Chirpy yesteryear actress Tanuja has appeared on the small screen as a ghost in the new series Babbanbhai Vs Bimlatai. She says she accepted the role because it was different from the saas-bahu sagas.
The serial comes every Thursday on the newly launched general Hindi entertainment channel 9X.
"I kept receiving a lot of offers. They were all saas-bahu sagas where I had to play the head of the family. I cannot see myself doing these soaps that go on and on," Tanuja told IANS in an e-mail interview. <b1>
"When I was offered this, I liked the concept. When I heard about the character, I freaked out. I thought to myself, what can I do with this character that imparts a social message in a funny way. I was happy that I would be doing something to make people laugh," she added.
The serial sees her playing Bimalatai, a social worker who helps children and youngsters in slums.
"During one of Bimalatai's visits she meets Babban, who is following in the footsteps of his father, an underworld don. On his first assignment as a don, he hits a guy but fumbles and loses his car keys. I get hold of the keys and manipulate him.
"The next time, I chance upon him at a meeting with a corrupt minister. Babban comes to kill him, I try to dissuade him and in the scuffle he is shot and I also get hurt. I am declared brain-dead, while he requires a heart transplant to survive. My heart is transplanted in his body. After he recovers Babban realises that he cannot carry on with his misdeeds.
"I appear as a ghost with a daily newspaper and coax him to stop crimes and criminals. I threaten to strangle him if he doesn't follow my orders."
The actress, who started her career in 1950 with Hamari Beti and acted in films such as Jewel Thief and Haathi Mere Saathi, says another plus point was that the producers agreed to all her terms and conditions.
"It is a weekly, which suits me fine. It's great fun doing this serial."
The actress teams up with Gaurav Gera, who played Jassi's bespectacled, well-oiled friend Nandu in Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin. She has a great tuning with him.
"Before we did the serial, I had met him in Canada when he had done a small role in Tanisha's Neal 'N' Nikki. Also, I used to watch Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin and loved his character Nandu in it. I thought he was cute in that. I was a fan of his," she said.
"We share our birthdays, though we are 100 years apart! I think he's extremely mature for his age and a multi-faceted actor. Both of us improvise on the script and dialogue to make it better. He is a great co-actor."
The actress has three films on the floor. One of them is being directed by Satish Kaushik. It is untitled and there's Hal-e-Dil. I am also acting in a Bengali film."
Her daughter Kajol, who took a sabbatical from films after tying the knot with Ajay Devgan, is coming with her hubby in "U, Me Aur Hum".
Asked about the film, Tanuja said: "Ajay has been inviting me to see the rushes but I have told him I will watch it when it's complete and in the theatre on the day of the premiere. I can wait till then."