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Dancing with the Goddess

Shantipriya plans to open a dancing school soon, reports Rachana Dubey.

art and culture Updated: Sep 25, 2009 18:50 IST
Rachana Dubey

Dance is a form of worship for reel-life goddess Shantipriya, who plays the role of Durga Maa in Sahara One’s Mata Ki Chowki.

The dusky south-Indian actress plans to open a dance school in collaboration with her sister Bhanupriya who is an accomplished actress too.

“Bhanu and I don’t want to open a school and not be around to teach kids,” says Shantipriya about the school, which the sisters have been planning to open for a long time. “Once my sister decides where she wants to stay, we will open the dancing school.”

Bhanupriya is in the US with her daughter and visits Chennai for a few months every year.

“The school is close to becoming a reality now,” says Shantipriya.

Firm believer
Shantipriya, has been essaying the role of Maa Durga on the Sahara One socio-mythological drama for over a year and a half. She believes that the character brings her closer to the Goddess whom she worships.

“I’m a firm believer in Maa Durga. Though I’m running through tight schedules at work right now, I ensure that I take my children to Tejpal or Shivaji Park during Durga Pooja. I want their belief in Mata to be as strong as mine,” she says.
Which of Maa Durga’s avatar does she feel closest to? “I can’t choose between them because they’re all the same,” says Shantipriya.

“I find that Mata Saraswati is the most soft spoken while Maa Kali is the one who sees the difference between good and bad. Mata Lakshmi is the better half of Lord Vishnu. So, she’s completely like any other mother. But these different traits actually make one Goddess, Maa Durga. Playing all the avatars was portraying the different traits of one Goddess,” she adds.

As far as dressing up is concerned, the actress is comfortable in western as well as traditional clothes. “I dress up according to the occasion but I’m not into skimpy clothes. I didn’t wear such clothes even when I was young,” says the actress adding that today she had to dress up like a mother of two children.

“But sometimes, when people see me in denims and tees they are a little taken aback,” she smiles.

Dussera plans
“My kids have been missing me and want me home with them,” she says, ruing the fact that given her cut to cut schedules for the one-hour specials of Mata Ki Chowki, she has hardly been able to spend time with them.

“My elder son Shubham is in class 10 this year. So, apart from being the on-screen mata, I have to fulfil my responsibilities as a mother off-screen too,” she says.

“I’m going to be after him two months from now because he’ll have to start preparing for the finals. Shubham insists that I come home in my mata get-up to give him more time. Let’s hope after Navratri, I can make some time for him.”

Even after playing a goddess for such a long time Shantipriya is of the firm opinion that she can never actually end up behaving like Maa Durga in real life.

“I can never think that I am Maa Durga. I worship her before playing her on screen. It can be very problematic if someone actually starts thinking that they are the character they play,” says the actress.