Shalini Kapoor on the trials and triumphs of playing Durga.. in conversation with Roshmila Bhattacharya.
Could you have ever imagined that you would be playing a goddess some day?
For years I've been dreaming of doing something really grand. You can't get any bigger than Jai Maa Durga. My friends and family insist that it's perfect casting since I'm quite a firebrand.
Over a 100 girls auditioned for the role. How did you get lucky?
I think it was the mukut. They'd been asking for it for hours but it took its time coming. None of the other girls could audition, wearing it. I was busy with a shoot and arrived only close to midnight. That's when the mukut arrived too. So I had my crowning glory. <b1>
Bagging Jai Maa Durga wasn't easy. Money.. dates.. contracts.. there were so many details to be worked out. I had never wanted something so badly. I was so tense that I started running a temperature. The day I was confirmed, my fever shot up to 102.
The mukut must weigh a ton?
It does. On the first day of the shoot after taking it off, I threw up. (Laughs) Now when I'm on the Ardhangini sets, I miss it.
Was it easy getting into character?
On the first day, I had to change my sari a dozen times because the producers couldn't decide which colour of red suited the Mata best. I was wondering what difference a certain shade of crimson would make. I understood when I saw the rushes.
We're told that you have turned into a vegetarian since you started shooting for Jai Maa Durga?
When I'm shooting it's shudh shakahari bhojan. They don't even serve eggs on the sets. I've always been a Mata bhakt. Since I bagged this role, I've become even more devout. There are so many mannats I have to repay.
A time may come when you might have to be true to your devi image even in real life. Would that be difficult?
(Thoughtfully) Well, I'm normally a salwar kameez kind of a girl. I'm still young. I like to dress up and go out. I'll tackle this when the time comes.
Arun Govil (Ram), Deepika (Sita) and even Arvind Trivedi (Raavan) all went into politics. Would you want to be a neta too some day?
There was a time when I wanted to be a politician like Sushma Swaraj. But politics has become dirty business today. I was in the gym when I heard that Benazir Bhutto had been shot dead. I don't know if I'd want to get into rajneeti. Playing Maa Durga is a big enough power trip.
Ever thought about the movies?
Sure, but right now there's no time to think beyond Jai Maa Durga and Ardhangini. It's my birthday today and I'm still in the studio.. waiting for the clock to strike 10 so I can run off to my family and friends.