We could very well make a soap about what-all we had to go through to get ourselves a female protagonist for Kasturi," says Ekta Kapoor. In hindsight, she can afford to see the funny side of what could easily have been a touch-and-go situation.
Recalls Ekta, "I was supposed to leave for Tirupathi last week. I had cast a particular girl who I thought was right. But when we saw the rushes we were aghast. Though she's now doing a soap for us, Pranita Sahu was all wrong for Kasturi. Then at the eleventh hour we decided to cast the girl who was playing Kasturi's friend as Kasturi. Having got that in place, I was just about to get into the car to leave when someone from my office ran after me to inform me that the girl had refused. She had exams and she only enough time to play the sister's role. I almost had a heart attack. What was I going to do? It was literally hours away from telecast!"
In the middle of the night, Ekta got her office to round up around 40 girls to audition. Says Ekta, "I slept at 8.30 am after auditioning the girls and was up in an hour to zero in on a final choice. I also requested the channel to postpone the delivery of the first episode by a few hours. We selected a girl and left for Tirupathi. My crew shot with the girl we had selected. When I returned I saw the episode I didn't like her at all. She was too plump and too big. I had an important dinner-meeting with an international company from Hong Kong, and we had no time to find another Kasturi. So the special episode went on air with the wrong girl."
The dilemma was, should Balaji go with the wrong casting just because there was no time to change one's mind one more time? Ekta says, "Although the first episode had already been cast we decided to re-cast. I strongly believe characters in long-running serials have their own destiny, and we cannot change it. My gut instinct told me even the third girl chosen for Kasturi was wrong."
It was then that Ekta thought of the girl who plays Palchin in Kasauti Zindagi Kay. She says, "Finally we got our Kasturi on Friday morning. It was like a cloud lifting from our head. Why hadn't we thought of Shubangi earlier? We're writing her out of Kasauti ' and into the lead of Kasturi. And she's perfect. We re-shot and we're going to re-telecast the first episode. I needed a fresh, innocent and not necessarily beautiful but homely face belonging to a traditional family, like the one in Buniyaad. Our reference point for the plot is a girl in our office. What if she had an affair with Salman Khan? The beauty of the plot is in the contrast in background and personality between the couple.
Shubangi is perfect'Thank God, all's well that ends well. But if I go through this ordeal one more time, I'll be finished."
And now begins the hunt for the male lead in Kasturi. "Please don't scare me. It isn't as if we can't find newcomers. It's just that they're all too filmi," Ekta sighs. Oh well, tomorrow is another telecast day. Carry on Ekta.
Meet THE final Kasturi: Shubhangi Atre
The exclusion of new comer Praneeta Sahu owing to health problems has opened the doors for new comer Shubhangi Atre who will seen as the new lead of the Star biggie 'Kasturi'.
Q: How are you feeling about being the new leading lady of a big Balaji show?
A: I'm so excited. I really cannot believe it has happened. It was only last night that I received the call from Balaji about being selected for the role.
Q: Is this your first television venture?
A: No, it is not my first television venture. I am playing the character called Palchin in 'Kasautii Zindagii Kay'. But yes this is my first lead role.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I'm originally from Indore. I have done my MBA. I'm a trained Kathak dancer. But I have no formal training in acting and neither have I done any theatre.
Q: How did you land up in acting?
A: As I told you since I was a dancer, I got a few advertisement offers which I did. After that one of my photographer friends told me that there were auditions in Pune for Balaji. He advised me to give it a try. I gave the audition for Kasturi but I was given a role in 'Kasautii'' It was only last night that I was told that I had been selected to play the lead in 'Kasturi'.
Q: Tell us about Kasturi.
A: Kasturi is a sweet innocent girl who belongs to a middle class family. Her parents are everything for her. She is also an ambitious person in life but does not forget her traditions. The story revolves around her family and her dreams.
Q: So what are the similarities between Shubhangi and Kasturi?
A: I also belong to a middle class family and also I'm ambitious in life. I have three sisters and I'm close to my family. So there are a lot of similarities between Shubhangi and Kasturi.
Q: So will it make it easier for you to play Kasturi?
A: I really do not know. I can only give it my best shot. Let us see what happens. I might come to know after I start shooting. Till then, I can only pray that all goes well.
Q: Are you excited or nervous?
A: I'm excited as well as nervous. I am excited because I have got a lead role and nervous because it adds up to my responsibilities.
Q: What kind of roles do you think can be your forte?
A: Well I would like to do different kinds of role with different shades. Anyways it is too early in my career to say what I'm capable of doing.
Q: Are you prepared for the work pressure?
A: Yes, I know it is a lot of responsibility playing a lead role. I also know that there are going to be a lot of hectic schedules. But I think I am prepared to handle it.
Q: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
A: Five years is a long time. I cannot tell you this, because I myself do not know what is going to happen in the next five years. I have not planned anything too. So I'm clueless.
Q: How would you plan to stand out amongst all the other leading ladies of the television industry?
A: I think the other leading ladies in the industry are independent and portray strong characters. My character also has the same qualities but my story is different. - Mili S (SAMPURN)
Balaji's new find, Praneeta Sahu is the lucky one to play the lead in Star Plus's new show, Kasturi. Praneeta, who is currently studying in Pune, emerged the winner after beating around 700-odd girls in the audition.
The 19-year-old budding actress is pursuing second year of graduation (BBA) from Pune University and simultaneously undergoing a course in acting from Bunty and Prashant's acting school in Pune. Acting happened quite by chance for Praneeta, who aspired to join the corporate sector after completing her MBA. She had also decided to take up full time theatre and join FTII, but as destiny would have it, she was chosen the face of Kasturi and the girl is really excited about it.
