While Mihir Virani had three actors playing him (Amar Upadhyay, Inder Kumar and Ronit Roy), his better half has remained constant for nearly a decade.
But all that's soon going to change because Smriti Z Iraani is taking a break from Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi to make way for Gautami Kapoor.
Speculations about who would replace Iraani have been on for a while now, with the contenders being Padmini Kolhapure, Poonam Dhillon and Kapoor. When in a deadlock, the production house conducted an audience poll and Kapoor won by a few votes.
Says Balaji's deputy creative director, Nivedita Basu, "Yes, Gautami is the new Tulsi. The audience poll was a necessity We wanted to . know whom they would like to see as Tulsi. But I won't deny that I was a little partial towards Gautami since I've worked with her in Ghar Ek Mandir."
So why did Iraani quit the show? "I don't know the exact reason behind Smriti's exit but I guess she wanted a break. Also, actors get tired of playing the same character for years together," explains Basu.
Along with Kapoor, many new characters will be also be introduced. "The show will have a new look altogether," says Basu.
Kapoor is more than happy to accept the offer.
"I'm on top of the world. I couldn't have asked for more. Balaji had offered me a few shows and Kyunki… was one of them. But I didn't know I was being considered for Tulsi's character. It was finalised two days ago," she gushes.
About getting more votes than Kolhapure in the viewers' poll, she says, "I've won by a small margin. But that was sheer luck.. it doesn't prove that my acting skills are better than Padminiji. Both Padminiji and Smriti are superior to me in every aspect. As for taking over from Smriti, it's certainly a lot of pressure. I will take each day as it comes."
"Ram is thrilled," smiles Kapoor, about her husband Ram Kapoor's reaction. She adds, "He always asked me to wait for some thing substantial. I guess I was destined to do this."
Sudha Shivpuri aka Baa from Kyunkii.. isn't too pleased with the switch. She says, "Smriti was an integral part of the show and we had a special bond. But now she's busy with her own production house. I'm very upset, but noth ing is lifelong.
"I don't know whether viewers will accept the new Tulsi.. it's very uncertain. They might, they might not."