As the full-of-life Mandy in the Sony daily Ye Meri Life Hai, Muskaan Mihani is a typical, middle-class Punjabi girl. Best friend of the main protagonist Pooja (Shama Sikander), Mandy and her are inseparable.
In the next couple of weeks, Mihani will feature as the high-life loving Sanjana in the Zee soap Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa.
Mihani is serious about an image change, distinct from Mandy. "I want to move on to new characters," she says.
Are you determined to shed the bumbling Mandy image?
Yes. As an actress, I have to move on to new characters and roles. I was under contract with Sony for a year, so I could not do anything else. As the contract expires next month, I can take on new offers. Viewers feel that I am exactly like Mandy even off-screen!
Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa offers you that change?
As Mandy, I am cute and loveable. In Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa I will be more of a hot babe.0 I play Sanjana, sister of the suave businessman Kabeer Jairath (Gaurav Chopra). I begin shooting for it next month. You will see me in Western wear as the characterisation is set in an affluent background.
Sanjana is sophisticated; Mandy is typically middle-class. Sanjana is in awe of her brother but when he is not around, she will be up to her tricks.
Does that mean there will be less of Mandy in Ye Meri Life Hai?
I really don't know how the track will develop. At the moment, the show is focussing on Pooja's marriage. Mandy is delighted and wants to make Pooja's wedding truly memorable. I guess Pooja has found her man, so best friend Mandy will have to wait a bit on the sides. But Mandy will always be there for Pooja.
You were the original choice to play Pooja?
Yes, I was. I auditioned for the role and, to be honest, only wanted to play Pooja. Any actor wants to play the lead role. But things did not work out and I was offered Mandy's role. I was extremely upset and cried a lot.
There are certain things that happen in life. To be honest, I still cry about how I lost out on Pooja's role. I accepted the role of Mandy with a heavy heart.
It must have been difficult for you to portray that great on-screen rapport Mandy has with Pooja.
I am an actress and I have to be professional. When I took on Mandy's role, I had to do it very well and portray that bonding with Pooja though in my heart I would wish I were playing Pooja.
Like Pooja, will Mandy also find her man?
Now that Pooja is married, I hope there is someone for Mandy too; someone who will sweep her off her feet as well as knock some sense into her — but it all depends on the track.