Joined: 26 August 2006
'Balika Vadhu' living screen life!
by Meenakshi Shankar
Oct 20, 2008, Mumbai
over Tulsi and Ganga. Here comes the latest bahu - 11-year-old, Avika
Gor aka Anandi, the protagonist in 'Balika Vadhu' on Colors!
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 wherein she is pushed into the rigours of running a household from day-one.
Anandi brings into play myriad shades and hues to her character effortlessly. The emotional connect that Anandi has forged with the viewers has made her a rage…The chatty young girl gets candid with us on child marriage, TRPs and more…
"Do you know, I want to be Miss Universe!" she quips as we begin. She's the only child of parents who are both insurance consultants. In her sixth grade, a student at the Sharon English High School, Avika says, "The role of Anandi is my first of its kind. I have been part of 'Rajkumar Aryan', a fantasy show. It is a show that I understood." She adds, innocently, "Here, I don't know what happens, but I only know that they should not happen."
It is tough managing school and the shoots, but so far, I have been able to balance both. I have set up a mini-school on the sets. Avinash Mukherjee (who portrays her child hubby) and I study together.
Today, Avika is in the same league as Saakshi Tanwar and Smriti Irani. And I couldn't help but wonder if the comparisons troubled her. She said, "I feel that people who work hard do achieve success. I think all the actresses you mentioned have been working hard and that is why they are successful." Moving our conversation to the oft-mentioned TRPs, she said, "People like the programme, so the TRPs go up. Once they stop watching, the numbers come down. It's as simple as studying for your exams. You perform well and your rank soars up. But you turn a little slack and the numbers come crashing down. For me, the TRPs are like ranks in my exams."
And how difficult is it to move away from the world of fairy tales to a life under the harsh glare of arc lights? "Who said I moved away from the world of fairy tales. I am living one. I dress up in my finery. I have heard a lot of actors say they live the role. So I guess, I am living my fairy tale." Juggling between the shoots and her school, does it leave Avika with any time to watch TV? "Of course. I am a soap-buff. I love watching all the melodramatic soaps on TV, but my favourite is Tom and Jerry and Powerpuff Girls".
Guilelessly, she says, "I am getting used to the stares. When I walk out, people come up to me and call me bindni, naak chaadi and Anandi. Initially, I didn't understand, but my father told me this is part of the showbiz. I am Anandani. It seems strange, because my name is Avika. But people know me by my screen name and at times, I feel like I am living my screen name".
Is Bollywood her final destination? Not really. If something good comes along, I may consider. And to my last question, "Are you the next Darsheel?," she quipped, with childlike innocence, I am the next Aishwarya Rai in the making!"
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