Balika Vadhu


Balika Vadhu
Balika Vadhu

I love the attention : Article

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Joined: 06 August 2008
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Posted: 04 February 2009 at 6:24am | IP Logged
If all goes well, Basant tauji of Balika Vadhu may soon become a father, Satyajit Sharma tells Anuradha
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Balika Vadhu's Basant 'tauji' is thrilled with the attention he's getting post the show. "People are really involved. They approach me at parties and discuss the show and the character for almost an hour," says Satyajit Sharma.

His character, steeped in tradition, started with negative undertones, but has developed grey shades over time. The show, precariously poised with his delicate underage wife pregnant, saw him recently call the doctor home against the diktats of his mother (played by Surekha Sikri), who rules the household with an iron fist. Sharma won't let out the plot, but he does hint that the baby would be born after all, despite the complications.

He says, "In a daily, the character evolves constantly, and even I'm often unaware of the storyline beyond a few weeks." It's this pragmatism that had him accept the show after a one-line description from Neelu, the creative head of Colors. "I could tell that my character sounded aggressive and had a lot of drama," he says.

But even he didn't expect the impact the show has had. "It's aptly cast. The screenplay and dialogue is very good. It's minus clichs and offers the kind of mature, stable fare that one saw about 15 years ago. It's also directed maturely, the drama isn't forced. That probably helped it break through the clutter," he reasons.

While he enjoys working with the team, which includes the "well-behaved" child actors, his biggest high comes from sharing screen space with Sikri. "For a theatre person like me, she has been part of my consciousness, along with actors like Manohar Singh and Uttara Baokar. At first, the thought of facing the camera with her was scary, though now we have come to share a nice, intimate bond."

"The show's success has given me credibility as an actor," admits the NSD graduate, who has acted in films like Kalpana Lajmi's Darmiyaan, Sudhir Mishra's Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi, and serials including Ramesh Sippy's Viruddh Gaatha and the erstwhile Tara and Trikaal, on the coal miners of Bihar.

However, while all these barely earned him familiar glances, it's only now that he sparks instant recognition among people. "Actors thrive on this," he confesses, and adds that he had always hoped for similar adulation "at the back of his mind".

This is probably the start of good things to come, as Sharma recently began work on Kitni Mohabbat Hai on NDTV Imagine, where he lives it up as the flamboyant, rich dad of the protagonist. The acting bug bit him young, when he attended a workshop while still in school. That led to more workshops and later plays and finally the National School of Drama in 1991. At some point, his family of non-actors had resigned to his choice of career, though his father required some cajoling from his mother.

He says of how his calling chose him, "a mystery" he has yet to unravel, "I got a kick when I first went on stage, with the adrenaline flowing in my veins. Later, I started enjoying the rehearsals and as I went deeper, I enjoyed discussing the character and unraveling the knots to find what makes him tick. It's a mental exercise that is engaging and at the same time addictive." "Theatre is a reflection of life," he explains.

In a career of over 22 years, most of it in Mumbai, where he moved to in 1996 after a year and a half of acting in plays in Delhi, he has always been lucky to have work. However, the imposing actor realised early on that he was "part of a crowd". He says, "The concept of a break is overrated. And while every actor wants to be rich and famous, I never fancied myself as the lead and realised that it's more important to have a sustained career."

The Govinda fan, who doesn't watch too many movies, is also up for offers from Bollywood. Ask him to choose between "commercial cinema" and 'cerebral' multiplex fare and he's candid, "I don't want to choose... I would rather sit on the fence and grab the first offer that comes my way!"

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