They’re television’s most-wanted jodi, they are mobbed on the streets, their popularity TRPS are zooming up. And so, here they are at the Café office for our Children’s Day issue. Avika Gor and Avinash Mukherjee talk.. nosey
Parents Gors and Mukherjees insist that we drive there even though I say it’s just at walking distance. Turns out I kick myself, the parents had a point. The jodi is mobbed.
A school has just ended for the day. Hordes of children accompanied by their parents stop on the streets. The names of the characters played by the tele-duo,“Anandi! Jagya!” are called out. Children follow our tightly knit group and grin at the couple, both of whom are 11 years old.
Mobikes halt mid-street, cell phone cameras click. Avika smiles for the camera as if she were to a manner born.
Avinash is a bit uncomfortable although he warms up and poses for the various shutterbugs too. Scared? He starts to nod and then shrugs, “Nahin, darta nahin.” Yet, his face is a picture of relief when the park comes in sight.. it’s empty.
Unless you count the caretaker’s wife who pulls out a dog-eared book and demands a “husband-wife autograph.” Our little ones take it in their stride, giggle and scrawl their signatures with a dramatic flourish.
We’re back in The Hindustan Times office.
The duo had previously played the junior versions of a prince and princess in Raajkumar Aryan in which, their parents insist, their chemistry was on par with
Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol.
Don’t know about that but we’d like them to be kids today. And they are. Dressed up in all their finery, the two are at effortless ease.
Avika borrows pins from the cleaning lady to fasten her chunari, they get together to checking out their photos in our archives, Avika is a delight, with an edge that comes close to precocity. But then you can see she’s innately intelligent.
Avinash, quieter, eats his cheese sandwiches and to while away time, draws a self-portrait on the conference room’s bulletin board which he erases before it can be photographed. “Not my best,” he remarks airily. Later, perched on the table, the duo only need one question, “Do you fight at all?” to initiate a dialogue:
Avika: We don’t fight.
Avinash: We do at times.
Avika: Haanh but for very small things.. like should we play Ludo or Snakes-and-Ladders? And then we end up playing both.. or something else.
Avinash: Like Business.
Avika: Okay, do you like playing the role of Jagdish in Balika Vadhu?
Avinash: Yes. He does masti, he studies.. he doesn’t have to shoot before a camera like I do. Do you like Anandi’s role?
Avika: Haanh.. it’s a role in which I can display all my talent.
Avinash: Which has been your best fan experience?
Avika: It was in Rajasthan..during the shaadi-wala episode. Arre the one in which I’m looking outside the window. This girl gave me a window-shaped frame with a painting of mine dressed up as a bride.
Avinash: Have you ever been to a mall in Mulund?
Avika: Why not a mall in Kandivli or Andheri?
Avinash: Achha baba, have you ever been to a mall?
Avika: Of course I have.
Avinash: Who has been the best fan in a mall?
Avika: Why’re you stuck with fans?
Avinash: Toh kya? AC ke baare mein poochhoon?
Avika: Does anyone tease you at school?
Avinash: Yeah, they call me Jaggu. You?
Avika: Bas! I have soo many names. Chuhiya, bindni, nak chhadi. No one calls me Avika. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Avinash: A star. You?
Avika: Miss Universe. Why do you want to become a star?
Avinash: To act in films that children like.
Avika: You like children more?
Avinash: I will na, when I grow up! Like how Hrithik Roshan did in Krrish. If I act in such a film, kids will want their mum-dad to take them for it. So I’ll become a star. Simple!
Avika: Who’s your favourite hero?
Avinash: Shah Rukh Khan.
Avinash: He acts well, that’s why.
Avika: What’s so special about him?
Avinash: He has a different style.
Avika: Kya style. Demonstrate.
Avika: Achha now you ask questions, I’m tired.
Avinash: Who’s your best friend?
Avinash: India kaun? Is that a girl or a boy?
Avika: Stupid, it’s our country! Poori India meri best friend hai! (Laughs) The whole of India is our best friend.
Avinash: Then who’s your friend?
Avika: Koi bhi nahin. I’m my own friend.
Avinash: Matlab you look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Hi hello Avika, okay bye”?
Avika: Very funny! Achha woh chhodo, do you know what TRPs are?
Avinash: I don’t know the full form but I know what it means. Jo serial log zyaada dekhte hain, usse TRP kehte hain.
Avika: Which serials do you like?
Avinash: Bigg Boss 2. Who’s your favourite on it?
Avika: I don’t watch too much of it. I only saw it when Abhishek (Bachchan) had come on it. I like Diana (Hayden). I like the doggy also, he has just come. Which cartoons do you like?
Avinash: Tom and Jerry.
Avika: Why? Are you Tom?
Avika: Are you Jerry?
Avinash: No! Which is your favourite film?
Avika: Dhoom 2. Yours?
Avinash: Mine also.. till I saw Rock On!!
Avika: Who’s the best actress in Balika Vadhu?
Avinash: Dadi (Surekha Sikri).
Avika: I know why. When you ask her for Rs 50, she gives you Rs 100!
Avinash: What are you doing this Children’s Day?
Avika: Is saal ka toh pata nahin. But every year we get noodles, burgers and pizzas to school and share it among ourselves. What do you do?
Avinash: Our teachers dance.
Avinash: Just like that.
Avika: Last year we had a dance on roller-skates.
Avinash: You know to roller-skate? Did you fall?
Avika: No.. I only showed them the steps.
Avinash: Achha what do you do when it’s 7 pm?
Avika: I study.
Avinash: At 8 pm?
Avika: I watch Balika Vadhu!
Avinash: At 9 pm?
Avika: Jeevan Saathi!
Avika: Achha, bas itna hi interview.