Shilpa Saklani on female actors having shelf-life: We are like fossils - Hindustan Times

Shilpa Saklani says OTT's bold element 'makes her uncomfortable': I don’t like to go beyond a hug

ByMimansa Shekhar
Feb 18, 2024 12:20 AM IST

Shilpa Saklani is currently busy playing the character of Kaikeyi in Shrimad Ramayan.

Actor Shilpa Saklani agrees that actors have a “shelf-life” because audience needs a change. “Unless your show is going on and on, how long can you look at the same face? Everybody needs a change, be it the audience or the actor,” Saklani, who’s been in the business for nearly 25 years, tells us.

Shilpa Saklani has been acting for nearly 25 years.(Instagram/@apurvaagnihotri02)
Shilpa Saklani has been acting for nearly 25 years.(Instagram/@apurvaagnihotri02)

“We are fossils. We’ve become old!” Saklani laughs. The 42-year-old further shares how playing the character of Ganga in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi (2002) came with a sense of security, just like her generation of actors, as compared to today.

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“We came during that Balaji time, when shows went on for ten years and age was on my side. We were their inhouse actors. We were shooting 365 days. I bought my first car at 19 and my first house at 21. A lot of people can’t do that today because they don’t know when their show will end,” she adds.

Saklani, who married actor Apurva Agnihotri in 2004, took a four-year sabbatical around 2019 when the couple had their daughter. She said the decision to return with Tere Ishq Mein Ghayal (2023) was challenging as the gap had “spoiled” her. “You start wondering if you want to put your 12 hours again?” she says.

Saklani is currently busy playing the character of Kaikeyi in Shrimad Ramayan on Sony TV. The actor reveals though she hasn’t seen the iconic Ramayan by Ramanand Sagar properly, she took up the role because “Kaikeyi the most well written and layered character in this series. Nobody went into so much depth of Kaikeyi, her past, what she was, her journey, her kingdom."

Saklani has previously done costume dramas like Vish Ya Amrit: Sitara (2018) and Chandrakanta (2017). She shared while the heavy costumes and jewellery was one of the most challenging part, playing Kaikeyi was risky because the dialogues were in pure Hindi and borderline Sanskrit. “You always stick to the script. So, it was a little annoying the first 2-3 times,” the actor shares.

But, despite ruling the TV for years, Saklani is unsure about trying the OTT medium. She feels the “bold element” makes her uncomfortable. “I don’t like to go beyond a hug. On OTT it’s sort of an imperative. The biggest (actors) have to either do a kiss or a make out scene. I salute them,” she explains.

Saklani and Agnihotri are completing 20 years of marriage this year. For them, the secret is they “never take each other seriously as actors”, which keeps them grounded, the Kaleerein actor states.

But if they do get to work with each other, how will they be as co-stars? “I think we’ll be crazy fun together, two crazy people, it’s going to be a riot!” she concludes.

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