It’s been six years since Astitva...Ek Prem Kahani went off air, and its lead actress is raring to make a comeback. Niki Aneja Walia, whose character Simran made her a household name, was on a long sabbatical during which she got married and had twins.
“I have announced my return, but I have no show to come back to,” rues Walia, whose roles in Andaaz and Astitva...Ek Prem Kahani ensured she wasn’t another forgettable face on Indian TV. “After playing a dynamic 34-year-old gynaecologist who marries a 24-year-old man, anything else seems like a step backward,” she reasons. “I’m not doing this only to earn money. The characters we play are responsible for shaping so many opinions.”
Walia claims she gives several ideas to producers, but is shot down each time. “They all laugh and say ‘Niki ji ab yeh sab nahi chalta hai’. I don’t know what can beat Simran, but I have hope,” she says. “I’d love to play a desi Erin Brockovich. Even a negative role would do, as long as the role has character!”
The actress, who moved to the UK after marriage, is willing to shuffle between the countries, but refuses to return to the grind of daily soaps. “I can do cameos in them, but movies would fit my schedule better. I haven’t signed anything yet, because most producers aren’t aware that I’m looking for roles,” she explains.
Last year, Walia appeared on the small screen briefly, with a cameo in Ghar Ek Sapna. Now, she wants to experiment. “I love drama, but I think I have nailed it. I want to do comedy now,” she says. “It’s too late to change the daily scenario, but I can surely do a weekly show. Only, they shouldn’t change the story in a flash — kill someone off, give them plastic surgery etc!