Joined: 29 September 2010
TV's latest daadi, 67-year-old Rajinder Kaur Manchanda, who made a debut three years ago in an IPL advertisement, talks about overacting as a liberating act
She's the quintessential matriarch ' affectionate, aggressive, imposing, grudgingly approving of her would-be grand-daughter-in-law and fiercely proud of her ghee-soaked Punjabiness. She makes up for her slow, hesitant gait with her quick wit and there is little else to arrest your attention when she is in the frame. Understandably then, 67-year-old Rajinder Kaur Manchanda'who plays Ram Kapoor's "Daadi" on Sony's Bade Achhe Lagte Hain 'has turned into one of the most popular TV actors lately. "I get calls from my fans across the globe and my fans have given me various nicknames 'Dus tin ghee, Hitler, Punjab di daadi and Punjab di awaaz. I am extremely touched," says an overwhelmed Manchanda, who lives in Mumbai.
Her been-there-knows-all character on television may be spot-on but in fact, Manchanda is a mere novice in the industry. Having made her on-screen debut three years ago with an IPL advertisement, she followed it up with a role on Star Plus' Sabki Laadli Bebo and then Zee TV's Aap Ki Antara. "But my first screen appearance was five years ago," she confides, "I auditioned in Rock n Roll Family, a dance-reality show on Zee TV, with my son. Even though I didn't make it to the show, I did get noticed."
After her stint on
TV, Manchanda's coordinator got her an audition for Nikhil Advani's 2011
film, Patiala House where she played Rishi Kapoor's sister. "The very
first day of the shooting, Akshay Kumar came up to me and started
talking. I miss him. Hard Kaur is also very nice and since she too, is a
Punjabi, we used to chat all the time," she recounts, warmly. She is
now awaiting the release of her next film, Stand By, on August 26.
Behind Manchanda's smile and effervescence lies a tale of loss and tears. After losing her husband 11 years ago, Manchanda shut herself in a room for two years. What rescued her was her interest in teaching. A post-graduate in sociology and a trained teacher, she began taking private tuitions. "After a while, I realised I was sick and tired of teaching and wanted to do something more alive. That's when I got an opportunity to act," she says.
But she attributes
her recent success to her grand-daughter Kirat on whose insistence
Manchanda auditioned for Bade Ache Lagte Hai. On the sets, she has
already forged healthy relationships with the cast. "I called Ram 'Ram
Kapoor ji' on the first day of the shoot for which he reprimanded me.
Both Ram and Sakshi (Tanwar, lead actor opposite Kapoor on the show) are
very fond of me and refer to me as daadi," she adds, warmly. Besides
the protagonists and the audience, Manchanda's charm has worked like
magic on producers Ekta and Shobha Kapoor too. "Shobha ji sent a message
to everyone on the team asking them to take good care of me. I feel
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