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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

'Tulsi shall remain Smriti's property'

IANS  Mumbai, June 12, 2007
First Published: 15:21 IST(12/6/2007) | Last Updated: 17:12 IST(12/6/2007)

Ektaa Kapoor clears the air about actress Smriti Irani's enigmatic exit from the seven-year-long series Kyunkii Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi saying she has not left the show but taken a three-month break.

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"Please understand Smriti is not leaving the show. I love her. She's taking a three-month leave. Tulsi is Smriti's property and she can get it any time she wants it back. Gautami is only keeping it in safe custody until Smriti decides to re-shoot," Ekta told IANS.

"However, in her absence we do need another Tulsi. We can't have Kyunkii Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi without Tulsi," she added.

What about Gautami when Smriti comes back?
We'll work something out for Gautami the day Smriti returns. We've spoken about it. It'd be a clean exit for Gautami. We don't want Gautami to step on Smriti's toes."

Apparently, Smriti had a miscarriage recently and has been advised to take it easy.

Excerpts from the interview:

Your 32nd birthday (June 7) coincided with the departure of Smriti Irani from Kyunkii Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.
Yeah, what a gift to myself (laughs). I got back from Tirupati only to hear these strange rumours about Smriti being asked to leave the show. Smriti just called to wish me happy birthday.

Look, Tulsi is Smriti's property and she can get it any time she wants it back. Gautami is only keeping it in safe custody until Smriti decides to return on the show.

Have you discussed these things with Smriti?
Of course! Just four days back we were together. She told me she needs a break for health reasons. We sat together and I even discussed with her how her character was going to die. We laughed and joked about why we weren't fighting when we were supposed to.

I'd be the last person to not understand a health situation. I immediately agreed to let her go with the offer that she can return any time she wants.

However, in her absence we do need another Tulsi. We can't have Kyunkii Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi without Tulsi. At the same time I've made it clear to her that she's welcome back any time she wants.

Apparently, you made her work even when she was unwell recently?
Who's this person who's said that I made her work after a miscarriage? I'm a woman. You think I'd do that to another woman? That's going too far! The fact is that after her illness she got back to work for her serial "Virrudh". Only then she got back to us for Kyunkii...

In the last eight months we haven't taken more than eight days a month from her. And that too, for not more than four hours a day! So where was she exerting herself for us? If she's going to work in three shows she's going to be tired. But we had worked out an amicable solution.

Apparently you made her work even when she was getting married.
Her wedding was an impromptu decision. We didn't even know the date. She shot with us because she hadn't told us about her plans.

There have been times when I've cancelled my holiday to return to Mumbai because she had to leave for her own reasons. I've always been very accommodating about Smriti. And so has she.

So why has she left?
She has not left. She needed a break. Her own shows are new and they cannot do without her. But a seven-year-old show can take a break from her. It was the right thing to do. All of Wednesday when Gautami as replacement for Tulsi was made known, Smriti was calling me frantically to know what she should say. But I was inaccessible.

We made a mistake. We should've cleared the air right from the start when she got ready to take a temporary leave. Please understand, Smriti is not leaving the show. I love her. She's taking a three-month leave.

What about Gautami when Smriti comes back?
We'll work something out for Gautami the day Smriti returns. We've spoken about this. It'd be a clean exit for Gautami. We don't want Gautami to step on Smriti's toes.

So Smriti is coming back?
Yes, anytime she's ready. To think we'd ask her to leave is so absurd.

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