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Baby doll

Avika Gor, the little protagonist of Balika Vadhu gets chatty with Janaki Viswanathan on TRPs and fairy tales..

tv Updated: Oct 11, 2008 14:03 IST
Janaki Viswanathan
Janaki Viswanathan
Hindustan Times

Strange but very true. Today, the most adored bahu in the nation’s drawing rooms happens to be all of 11 years old. That’s Balika Vadhu which is grabbing enviable TRPs.

The pre-teenager portrays a precocious girl in a Rajasthan hamlet where child marriages are a way of life. She is married into a household where she completes her husband’s homework, wins over a Cruela Da Vil dadisa and seeks domestic tips from her sister-in-law.

Cut to Avika Gor. Just as chatty in real life, she teaches me a thing or two about TRPs and fairy tales.

She’s the only child of parents who are both insurance consultants. She’s a sixth grade student at the Sharon English High School.. and going by her escalating popularity, is all set to be as recognisable as Darsheel Safary. The role of Anandi, the small town Rajasthani girl, is her first and has endeared itself instantly to the viewers:

Balika Vadhu, which started off in July-end, has one of the highest TRPs on TV right now.
Why are you telling me this? I know.

What are TRPs?
Jitna public dekhti hai.. wohi toh TRP hota hai.

Where will you be shooting tomorrow?
I don’t know.. (asks her dad) somewhere in Andheri. I have a chhuti from school today.

How about when you don’t?
Then I shoot before or after school.

How do you keep up with your homework?
I set up a mini-school on the sets. Avinash (Mukherjee, who portrays her child hubby) and I study together. Mathematics is my strongest subject.

And weakest?
Ha! None.

Does anyone give you grief on the sets?
No. Never. Not yet anyway. It seems as if they want me to learn more, act with more confidence. So, I obey. Teacherji (Sadia Siddiqui) has taught me how to say my lines of dialogue properly, maa-sa (Bhairavi Raichura) has taught me how to cry and dadi-sa (Surekha Sikri) has taught me how to get angry. Imagine, I have to learn how to get angry.

Whom are you scared of on the sets?
Avika is scared of no one. Dadi-sa ka nature actually bahut achha hai.

What do you do in between shots?
We go bicycling and play cards.

What was your last dream?
One of the Barbie stories. (Giggles) I dreamt that I was Barbie but then I woke up. I dream of Snow White and The Seven Dwarves too. It’s my favourite fairy tale.

And who is Prince Charming in your dreams?
(Scoffs) Don’t you know? The prince doesn’t really matter in Snow White.

Your favourite moment while shooting for Balika Vadhu?
We had gone to Khedergaon for a shot. There was a huge swimming pool. I didn’t know how to swim but everyone in the unit made me get into the pool. And you won’t believe this but I learnt how to swim in two days flat!

How do you learn your lines of dialogue?
Papa teaches me. I take only 10-15 minutes to learn.

How do your relatives react to your show?
They love it.. everyone calls me Anandi, bindni (pet names on the show). My schoolmates call me Naak chhadhi, which is how Avinash addresses me in the show.

Do you watch Balika Vadhu?
Of course! Every night. I also watch Bidaai and Kyunki Saas bhi Kabhi Bahu thi, Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki. I love cartoons, especially Tom and Jerry and the Powerpuff Girls.

What do you think about child marriage?
After playing Anandi, I think it’s wrong.. it shouldn’t happen.

Do you know what marriage is?
Huh? What I’m acting out on the show, of course!

Are you big on watching movies?
Who isn’t? I love to see the movies of Hrithik Roshan and Shahid Kapur.

You recently shot with Abhishek Bachchan.. do you like him?
Haan, woh bhi theek hai.

First Published: Oct 10, 2008 16:25 IST