Balika Vadhu took Indian television by storm in 2008 and has managed to stay at the top with several twists in the storyline. But here’s the biggest twist yet: lead actor Pratyusha Banerjee has just quit. “Everyone I’ve spoken to is shocked,” says Pratyusha Banerjee, who played the now-iconic Anandi in the Colors show for almost three years. The 21-year-old was cast after a massive talent hunt. She will be on air as Anandi till March 4.
What’s the reason behind your exit?
It was getting stressful. I couldn’t shoot for long hours as my mother was unwell and just had surgery. Though the unit was very supportive, I can’t compromise with my mom’s health. It was a mutual decision with the channel to quit. They were finding an actor to fit the role.
Are you sad about leaving?
I am not, as we (the team) will all meet again, if not in a show then at some event. Nothing can go on forever and my journey in Balika Vadhu ends here. Whatever I am today is because of this show. Now I want to use my experience for other things.
How did the cast react?
Many people in the cast didn’t know. Only Siddharth Shukla (Shiv) and Smita Bansal (Sumitra) did. Shashanak Vyas (Jagya) was in Bangkok, so I haven’t been able to tell him. He will be shocked.
What will you remember about your time in Balika Vadhu?
I remember the first day of shoot when I gave 25 retakes and the last day when I gave a perfect take in one shot. That will be memorable.
A vacation to Ladakh, and then to Goa with my girl gang.
How did your family and boyfriend Makrand Malhotra react to this news?
My family supports me since they trust me not to do anything wrong. Makrand was more than cool as now he knows I will be able to spend more time with him.
When will you be back on TV?
Wait for a bit, let people miss me. I’ll be back soon... in a modern role, without a ghunghat (veil).
The new Anandi
With Pratyusha Banerjee exiting Balika Vadhu, makers of the show and the channel have finalised Toral Rasputra for the popular role of Anandi. Toral has appeared in several shows, including Dhoom Machaao Dhoom (Disney), Rishton Ki Dor (Sony) and Chhoti Si Zindagi (Zee). Her most prominent role so far has been as Rasal in Kesariya Balam Aavo Hamare Des (Sahara One).
A still from Balika Vadhu aired on COLORS TV.