Bengali girl Pratyusha Banerjee, who has stepped into the shoes of Avika Gor to play the older Anandi in Balika Vadhu, says her dream has finally come true.
"I actually used to think that if Anandi ever grows up in this serial then it would be so nice if I get to play her character. I never thought that my dream will actually come true," the 19-year-old girl told IANS in an interview.
Balika Vadhu, launched in 2008, started by depicting the story of child bride Anandi, who is married off to an equally young boy Jagdish. It traced the journey of the girl, who fails to have a joyful childhood and is bound by her in-laws' strict customs.
The show has now taken a five year leap and Pratyusha will be seen as grown up Anandi. She was selected after a nationwide SMS poll.
The girl from Jamshedpur pipped Lucknow-based Nivedita Tiwari and Mumbai's Ketaki Chitale to bag the role.
When asked whether she is nervous to play a character that has been so famous with people, the young actress said: "No I'm not nervous at all, I'm just very excited."
"It is definitely challenging because there are so many expectations attached to this character. People have loved it in the past, so it is very important to fulfil those expectations. I'll do my best.
"The basic character of Anandi will remain the same. She will be the same, very chirpy but poised too. The main changes will only be the few things that a grown up girl does for her family and for her husband," she said.
Pratyusha, the only child of her parents, lives alone in Mumbai in a paying guest accommodation.
"This is my first acting assignment. First, my parents were shocked to hear that I want to be an actress, but they trust me a lot. They thought if I want to do it, then they should let me do it. So they have been very supportive. In fact now they are very happy," she said.
So when did acting bug bit her?
"I've always been associated with cultural activities. I'm a classical dancer and I sing too. I used to take part in plays and theatre activities in school and college. But it was only when I did a play called 'Kalidas' that I thought that lets try my luck in this field. I was 17-years-old then," informed Pratyusha, who is pursuing her graduation through distance education.