Joined: 17 January 2005
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. "On 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 studying and teaching. A post-graduate in sociology and trained as a 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 Kapoorji' on the first day of the shoot for which he reprimanded me. Both Ram and Sakshi (Tanwar, the female lead) 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. "Shobhaji sent a message to everyone on the team asking them to take good care of me. I feel special."
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