Q.Tell us about your character as Chanchal Beechwale in Sony SAB’s Beechwale-Bapu Dekh Raha Hai.
My character in Sony SAB’s new show Beechwale is Chanchal Beechwale, Bobby Beechwale’s wife. She is a middle-class homemaker. Her husband owns a garage and a motor mechanic shop in Delhi. Chanchal is a very happy, warm and caring person. She likes to be with her family and wants them to be happy. Her biggest ambition is that her children should get good education and jobs. Everyone should be happy. She is involved in the regular things that middle class homemakers like, such as keeping her house nicely. She likes speaking to her mother, family members. She even tries out new things from the internet. She is a graduate. She wants her house to be a happy, comfortable and safe place for everyone.
Q.Tell us about your journey from movies to television.
I started my journey in movies while I was in my late teens. My first films were made in Delhi, after which I moved to Mumbai. I was lucky to work with talented people like Gulzar Saab, Jaya Bachchan, Madan Bawaria, Basu Chatterjee, Mahesh Bhatt, Hrishikesh Mukherjee – senior people who one looks up to in this profession. I did a role in Devdas with Sanjay and Chandni Bar with Madhur. Both these films were very well received. I was lucky to get those roles and happy to work with the units.
Q. Your previous roles have been different from Chanchal Beechwale, what made you say yes to this role? Do you feel that there is a perception of you playing only negative roles?
What made me say yes to this role is the fact that it is different from the roles I have played in the recent past. As a result of some of my roles being liked and people appreciating my performance, producers and directors started approaching me for these really high tension, high drama, negative roles with an emotional underpinning. Chanchal Beechwale is a very different from these roles. She is someone who is happy with her role and family. She just wants to take care of her family and see that they are doing well. Her biggest concern is the happiness of her family, like all middle-class women. Also, it is a Sony SAB show, a comedy. There is no negative underpinning or a grey shade. Chanchal is lovable and acceptable. Ashwini ji’s writing is so beautiful. In all projects, you must have noticed that his characters are very real, connected to life and that is something I have not done in the past 5-6 years, so that was very refreshing for me to do.
Audience, nowadays, is so well informed and so much media is available to them. They know those playing negative roles are not negative people by themselves. So, when they look at you playing a negative role, they look at you from the point of view of drama. They get a different kind of satisfaction from that character. They feel that the drama is created from the negative character. They don’t hold you in judgement for the character you are playing. Some might get so involved in the way you are portraying the character, they might think that she is so negative, but they are also emotionally connected to your role. They look at you from an overall perspective of an actor doing the role. Now that I am doing this kind of comic, real role in Beechwale, I am hoping that this project in itself and my role too will be equally appreciated, as my negative roles have been.
Q. What does Beechwale have to offer its audiences?
Beechwale is a comedy show with a very real background. You will not find over the top characters or stereotypical, loud characters. They are believable characters. That is what is different and new about Beechwale. It is very refreshing.
Q. As a woman and a ‘Beechwala/middle class’ what issue you face/have faced in your day to day life?
As a woman, I have faced all the issues that woman today will face - from discrimination to feeling insecure and dominated. As a Beechwale, the issues are the same as what anyone else in India will face today. The issues of society, politics, relationships, economics, education, entertainment - all these play an important role in Beechwale milieu. All these have influenced me too.
Q. Your character always wants to splurge on expensive luxurious things, personally what has been your most luxurious buy?
I, generally, do not splurge. That is just my nature. Whenever I buy stuff, they are things that I need, not unnecessary stuff. What I buy most often is cosmetics, partly because I need them and probably because I also enjoy having them. I don’t remember the most luxurious item I have bought…maybe a pair of sunglasses.
Q. Which Gandhian principle do you abide by?
The gandhian principle I abide by the most is to create peace, security and safety for myself and my environment. My practice of Nichiren Buddhism under the leadership of Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, helps me a lot in doing so.
Q. You shot a few episodes in Delhi, how was the experience shooting in the capital
The stories that we have done and will be doing are very believable and connected with day to day life, so the storylines, the characters – they are real and not over the top in any way. So, it is going to be refreshing. Comedy has become synonymous with over the top, loud characters and unbelievable storylines. This show does not have that. Also, there is heart in each story. Each story has a comic motif with a leading theme of a social issue. This is a welcome platform for comedy - when you mix social issues with a light-hearted tone. It does not become too heavy for the viewer and at the same time, you are addressing issues important for the middle-class man or woman.