Shweta Tiwari, who continues to be remembered as the original Prerna of Kasautii Zindagii Kay, now plans to undo the tag. The actor, who is returning to acting after a hiatus of three years with two simultaneous shows – Mere Dad Ki Dulhan (Sony TV) and Hum Tum Aur Them (AltBalaji), might have taken time to sign the projects, but she believes they will help her garner fans from the current generation.
In Mere Dad Ki Dulhan, Shweta plays a vibrant woman Guneet Sikka, the tenant of her co-actor Varun Badola. How the two, who are poles apart, fall in love forms the crux of the story.
On the other hand, Shweta’s digital debut Hum Tum Aur Them features her as a single mother who finds solace in fellow actor Akshay Oberoi as the two struggle to make their kids accept their companionship. The show, which began streaming recently, has grabbed a lot of attention for the intimate scenes between Shweta and Akshay.
In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Shweta talked about coming out of her comfort zone while shooting the bold scenes, and how daughter Palak is her go-to person.
Excerpts from the conversation:
Q. You are making a comeback after three years. How important has 2019 become for you?
2019 was good to me in every manner, both personally and professionally. It’s not that I wasn’t getting work, but I felt bad refusing it. I wasn’t getting something which would instantly make me say – let’s do it! Then Deeya (producer Deeya Singh) came over with a web series (Hum Tum Aur Them), because she knows the kind of stuff I would agree to. This one was very interesting, and I got excited to do it. It’s shooting was still not over, and Deeya offered me Mere Dad Ki Dulhan. Deeya comes up with subjects which I am just not able to refuse. When you hear a story and you already begin acting it out in your mind, that role is meant for you.
Both Mere Dad Ki Dulhan and Hum Tum Aur Them has you playing a mother. How much did you add to the two characters of Guneet Sikka and Shiva from your personal experience?
I don’t add anything of my own. Those are fictional characters and they have a different journey. Such characters are created from a writer’s perspective and then it’s decided which actress can give life to it. She won’t bring anything of her into it. So whenever I am shooting, I leave behind Shweta Tiwari at home. And when I return, I leave that character on set. If I begin to add my personal self, all the characters will become the same.
How was it working with Varun Badola in Mere Dad Ki Dulhan?
This isn’t my first experience with Varun (Badola). Though we are working for the first time, I have known him for long. We have been friends for several years.
Your character of Guneet Sikka in the show is a free-spirited woman. Tell us more.
The best part about Guneet Sikka is her honesty. She is so real. We don’t get to see such characters now. Today’s shows have made up characters who will laugh and talk in a certain manner. And we are all Guneet Sikka in some way or the other. Though I am not like her. She is still unmarried at 40. I got married twice (laughs)!
Coming to Hum Tum Aur Them, do you think such a show where you have done intimate scenes will change the audience perspective towards you? Especially fans who’ve seen you as Prerna all these years. You were so affected that you even wrote an emotional Instagram post about it.
It will definitely change. I said yes to this show first and I got its script only later. When I saw intimate scenes, kissing and all in the script, I got tensed up. Then I discussed it with my daughter who told me, ‘Mom, you are the 90s heroine. Now, if you plan to retire from acting, at least retire as a modern-day actress. You just have five years in hand. After that, nobody will cast you as a heroine. You just have few fans who are basically fans of Prerna. If you do this show, you might lose them because they are aunties from the 90s, but you will gain fans from the new generation that doesn’t watch those shows (Kasauti).’
I thought over it and realised everyone is doing it. Even Amitabh Bachchan kissed in Black. Shah Rukh Khan is doing it. So I said yes. But then, I only knew about the kissing part, so when I went on the sets and realised it’s much more than that, I locked myself in my room and started saying ‘I can’t do it!’. In the script, they mention that it’s an intimate scene, but what exactly happens in the process of shooting, you won’t know. But the show’s team gave me time to adjust because they knew it was my first time. They were very cooperative.
So how did you plan to play a character like Shiva in Hum Tum Aur Them?
They wanted Shiva to look innocent, yet be with this man with all that passion. So there was a thin line. Though I was tensed up shooting such scenes, but now when I see it, I don’t think Shiva looks conscious anywhere, yet looks extremely innocent too. What Deeya could see in me to play Shiva, I hadn’t seen that myself.
You are very close to your daughter Palak. How much does she influence your decisions?
You might have many friends, but you are vulnerable in front of only a few of them. For me, it is my daughter, and she has been my punching bag since she was too small. I used to take out all my frustration on her, and she used to hear me out patiently. Now she has grown up and learnt to give suggestions too. She is very sorted, and I am very happy about that.
Does she plan to make her acting debut too?
She isn’t planning it right now because before entering the industry, she wants to finish her studies. Palak says she doesn’t want to look like someone who has come leaving her education mid-way. She wants to come across like Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan (laughs). I can only give her a car and driver, beyond that, she’ll pave her own way.
You’ve been in the business for almost two decades. Which has been your most favourite character?
All the characters have been my favourite, but still the one role that remains close to my heart was Sweety of Parvarrish, maybe because of the kids.
You have been the winner of Bigg Boss 4. How do you look back at that journey?
Bigg Boss is a meditation. You get to know so many things about yourself that you will never do in your normal life. In normal life, if I don’t like you, I won’t talk to you. But in Bigg Boss, it doesn’t matter if I like you or not, I still have to deal with you. Because you have limited options and that’s where you learn about yourself that what will you become in such a situation. And I realised in the show that I have a lot of patience.
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