Payal Rohatgi was left heartbroken as Munawar Faruqui was announced as the winner of Kangana Ranaut-hosted Lock Upp last week. Even though Payal emerged as a runner-up, she walked out of the set without giving any media interviews and was conspicuously missing from the success bash.
Three days later, in a conversation with indianexpress.com, Payal said she has moved on and is feeling fine. “Everybody plays to win and I was upset at that moment. Yes, it took me some time, but now I am feeling okay.”
The Dhol actor also said that it’s the love of her fans that has made everything special for her post the show. Stating that she is grateful for the love, Payal said, “I was mostly in the bottom two and it would get frustrating for me. I have been around for so many years, and people do connect with me and my opinions. I am so thankful to know that people do love me and now Payal Army and Team Payal are part of my life.”
Throughout the journey, Payal Rohatgi had been vociferous that a player like Munawar Faruqui shouldn’t win the show. When asked whether losing to him was more painful, the actor said, “I never considered him a competition. I always believe that God has a plan, and if something doesn’t work for you, maybe he has a better plan. I was against myself in the show, and throughout my journey, I fought for myself. I did what I did and I am just happy that people could connect with me. The one who won was never my competition.”
A lot of the stand-up comedian’s fans had criticised the runner-up for sharing old videos of Munawar Faruqui, where he allegedly hurt religious sentiments. Defending herself, Payal said that when Munawar could talk about her in his comedy act in the finale, she too has the right to talk about him. “He said that my videos shouldn’t get uploaded. So if my teammate dug up a video of him talking about my God, what’s wrong with that. People should know who does politics on religion and plays a victim card on the show. I don’t think winning a trophy is the end, as reality show contestants have a never ending journey. He said things about me, and I wanted to have the last word. Also, I think, be it my fans or my social media team, everyone has the right to have a point of view.”
On the show, Payal Rohatgi had almost no connection among contestants, a move that was even tagged as a strategy. Stating that she couldn’t force people to side with her, the actor said that she takes time to forge relationships. “And when I do, people backstab me, as you saw in the show. However, now that the show is over, I have let go of everything. There is no bitterness, and I would connect with everyone in my own sweet time. I am already in touch with Siddharth Sharma, Kaaranvir Bohra, Sara Khan, Poonam Pandey, and even Mandana Karimi,” she said. But what about Anjali Arora and Munawar Faruqui, with whom she shared a volatile relationship. “I won’t force anyone. If they ever want to connect, my heart is open. I also think Sangram ji will definitely be in touch with everyone.”
Co-contestant, Zeeshan Khan post his eviction had spoken about being called a terrorist by Payal. Discussing the incident, the actor said her statement was twisted to suit his narrative. “I never called him a terrorist. Many statements, not just mine, were interpreted in a different ways throughout the show. Zeeshan is a good boy and was a strong competition. I am happy for him, and his growth in life,” she said, adding that she has no regrets about anything she said or did on Lock Upp. “I wasn’t violent towards anyone. When I am confined in a place and people come on to me, how do I tell them to back off? I am not ashamed of anything I said or did.”
Given Payal Rohatgi’s controversial public image, she said that people could finally see the intention behind her actions, adding that it validated her efforts. She also mentioned how Kangana Ranaut, who had accused her of piggybacking on other people’s controversies realised how others took her help to get footage on the show. “It was a compliment for me when she said contestants piggybacked on me to be seen. Since she was the queen of the jail, for her to notice and appreciate that, was a big thing. On the first day, I had an argument with her for I did not believe in her statements, but life came full circle.”
The actor opened up about her past secrets, be it using black magic, being in rehab to facing infertility issues on Lock Upp. Sharing that while it was an emotionally challenging time for her, being on a reality show meant she should be honest. “I did not want to hide facts of my life like many others did. I love my fans and if they are investing their time on me, I should be honest,” she said, adding that her family and close ones support her decision and are cool about her talking on the platform. But what if it’s used against her by trolls? “I am a badass, and know how to handle it,” she said with a smile.
As Payal shared that she’s waiting for some good scripts to resurrect her acting career, we asked her about her wedding plans with Sangram Singh. The former wrestler had proposed marriage to her on the show. With a laugh, she replied, “I will give you Sangram’s number. Speak to him and get the date and venue out from him.”