Joined: 23 October 2004
Smriti Irani, or Tulsi -- as she is called in the very popular soap, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi -- has already achieved superstardom.
The serial has achieved cult status. Throughout the country, you can find housewives discussing the latest drama in Tulsi's life, fashion trends in Kyunki and the inevitable question: When Baa will finally die.
A day before her 30th birthday, we caught up with Smriti. She spoke about the show, her life and her birthday plans. Over to her.
"It's going to be a very boring day. It will begin with the shooting of Kyunki, then I (will) watch my daughter taking dance lessons. I am keeping my evening free hoping Mr Zubin Irani (her husband) gives me a big surprise!
It will be one of those rare days; I will be sitting all evening staring at him. I am sure that is scary enough for him! Zubin ends up being clumsy since there is so much pressure on him to make the day special.
I love books. On one birthday, Zubin got me a dozen books and wrote a small note for me inside every book.
But he was so tense, instead of writing March 23, he wrote March 20! He totally messed up the notes on all the books. And he did not even realise his mistake until much later.
Zubin does something special every year to make my birthday memorable.
My children have grown up now. My son is four (years old) and my daughter is two (years old). Yesterday, I heard my daughter practicing Happy birthday to you in her room till late evening. By the time she was done, she had a sore throat!
In the serial, Tulsi makes sure her kids fall in line. At home, my children make sure that I fall in line and march to their tune.
It's quite the opposite!
On her career
Significantly, I will also complete six years with Balaji Telefilms today. It was this day when I had first got my contract for Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and another serial called Kavita.
For the past six years, I have always worked on my birthday. I always tell Ekta Kapoor that I am her oldest employee. I have stuck around for a very long time. I may become a prehistoric monolith by the time we finish the serial!
For everyone else's birthday on the sets, I am in charge of the celebrations -- to get the cake et al. But on my birthday, I run away from the cake.
Usually, my colleagues get together on my birthday, conspire and whisper (about pulling her leg) but they respectfully just cut the cake. Giving me birthday bumps is not possible as I am huge!
And nobody, except Ba, has the
courage to smear cake on my face. But she also lets me go because I am
three inches taller than her!
On making it big
I think when anyone struggles they think they are being short changed. And I went through my phase of struggle too. At the end of the day what I have got today in life is worth it. At least my dreams came true.
There was a point of time in my life when I just had Rs 50 in my pocket. I had very high fever then, and had decided that the Balaji audition would be my last. I took a train and got down at Mahalaxmi station (in Mumbai). I did not even have the minimum fare to take a cab to Famous Studio, so I had to take a bus.
I have attained a fair degree of success. I don't have any regrets. I am enjoying what I am doing.
I play a 50-year-old woman in Kyunki.
It doesn't matter what age I'm playing as long as I manage to play my role adequately, as long as I am able to be a part of the show that has been number one for the past six years continuously.
I think as an actor one should be ready for every challenge that comes, every kind of role that comes your way.
I never did any preparation to play the Tulsi I have been playing. So preparing to play an older Tulsi is out of question. I just follow the director's brief and the script.
The only difference I think is that I was much thinner when I started playing Tulsi. Those were the days!
On her fitness regime
Is that a joke? Do I look like the sort who would have a diet regime? You don't want to know my weight and I don't even try to diet, as I will be very miserable at it!
On the mercy killing of Tulsi's saas, Savita (played by Apara Mehta) on Kyunki
(Laughs) I can kill only certain people. I never ask Balaji what they are going to do next.
Most of the women playing bahus are my friends. Gauri Pradhan and I are batch mates. As far Shilpa Saklani, it was me who made Balaji cast her. I have been the main protagonist on Kyunki… and I will continue to be the same.
On her identity
It's not true that I am known as only Tulsi. I am known as Smriti more. Thanks to shows like Kuch Dil Se … I have made a name for myself as an individual. I have been lucky enough to break through. I have just started my production company, which has already had its first two box-office hits in terms of theatre.
I have never perceived to like a particular role. I look at projects in totality. Its never happened that I thought I want to be a, b or c in a film.
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