Joined: 26 August 2006
Joined: 21 July 2008
Joined: 26 August 2006
Joined: 26 August 2006
IT'S TRULY BEEN A CINDERELLA STORY FOR ME
Its remarkable how self-assured today's newcomers are. We might complain about them being rather unprofessional at times, not getting back to phone calls and repeated messages, and putting on a rather aloof faade as an explanation for their taut schedules. But you have to admire how cool and calm they are at handling the media, how they have all the right answers, never a moment of hesitation and possess cut-throat ambition.
Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai's sweet and dusky-complexioned Akshara, Hina Khan in real time, somehow manages to be an eclectic combination of both professionalism and calm composure. While she originally belongs to Mumbai, she schooled in Delhi and Lucknow and was still pursuing her Masters in Management in Delhi, when she heard about the auditions happening for the show.
"You know, I didn't want to be an actress," she informs, in the traditional clichd style, that we have all come to know and accept. Hina, apparently, never even thought of acting as a career. "I was always a fan of Ekta Kapoor though. I especially wanted to work in her shows. So I did look for auditions, but it was never a desperate need," she's quick to let us know.
A friend informed Hina about auditions happening for the show, which she went for rather hesitantly, only to get a call the very next day from producer Rajan Shahi telling her she'd bagged the role. "I came to Mumbai for a look-test after that, I gave about two-three look tests and touchwood, got selected. Everything happened so quickly, there was no time to react.
Even now it hasn't completely hit me. When I think of how today, I'm a part of the Star Parivaar, I find it so hard to believe. I'd thought of this once, but never thought it would actually happen. Once I watched saas-bahu shows, today I'm a part of it," she smiles, seemingly astonished with her own success.
Life certainly does take a turn for the best sometimes. And Hina is lucky to be playing a character like Akshara, who has gone down so well with the audience. Fortunately for her, Akshara is just like Hina. So a large part of what you see on screen is Hina herself, and not just a character she's been asked to portray. "I love playing Akshara, she's so cute, and there's so much to learn from her, such as taking care for family, the sacrifices she makes etc, in fact, she's unusually similar to me.
Akshara can do anything for her parents. In real life, I too will do anything for my parents. I'll happily get married to the boy my parents select for me. But my parents and I have a mutual understanding, I know if tomorrow I tell my parents I want to marry this boy, they'll agree too."
She reiterates how her parent's approval means a lot to her, "I could never disappoint them. Initially, my parents did have reservations about me embarking on an acting career, but they still gave me that chance. With God's grace, destiny played a part and I have managed to achieve the little I have. It's truly been a Cinderella story for me."
Hina goes on to reveal that her close friends on the show are surprisingly not her similar-aged co-stars, rather the slightly elder actors. "I am close to Lata Sabharwal and Sanjiv Seth (who play her parents), Neelima Tadepalli (who plays Sunaina) and Sunita Rajwar (Dhaniya). The young people on the show don't really chill together. It all depends on who gets along with whom. After all, closeness and friendship are two different things, right?" she tactfully answers.
Hina states she always had great expectations from the show, especially after she saw the faith producer Rajan Shahi showed in her. "Rajan Shahi has done so much for me. The channel was wondering if I'm the right girl. But he was convinced I'm perfect, and it's his conviction that has got me till here. I gave my 200 per cent and I wanted to make sure it's the best show."
She gets a little contemplative and then says, "I've worked so hard to make this work. And it was very difficult to do so with no acting background, having never learnt acting or anything. I knew nothing. But Rajan Shahi had blind trust in me. I wanted to live up to his expectations. I'm still trying and if he's happy, then I'm happy."
On the personal front too, her parents are very happy with the way their daughter's hard work has paid off. "My parents keep blessing me. They're so happy for me. Even my younger brother tells everyone that Akshara is his sister. I'm just happy that my parents are happy. I live for my parents and I'm very family oriented. They've done so much for me, now I want to fulfil all their dreams."
As an afterthought she adds, "I'm so thankful to God for all the success I've received till now. Sometimes I question God, am I really worth it? It's a dream come true. After coming to Mumbai, I saw how people struggle to get through a single audition. I've been lucky at 21. When I go out today, people recognize me. I give autographs. I remember the first time I gave an autograph was on the first day of my shoot in Udaipur. I felt like a queen."
