Joined: 17 April 2005
|Star of the week: Sneha Hazarika|
On being compared with Smriti Irani of Kyunki Saas fame
Niki Aneja Walia's name was synonymous with Astitva for almost three-and-a-half years. Such was the impact of this serial that Zee TV actually instituted an award by the name of Zee Astitva Awards last year. And during that period, if one thought of a dignified woman of substance on television, the first name that would come to mind was Niki's. Her status was in no way less than that of Tulsi on Star Plus.
When asked then what she felt about being referred to as Zee's Tulsi, she had said, "If I am Zee's Tulsi, Tulsi is Star's Simran. But let me tell you whereas Simran is a woman of today, Tulsi is not," Niki sure has all the guts. That's Niki Aneja for you. But before Astitva, she was, as a matter of fact, known for her varied roles in serials like Daastaan, Samandar, Sea Hawks, Patang, Piya Bina, Baat Ban Jaaye and Gharwali Uparwali.
What was surprising was her shift from the chirpy young Niki from Baat Ban Jaye and the overbearing and funny housewife from Gharwali Uparwali to the intense older woman, Simran in Astitva. Also very few people know that Niki had started out as a model and had done a film, Mr Azad, with Anil Kapoor which she calls "a disillusioning experience."
Another noteworthy fact is that she had successfully come out of a freak accident on the sets of Gharwali Uparwali to do Astitva. Niki Aneja seems to have lasted out all that.
This has been Niki Aneja over the years. Variety is the spice of life, maybe that's what she seems to believe in. "I have always dared to be different. Astitva did not have huge sets or bejewelled women. In Astitva, I started out as a 37-year-old which was much more than my actual age at that time." Probably no one imagined her to take up such a challenge then.
When Indian television at primetime is crowded with saas-bahu sagas, a favourite with Indian housewives, Niki managed to garner attention amidst all the competition.
"I kept getting offers. Actually their way of working is not my kind actually." But now that Astitva, the serial which gave her most recognition has come to an end, what's next for her? "Yes surely, I would definitely try to take up more work. But it should be as good or better than Astitva." No doubt her standards are well set. "Whatever next, should be worth my calibre as an actress," she says.
Would she be doing films? "I am not ruling out the possibility. But I would look, not at commercial films but something worthwhile in art films now," she says. (Mr Azad was a bitter experience indeed.) Would she like to work with director Ajai Sinha (of Astitva) again, the man who can take the credit of bringing out the best in her?
"I am already looking at what he will be doing in future. But to be honest I wouldn't want to work in a daily anymore. Almost three and half years, 24 hours a day, more than half the month of working was pretty exhausting. So I would prefer a weekly," she says. So now that she has taken time off, she can divide time better between home and work.
"My husband Sonny Walia (who is a UK-based marketing consultant) is very co-operative. In fact, he likes keeping house much more than I do. That made my work easier even when I was working too much," she says. Will she be starting a family soon? "God bless you," she says. "Why not? I am already open to the idea. But we are not planning anything. What happens will happen. But it's a nice thing," she signs off, all prepared to continue playing various roles in life.
Joined: 17 April 2005
Joined: 15 March 2005
Joined: 17 April 2005
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