By the time Achint Kaur's acting career took shape, she had a home and a child to care for. Yet, her passion for the medium overpowered the obstacles that dotted the road to a successful career. Within months, she had metamorphosed into a popular TV actress, her soulful eyes and striking angular face a boon to viewers tired of the coquettish bimbettes of the small screen. Banegi Apni Baat, Saaya, Maan and Dhadkan are a few of the soaps in which she made her mark with her histrionics.
Achint won the Screen Videocon Best Actress Award for her role in Saaya - a remarkable feat, for someone untrained and completely inexperienced in the world of acting.
The satellite TV industry's lacklustre phase has, however, affected her as well. Achint has become more discerning than ever while choosing her roles. Her upcoming role in Ravi Rai's next soap (structured along Hollywood production Fatal Attraction) is something she now looks forward to. Indiantelevision.com correspondent Amar caught up with her between shots for a tete a tete on her life and career…
How did you get into acting?
I started off pretty late. I was already married, had a small kid and had no idea of what I wanted to do with my life. That was when some friends in the modelling circuit suggested that I give modelling a shot. Soon after, a screen test followed and I got a serial on NEPC TV, which didn't move beyond the pilot stage. Then I anchored a couple of shows for IN Mumbai, anchored a road show for Drishti Communications and finally landed up getting a role in Banegi Apni Baat. That was the turning point of my career and there's been no looking back since.
"Ever since daily soaps started dominating the scenario, budgets have been curtailed and remuneration has been affected adversely"
So, you are not a trained actor?
No, not at all.
On hindsight, do you regret not having trained as an actor?
I used to, in my early years. My confidence level would be pretty low. I would constantly get the feeling that everybody else around me knew his or her job while I didn't. But seven years into the profession, I have learnt things by the trial and error method.
Is there any performance you are really ashamed of?
Yes, there was a series on Zee called Kala Sona. I feel I was awful in that.
Who are your favourite actors?
Among TV actors, my favourite is Shefali Chhaya. I don't think TV has ever got a more natural actress. I also admire Irfan Khan and Divya Seth. Among film actresses my favorites are Kajol, Tabu and Shabana Azmi.
Have you picked up any stylistic elements from them?
No. In my case, I don't think that could have been possible because I don't watch soaps or movies regularly enough to imbibe anything from these actresses.
Does TV acting tend to get taxing and monotonous?
Very much so. TV characters invariably tend to get repetitive, and repeating oneself can be very boring. Enacting the same kind of characters day after day for 20 days a month, month after month and year after year simply eats into one's creative faculties. I have personally decided that if I am playing a certain character- say the other woman, in one serial, I won't play the same character in another serial. Actually, TV doesn't have much choice either.
There was a phase recently when I refused 16 soaps because they didn't inspire me. For a period of six months I was virtually off TV and was instead concentrating on a play. Now, I am also taking up films as they offer more variety as far as my roles go (even though in terms of footage my roles are obviously small vis--vis the ones I do on TV).
"There was a phase recently when I refused 16 soaps because they didn't inspire me"
Who are your favourite directors?
Sanjay Upadhyay who directed me in Saaya, Ravi Rai and Tony & Deeya Singh. In fact, I am grateful to Tony & Deeya Singh for showing so much faith in me at a time when I was raw and lacking in confidence.
Does TV acting pay well?
Well, I think it used to pay quite well around two years back. But ever since daily soaps have started dominating the scenario, budgets have been curtailed and the remuneration has also been affected adversely.
On a scale of 10, what would you give yourself in acting?
I just don't know. Nor do I want to think about it. Frankly I hate seeing myself on screen. I feel there's still a lot I have to improve on.
Which are the areas you think you need to work on?
I wish my voice modulation were better. In my spare time, I keep working at it.
Do you follow any regimen as a self-development device?
Well, I've started working out regularly. I feel physical activity keeps you fresh and charged up and a leads to a sharp mind. Besides, I read aloud to improve on my dialogue delivery and diction.
Are you comfortable with directors enacting scenes out before you and expecting you to follow suit or do you like to act your own way?
Well, I would like my directors to tell me what exactly is expected of me in a given scene. Directors normally don't enact scenes and I don't believe they should either. I believe that once an actor absorbs the essence of emotions required to be brought out in a scene, she should be given the freedom to enact it her way first. Only if that is not working, the director should step in.
"Ten years down the line, I have no idea what I would be doing. But I want to venture into some profession that has no link to the entertainment industry"
Have you planned out your career- say you're going to shoot for a certain number of days a month or certain number of episodes at a given point of time?
Well, yes. I've always wanted to shoot for 15 days a month, which gets extended to 20, but I don't work on more than two or three projects simultaneously. For instance, even today, I'm working on just two serials- Dhadkan and a forthcoming daily soap for Sahara, which happens to be an adaptation of Fatal Attraction.
Which has been the happiest moment of your career? Where do you see yourself ten years down the line?
I was esctatic when I was told that Saaya had reached a TRP of 10. That was quite phenomenal for a youth-oriented weekly. That I won the Screen Videocon Best Actress award for the same serial was immensely fulfilling. Ten years down the line, I have no idea what I would be doing. But I would want to venture into some other profession that has no link to the entertainment industry. Right now, though, it's just a vague thought.
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