It is also about knowing where the scene is because a lot of times something will go wrong. You can only hope for the best. In case your co-actor forgets the lines, you need to have that presence of mind to manage it. All these things really boosted my confidence. Though I have watched a lot of theatre, I had never done it. I was also very nervous. When I saw the way I executed myself on stage, that really motivated me. So, one big takeaway is the confidence boost for sure!
Does it become easy for a TV actor to adapt to theatre?
Because of a certain level of experience, you already have a presence of mind and basic level of confidence. Despite nervousness, at the back of my mind, I know even if anything goes wrong, I have those many years of experience to balance and battle it out on the spot. Even voice modulation and throw are very important in theatre. But the flip side is after so many years of TV, you kind of get into an auto-pilot mode. At times, you cannot relearn yourself. In TV, there was a comfort zone that I was getting into. So I wanted to push my boundaries and it’s beautifully happening with me.
You are a part of Sanjivani, a reboot of the 2002 series. What’s your take on the current trend of remakes?
In my opinion, TV is going through a phase where the audience wants a change. There’s been an overdose of supernatural for some time. And with the influx of the OTT platforms Netflix and Amazon, there’s also demand for stories close to real life.
If you talk about Sanjivani, it has a plus point. Of course, it is a TV drama, but then it kind of has some sense of reality to it. It’s not one of those quintessential daily soaps. People used to say why there’s an overdose. If one channel has shown a daayan (witch), why is every channel doing the same now. This is a debate which can go on and on because ultimately only such kind of shows get ratings. There is a section of society which is watching it. As an audience, if I switch on a channel or any platform, I would want a bouquet of things to choose from. As I said, there’s a relatability and Sanjivani was such a big brand. When we started the show, we somehow knew that it’ll have a recall value. But we never anticipated that it’ll have this much. We were blown away! It obviously puts a lot of pressure on us but it is a plus for us because we are instantly connecting with the audience.
You have played varied kind of roles on TV. What has been more satisfying?
I can’t pick and choose! Whatever I have learnt has been on the job. I have played negative and positive roles. The shows – whether successful or not successful – have taught me something. I didn’t even know that I wanted to be an actor. It just happened. Even before I realised, I was deep into this profession. I very humbly would say that I am one of those actors who picks all kinds of roles. And I have been blessed that the industry has given me such opportunities. I have done Santoshi Maa which was completely negative. Then I also did Naamkaran where I played a positive role. I have learnt something from all of these roles.
Ovee – A Haunted Hostel had its first show in New Delhi on September 7.