Hina is quite sure that she doesn't want to think about what happens after Yeh Rishta…. For now, this is all she plans to concentrate on. "I want to be there for my show throughout. All the fame that I have today is only because of this show." And the wondrous part of the show would be that it managed to succeed at a time when almost all the content on TV has lost its steam, in the wake of the recession.
"I think my show is doing well because of its storyline and because destiny has a part to play always. I'm very lucky to be a part of this show. I knew none of the shows were doing well, and here we had managed to be among the best on TV, with healthy competition from …Bidaai."
For Hina, it truly has been a fairy tale. Once upon a time, she religiously followed shows like Kyunki Saas…, Kahaani Ghar…and Kasautii…. And perhaps that's when she became a die-hard Smriti Irani fan. "She's a total inspiration. The way she works, handles things, she's too good. She never does any nonsensical work, never wears rubbish, and is a great actor. She's so real. I don't know if I want to model my career on hers, but she's an inspiration for sure."
Smriti has consciously stayed away from the big screen but Hina can think of Bollywood, only if 'decent' roles come her way. "I don't want to do anything like what's happening today. I come from a conservative background, and I have to take care of my parents. I would never want to disappoint them by doing something they don't like. But I also know that if something good comes my way, I can make them understand, and they love me, so they will understand."
Today, Hina is on the threshold of greater professional success, but at the end of the day, she's still a 21-year-old girl. "I miss my friends, attending college, my brother. I've missed so many farewells, shopping trips. That was all special stuff. I especially miss it all because I was rather notorious, always made the most noise," says she, with a twinkle in her eye.
"I love to chill, and I love to talk a lot, all stupid talks of course," she says bursting into giggles. "But at the same time, people say I'm very open-minded and transparent. I know myself; I'm very blunt and prefer to speak my mind right to a person's face. I'm also quite quick-tempered."
So does she have a special someone to share her life with right now? "No, I don't. No boyfriend for now, I'm just too busy. I will not say that I won't have a boyfriend, but a relationship needs time, which I do not have. Till now, I've had a few childish affairs. But nothing serious.
Joined: 28 February 2009
This year, the trend began with Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, which had Hina Khan and Karan Mehra as protagonists, then followed Na Aana Iss Des Laado with newcomers Natasha Sharma and Aditya Redij playing main leads. Bandini and Kitni Mohabbat Hai have Aasiya Kazi and Karan Kundra and Kritika Kamra respectively in the lead roles. Pavitra Rishta too has debutant Ankita Lokhande while in Love Ne Milla Di Jodi two new boys and girls have been introduced. Similarly, in Chittod Ki Rani Padmini, newcomer Tejaswini Lonari is playing the queen while film actor Pooja Kanwal has made her television debut in Palampur Express.
Talking about this trend of preferring newcomers over experienced actors, Ektaa Kapoor says, "In daily soaps, people want to see characters and not actors. Since they follow characters on a daily basis it really doesn't matter who plays the lead as long as the character is played convincingly." According to Ektaa, the advantage of working with newcomers is that they are fresh and are yet to create an image in the viewers' mind. "People find it easy to connect with them," she adds.
Shailja Bajpai, head of content at NDTV Imagine, is of the view that identification with characters is so strong that a well known actor who has played a popular character earlier is not easily accepted in a new role. "Viewers tend to remember actors by their character names and not real names. Thus for experienced actors their image becomes a disadvantage," she says.
Many also feel that the fresh appeal goes a long way in striking a chord with the audience. Sony's creative head (fiction) Sanjay Upadhyay, says, "Viewers tend to relate better with newcomers than well known faces. For instance, Tejaswini is more relatable as Rani Padmini because she is known only as the queen and not by any other character."
According to Upadhyay, the fringe benefits of working with newcomers are many. "They are committed and economical," he says.
According to Rajan Shahi, producer-director, it's easy to mould newcomers into characters."They don't come with the baggage of stardom. They are relatable and adaptable," he says. Apart from easy acceptability, another advantage of working with newcomers is that they are hugely committed. "They have a lot of energy and enthusiasm and are keen in create a niche for themselves. They don't have starry airs, they don't throw tantrums and are willing to work extra hours," points out Shahi.
Joined: 26 August 2006
Joined: 26 August 2006
Joined: 26 August 2006
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