Sakshi Tanwar, expected to make her TV comeback with Ekta Kapoor’s Bade Acche Lagte Hain, is Benares-bound. The actor plays Sanskrit teacher Sunny Deol’s wife in Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi’s Mohalla Assi, which has been shot extensively in the pious city on the bank of the Ganges, and is set between 1989 and 1999.
"That’s when the Indian economy changed forever. We opened our doors to foreign shores. Our lifestyles, choices and perspectives were altered," recalls Tanwar. "I must have been in my teens or a little older but whatever was happening wasn’t missing anyone’s eye but not everything is clear in memory. This was one of the reasons I took up this film. It takes me through all that happened during the liberalisation period through the eyes of a small-town housewife."
The actor gave the nod without much thought when it was offered to her nearly six months ago. "Mrs Dwivedi met me casually and narrated the story to me. Before I knew, I was on board. Little did I know then that I’d be paired with Sunny Deol," beams Tanwar. "But when I was told that the desi macho man was my reel hero, I was quite thrilled, and apprehensive. I felt the latter because he’s one of the industry’s biggest names. And I’m barely a film old."
One of small screen’s most popular actors, Tanwar, last seen in Balika Vadhu and Crime Patrol, says that she found Deol approachable and friendly. "Barring the first few days, he was on the sets everyday with me. I don’t know about other top stars, but he gave me my cues, helped me rehearse lines, and even get my scenes right," she reminisces. "There are too many public perceptions about him. But for me, he’ll always be the kind-hearted macho man."
Tanwar, completing the patchwork with Deol right now in Benares, says “Mohalla Assi may not be one of the biggest commercial releases of the year, but it’s one of the most creatively satisfying experiences of my career.”