The show revolves around a simple girl hailing from a middle-class family. She dreams of achieving huge goals in life and wants to study further, but her family members doesn't support her.
When we asked the girl in question as how she bagged the coveted role, she said, "I have done a fair bit of theatre in college, so acting isn't a new medium for me. After the audition, Balaji selectors liked my pictures and called me to Mumbai. Things got finalised just day before and needless to say I am extremely excited. All I know about my role is that I play a nice, middle-class girl and it's a brilliant role to begin with. I am going to work really hard and give my best shot. The shooting begins from tomorrow."
The actress will don ethnic wear for the show. So has the pretty young thing met Ekta, the tough task master yet? Added Praneeta, "I have just met her once and I believe she knows how to get the right people for her shows and that's how she got me in."
Praneeta's friends in Pune did a major bit of running around for her when she had to come down to Mumbai for the auditions. "Initially my parents were reluctant to let me join television and I must say my friends helped me to convince them. I plan to continue with my studies alongside my acting career," says Praneeta.
Says a source in the production house, "She has the girl-next-door looks. But it was her smile which caught everyone's attention."
Star Plus bets big on 'Kasturi'
|Saturday - Apr 21, 2007|
Star Plus has introduced its new primetime offering, 'Kasturi' ' Laakhon Jaisi Par Laakhon Mein Ek. With successful shows like Kasautii Zindagii Kay, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi & Kayamath on air, Balaji Telefilms adds a new story on Star Plus with Kasturi, a daily soap all set to launch on April 23 at 9.30 pm.
Kasturi is a story of a middle class girl and her struggle to protect her family's legacy. It's about her dreams and aspirations-which are closely intertwined with her family. She is a girl who finds happiness even in the smallest and simplest of things. Kasturi is humble and polite but innately very strong-who's fighting to build her own identity. Her beauty is in her simplicity and her respect for tradition. Her discipline and inherent strength enables her to stand up and fight for her right. Kasturi is determined to make a mark for herself.
Ajay Vidyasagar, Executive Vice President, Star India said, "Over the last 6 years Star Plus has been successful in thoroughly entertaining the audiences. With Balaji Telefilms producing Kasturi we sure can promise our viewers some compelling content on primetime. We are confident that Kasturi will find a special place with the Star Plus viewers."
The show's central character Kasturi is played by Shubhangi Atre. Other Star cast of Kasturi includes Rupa Ganguly, Madhumalti, Kanika Shivpuri, Priya Arya, Vikram Kapadia and Nikhil Arya to name a few. Produced by Balaji Telefilms, the show is conceptualized by Ekta Kapoor, the screenplay is by Vipul Mehta & Sonali Jaffar and the show is directed by Garry Binder.
KBC gives way to KasturiPosted online: Friday, April 20, 2007 at 0000 hours IST
As Shah Rukh Khan's KBC comes to the last leg, STAR Plus is readying two shows to replace the top-rated game show. While Meri Awaz Ko Mil Gayi Roshni, Fox Television's first production on Indian television, airs at 9 pm, Balaji Televisions' Kasturi will be aired at 9.30 pm, Kasturi is the story about a middle-class girl and her struggle to protect her family's legacy. It is also the story of her dreams and aspirations which are so closely intertwined with her family. Pranita Sahu who plays the title role is a Pune girl. Studying in the second year, Pranita's always been inclined towards acting. She even joined a formal course after which she started giving auditions. She was called by Balaji Telefilms and Pranita landed herself the role of the protagonist in Kasturi.
"I identify with Kasturi to a great extent. I can't tell you more about her because I have just started shooting," she informs feeling breathless at the hectic pace of her shoot. "But it's nice and I am enjoying it," she adds quickly.
Ektaa salutes the middle class
Sapana Patil Poojary
Sunday, April 22, 2007 19:21 IST
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"Kasturi is one amongst the millions but one in a million," says producer Ektaa Kapoor about the lead character (played by Shubhangi Atre) in her show 'Kasturi' (Star Plus) that launches on Monday night.
She adds, "Usually girls blindly follow their hearts but Kasturi is a girl who thinks before she takes a decision. 'Kasturi' is a heart touching love story. It is a salutation to the middle class of India for surviving against all odds; especially for travelling by public transport from one end of the city to another." She adds candidly, "Honestly speaking, I wouldn't be able to do that!"
Interestingly, Ektaa has cast relatively new faces in the show. To this, she says, "I get better performances from the established actors but I get a lot of enthusiasm from new actors. And that is what matters today."
Coincidentally, the promotion capsules of this serial appear similar to those of 'Kkusum', a serial she made few years ago. She bites her tongue and smiles; probably embarrassed at having been caught doing another rip-off? "It is one of the cutest promos. I wanted to reuse the concept of hundreds of girls getting out of the train and pointing towards just one," she admits.
Even though comparisons between 'Kkusum' and 'Kasturi' are evident, Ektaa is confident that viewers will still watch 'Kasturi'. On why she doesn't make men-oriented serials, she retorts, "Let my competitors make them and we'll see if women allow men to watch them. The remote will still be with women."
On being asked for how long her serials "Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi' and "Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii' (both on Star Plus) would continue, she replies, "If people love the characters, I have no right to pull it off. If the audiences don't like it, the show will be replaced automatically."
Having made several popular serials, Ektaa is now considering making reality shows. "I will make a reality show. It will neither be music-based nor a talent hunt show," she keeps the curiosity going.