Sakshi Tanwar, telly’s Parvati bhabhi, returns from a self-imposed sabbatical..
catches up with her...
After a long-running prime time TV show, can a small-budget movie like Coffee House be an ideal launch for Parvati bhabhi?
I didn’t think twice before signing the movie. The director, Gurbir Singh Grewal, is someone I started my TV career with. He had offered me a show when I didn’t even know I had it in me to become an actress. I never looked back after he launched me. When he called me for Coffee House, I wasn’t planning to do a movie. But I felt that it might just be good idea to start my movie career with him.
Will Kavita, your character in Coffee House, break the eight-year-old image of Parvati?
The image of Parvati bhabhi has stuck with me for so long that it has become a part of my existence. But at the end of the day, one has to risk trying out something new. Otherwise, you wouldn’t know if people would love you as much if you played someone different.
Wasn’t Coffee House supposed to release last year?
Grewal saab had called me for the role in 2007. I guess postproduction has taken a while.
Kahaani Ghar Ghar kii was still on then. Did you consult Ekta Kapoor on your decision to switch to the movies?
No, I didn’t ask her permission because there was no issue over blocking dates. I had wrapped up the Kahaani.. shoot by then. This film wasn’t going to intrude in any way. But Ekta always knew I was doing the movie.
Do you miss Kahaani..?
When you’re attached to something for a long time, you do feel the pain of parting and Kahaani.. lasted almost a decade. On the last day of the shoot, it struck me that I wasn’t going to be seeing these actors every day. I wouldn’t be reporting for shoots. It was like a colourful chapter in my life which had ended. But I’m also happy that the show came to a logical conclusion.
That was six months ago. What did you do in the interim?
I was on a self-imposed sabbatical, holidaying in the U K and the U S for a month. I have relatives and friends there. I’d worked for eight long years and I deserved the break. After I returned, I spent a month in my hometown, Alwar. A friend needed help with her show.
The channel had approved of it suddenly. I helped her with production.
Most of Ekta Kapoor’s lead actors end up working with her again. You’ve only done Kahaani Hamaaray Mahabharat ki. You should ask this question to Ekta. She hasn’t offered me another show and don’t ask me why.
Kahaani Hamaaray Mahabharat ki ended abruptly.
(Shrugs) My part was over by then so it didn’t affect me. I loved Ganga, it was only for a few episodes but it was a departure from Parvati.
Kiran Karmarkar was playing Shantanu. So wasn’t it like the Parvati-Om pair was back?
Kiran and I would often joked about this. Maybe that was the idea behind casting us as Ganga and Shantanu. And the response was good.
Smriti Iraani and you were once touted as competitors..
(Cuts in) We weren’t and will never be competitors. When we were hosting Yeh Hai Jalwa, she’d told me that we would be asked this question. And bingo, we were! By umpteen people. We would call each other up and laugh about it.
She has moved into production. Do you intend to follow suit?
No, hats off to her. She’s good at multi-tasking. She’s a homemaker, actress, social worker and
producer, all rolled in one. I can’t do half as much, forget all of it. She’s good at giving instructions.. I can only follow instructions.
It’s been curtains for several saas-bahu shows.. is it the end of a genre?
There was a time when we had Buniyaad and Humlog. Then, Shri Krishna, Mahabharat and Ramayan ruled the rooster. Followed by Kyunki Saas bhi Kabhi Bahu thi and Kahaani Ghar Ghar kii.
Right now, it’s springtime on TV. The old leaves have fallen.. new leaves are replacing them. Newer concepts, serious issues and lighter shows coexist. Entertainment has a new meaning.
Have you been watching the new popular bahu?
(Smiles) Balika Vadhu? Yes, I have been following it. It’s such a good show. I like Surekhaji (Sikri) and that little Mrs (Avika Gor). She’s a fabulous bahu!
Why are you so media shy?
I’m just shy and my family is shyer. So, unless I have something worthwhile to discuss, I keep my distance. And I was doing just one show all these years. Everything about it had been put down in print. What more could I possibly talk about?
One doesn’t know much about your family.
I have my parents. My elder sister is married to an army guy. I have a brother, bhabhi, nieces and nephews. It’s a biggish happy family. I am the youngest and the most protected.
When do you intend to tie the knot?
Not now, for sure.
Don’t your parents nag you?
Nah! They just let me be. I’ll decide whom I want to marry and when.
Don’t men find you intimidating?
You should ask them that! How would I know what a man thinks when he looks at me?
In Luck by Chance, Konkona Sen Sharma’s character turns to TV after failing as a film actress. Comment.
I haven’t seen the film, so I can’t comment from that perspective. But I can confidently say that the divide between the two mediums is fast diminishing.
Aren’t you doing more movies?
I’m doing one more.. it’s nearly complete. But I can’t divulge details.
Will you return to TV?
Acting for me will never be restricted to a particular medium. As long as I get something worth my time, the medium doesn’t matter. Star Utsav has started airing re-runs of Kahaani.. and Kyunkii.. again.
How do you feel when you look back?
I know.. Smriti and I shot the promos for it. I caught some of the initial episodes and I think I was terrible. But I’m happy that people are still watching it. The kahani goes on..