Hina Khan started off her acting career at a young age. She bagged the lead role in her debut show Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai on Star Plus, in which she initially played a teenager. Eight years later, the actor has decided to move on. Feeling emotional, Hina says no one can understand what she is going through. Although the actor is firm that she will not return to reprise the role, she maintains that one should “never say never”.
How are you feeling about leaving the show?
It will affect me once I wrap up the shoot. It has been a long and fruitful journey for me. I am the only lead actor on Indian TV who has been part of a popular show for eight years. It’s a record.
Did you decide to quit or did the makers want to kill your character Akshara?
I wanted to move on. I felt my character had done everything, and there was nothing left to do anymore. I also knew that, as my role was central to the plot, the story couldn’t focus on others until I was no longer part of it. I spoke to the makers in October and will be on the show till November-end.
When you joined, did you imagine the show would last so long?
Never. I didn’t expect anything, as I was in college when I auditioned and was cast for the role. I was thrilled to bag the lead in a TV show. After three years, we were prepared for the show to end at any time. But kept going for so long. It has been wonderful. People often ask me how I stayed on for so long. Many actors quit their shows in three or five years, but they are amazed that I stuck around for eight. I don’t think any actor can understand what I am going through.
Was it bittersweet?
It was a show that gave me everything I have in life. I formed bonds that will last forever. In the past few days, my co-stars haven’t been looking at me [directly], because if we make eye contact, we will start crying. It has been a sweet ending for me.
TV shows often bring back a dead character as a lookalike or with a dramatic twist. Will you return to the show?
I don’t have any plans to return. The makers have not shown the [character’s] dead body, and have left it [the event] ambiguous, but I am not coming back. They might be thinking that if the show works without me, it’s okay, or will call me back [if it doesn’t]. I had a word with Rajan sir (Shahi; producer). I told him I can’t wait to see how things develop. He said that’s fair. But in this industry, one can never say never.
What kind of reactions have you got about your exit?
People are surprised. Fans have been angry and I have received threatening messages such as, ‘We will not watch the show from now on’ and ‘We will hurt ourselves [if you don’t return]’. If they don’t want to watch the show, it’s their prerogative, but I don’t appreciate the messages. In fact, one girl sent a video of her holding a knife saying she would hurt herself if I quit. That was scary. I will put up a video on social media telling fans not to take such drastic steps.
What will you miss the most?
I will miss the routine. When I stop waking up to go to work every day, it will hit me. Right now, I am shooting the flashback and portions where people are imagining talking to me after my character’s death.
What’s next for you?
Since the news of my exit from the show broke, I have been getting offers for other shows, but I want to relax for a few months. I have been unwell since the past few months, as I had dengue and was diagnosed with kidney stones too. I am tired and want to rest. I don’t mind a weekly show but I will not do a daily soap.