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‘Child marriage is still practised'

Actor Anup Soni on his new television show about an eight-year-old bride, interviewed by Janaki Vishwanathan.
By Janaki Vishwanathan | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUN 13, 2008 12:44 PM IST

Your show for the new channel Colors, Balika Vadhu, is about child marriage. Isn't that an outdated concept?
What about the saas-bahu soaps in which the women plot and plan all day long.. aren't those regressive and outdated? Balika Vadhu doesn't take a stand for or against child marriage. But we have several traditions in our country which are still followed blindly This is one of them.

Balika Vadhu revolves around Anandi who is married off when she's eight.

But are there any takers for such shows?
Well, child marriage is still rampant up north. Even some of our presidents and prime ministers were married off at a very young age. But I'm just an actor. I can't tell you why the producers or the channel zeroed in on this particular theme.

Have you ever done anything because it was the tradition?
Yeah, I've sat through my mundan ceremony. My aunt said, "Your hair will grow back nice and thick."

(Laughs) I have plenty of friends who haven't had a mundan. And they don't have not-nice hair.

As Anandi's father-in-law you will be required to go grey at some point. Okay with that?
We live in a world where 35-year-olds are playing grandparents to 20-year olds. Anandi and her husband will turn adults only 70 or 80 episodes down the line. My character will be well established. It won't make a difference if I go grey then.

Since you're so against regressive soaps, why did you take on Kahani Ghar Ghar ki?
(Laughs) I didn't say the saas-bahu soaps are bad. I questioned them because you said that Balika Vadhu has an outdated concept.

I took on Kahani.. because a senior actor like Mohnish Behl had done the role before me. It wasn't an aaltu-faltu track. I was cast opposite the lead character, Parvati.

Why did you quit then?
After a year, I found that the character wasn't going anywhere. This isn't uncommon on television. Even in international shows like Prison Break and Lost, the focus is never on all the tracks simultaneously.

Finally, what's your take on child marriage?
Obviously, it's not to be lauded.

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