She made her debut as Rishi Kapoor's hottie heroine, 32 years ago in Barood. More recently, she has played a funny woman, a screaming shrew..but on TV, it’s for the first time that she’s going nasty (read negative) by replacing Aroona Irani in Maayka.
How come you agreed to replace Aroona Irani as the vamp in Maayka?
See, it’s flattering to be considered for a part that Aroona Irani did.. plus the serial is being produced by Dheeraj Kumar whom I’ve known for years. <b1>
And then, of couse, there was the fact that I’ve never played a negative role in any TV serial before. Honestly, I was getting fed of comic roles. And also of emptying hundreds of glycerine bottles for (the serial) Bhabhi. Mercifully, the producers of Bhabhi have now made the Chopra family disappear. I’m pretty relieved to play Durga in Maayka now.
Aroona had done a good job but she was much too busy with the production of her three serials.
Is it true that you had threatened to quit Bhabhi?
Yes. In fact, I’d even asked the producers to make my character, Reshma, negative but they wouldn’t listen to me. I was fed up of delivering the same old stereotyped expression in episode after episode. I longed to show my negative side. Today, the audiences want mirch masala .. they feel too much sweetness is diabetic. Even my in-laws told me that they were bored of seeing me all goodgoody.. they want me to be nasty.
Vidya Balan who played your daughter in Hum Paanch is now a big star. Are you in touch with her?
Not really. In this business no one has the time to keep in touch. But Vidya does call up to wish me on my birthday and also on the birthdays of my husband and daughter. <b2>
Why do you think Ekta Kapoor’s second season of Hum Paanch was rejected by the viewers? That was unfortunate, naah?
Maybe the new generation could not relate to the new version. Also Kapil Kapoor who had directed the original series had walked out. Ekta had to ask two or three other directors to direct the serial.
I believe that you depend for feedback largely from your daughter.
Yes, she’s quite a critic. Sarah, who’s studying in the tenth standard, liked me a lot in Hum Paanch. But she didn’t want to watch me in Bhabi at all. I’d really love Sarah to become an actress some day. Although my husband (Tariq Shah) and I are actors, Sarah wants to become an astronaut.
Why do you think sitcoms are no longer popular on television, and are not able to sustain like in the past?
Simple! That’s because there is a dearth of good comedies on the television. Few directors have a sense of raising laughs and comic timing. I would be shocked when some directors would okay a scene even when it lacked a punch-line.
Have you said good bye to film acting despite the appreciation you received for Priyadarshan’s Hungama?
I haven’t accepted any other serial besides Maayka because I’m keen on films too. In the last four years, I’ve acted in five serials non-stop. While serials mean that I have to slog every day, for a film it’s not that hectic.
It was terrific to work with Priyadarshan and Sangeet Sivan (Kya Kool Hai Hum). Right now, I am acting in Neeraj Vohra's Dil Sacha Chehra Jhoota in which I have been paired with Paresh Rawal once again after Hungama. (Laughs) I think we have great chemistry.