Anil Merani speaks to Santok aka Aasiya Kazi about her debut role on the small screen soap Bandini, her experiences of working with co-star Ronit Roy and more...
So, Santok, your character in Bandini, falls in love with an old thakur?
(Smiles) I wouldn’t say she falls in love.. she makes adjustments.
What if you were ever in such a situation?
If a girl gets involved with an older guy under any situation, mutual understanding keeps them going. But I do feel that it would be tough for any girl to keep herself together in such a situation.
Yours isn’t the typical saas-bahu show. Isn’t that a risk?
I’m sure people are tired of that genre now. They’re ready for something new and we are giving them just that.
Are you aware of the caste system, which is the base of the show?
I knew the peripherals, I learnt about it in depth after the show rolled. I come from Ratnagiri.. which is a small town. And you know what? More than the caste system, I learnt pottery on the show.
How did you land the role?
I wanted to be an actress from the time I was a kid. I’ve participated in school plays. I’d auditioned for shows. But I guess it was written that I’d make my debut with Balaji Telefilms.
Did you know that your producer, Ekta Kapoor, is a task master?
Of course. But Ekta gets the best from her actors.. all with a positive approach. At the outset, I was extremely nervous.. especially at our first meeting. But she put me at ease, explained the concept and my role beautifully.
When I went for the audition, I didn’t know it was for the lead. My selection came as a pleasant shock. My family celebrated.. but it took a while for it to settle inside me.
How do you get along with Ronit Roy?
He’s a fabulous actor. When we started shooting, I wasn’t getting my cues right. He helped me get over that.
He’s a dream co-star. I’ve watched him in Kyunki Saas bhi Kabhi Bahu thi and Kasauti Zindagi Kay. He was impressive.. he still is.
What’s your back story?
I was born in Mumbai. I’m in FYJC at Bhavan’s College. My dad’s an engineer, mum’s a housewife. I have an elder brother.
Has life changed then?
All those who turned me away, now want to talk to me. I miss my college friends, I don’t have the time to see them.
Is it bye bye to studies?
I hope to complete my graduation in Arts. I’ve been a class topper.. so I don’t think it will be a problem handling studies and work. I’m not tense because I’ve scored enough to pass class 11. I have board exams next year.. I’ll have to think about them.
Will you pull out of the show next year?
Nope. I’ll handle that. My unit members go out of their way to accommodate me.