The actress makes her Hindi daily soap debut with Durgesh Nandinii. Varsha Usgaonkar, who has acted in several Marathi serials and also a few Hindi films, says, “I have done episodic shows but this is my first daily serial.”
Usgaonkar says that she was paranoid about accepting a daily serial: “I have heard that the shooting schedules can be a grind. I didn’t want to over-exert myself and then start hating my work. At the same time, I was tired of doing Marathi films and serials. As an actress I don’t want to do just one thing and stagnate.
“When Shobhna Desai, the producer called me up, I was initially hesitant. I took it up only because they called me last November and said they were going on air in February. So, I had that much time to decide,” she says.
She plays the badi bahu as she describes her character of Gitanjali: “She and her husband (Anupam Bhattacharya) are grey characters in the show. Durgesh Nandinii comes to their house and teaches them a lesson,” narrates Usgaonkar.
Ask her if it has any similarity to Mahesh Manjrekar’s film Jis Des Mein Ganga Rehta Hai which featured Govinda as the village bumpkin and she says, “Well I had seen the promos of that film, but all I remember of it is the old Jis des mein ganga behti hai song.. All I can tell you is this serial is based on a Bengali novel called Durgesh Nandini.”
Usgaonkar says since it’s early days, the production house doesn’t have a bank of episodes.
“But I’m sure by next month, it will all settle down. Fortunately, I am not mentally hassled about any other commitment, so I can focus all my energies on this show,” she remarks.
A few months ago, she was seen in the Marathi serial called Tujhya Vina. How does she compare the functioning of a Hindi daily soap unit vis-a-vis a Marathi one?
“Hindi serials are all about grandeur. Earlier we would shoot in bungalows, today there are lavish sets.Technically too, we have improved a great deal. Marathi serials score in terms of their literary value and content.
“Today’s Hindi serials imitate films, they are larger than life. There is no realism left like we saw in Hum Log. I can’t identify at all with the shows today. The characters, the situations are no longer simple and real,” she ends.