Posted: 29 April 2005 at 2:53pm | IP Logged
Saturday, April 30, 2005
INTERVIEWS | AASHKA & RUCHA
When KKusum decided to fast forward to the next generation, the focus shifted to Kkumud and Kali. While the soft-spoken yet strong Kkumud is an extension of KKusum herself, representing the middle-class, the spoilt and wilful Kali is a product of rich upbringing and high living. Screen caught up with the two young actresses Aashka Goradia and Rucha Gujrati
Tell us something about your background?
I am originally from Ahemdabad. My dad is a businessman and my mom a house wife. I have a little brother who is eight, so that would make me eighteen (smiles) MIDBANNER
So how did the Bombay bug bite you?
Well, I never ever wanted to settle down in Ahmedabad. I felt that there was nothing creative there for me to pursue. I had always told my dad that I wanted to move out of the place and explore new avenues.
New avenues, meaning acting?
You know something, I never thought even in my wildest dreams that I would be an actress. I never even nurtured one of those childish fantasies about being a star. I was a brilliant student always topping my class and thought my career lay in something academic and professional. In fact I was all set to go to New Zealand to study criminal psychology.
From criminal psychology to soap operas... how did that happen?
You see, my dad always thought that I had that extra spark in me. Although he was not aware of what it fully entailed he sent my name for the Gladrags contest. I was chosen and even reached till the third round. It was here that I realised that I would have to wear a skimpy swimsuit in front of hundreds and so I backed out of the contest. But that was a good beginning as I knew I wanted a career in media by then.
Is it true that KKumud's role happened by chance to you?
Absolutely. When I heard that Balaji Telefilms was on the look out for girls to play the younger generation in KKusum I immediately went and auditioned. I tested for the role of Kali initially and it came as a complete surprise to me when Ekta said that I was the Kkumud she was looking for. (Laughs). You see, I had a totally different look then, blonde hair and hip clothes. I didn't look anything like a simple girl from a middle class family-which is what Ekta wanted.
But since then, your look (as a middle-class girl) has been consistent.
Yes, and that is what Ekta loves about me. I have resisted the temptation of wearing expensive clothes and heavy makeup. If you notice carefully, I would have left my hair open very few times in the show. I have also stuck to wearing ordinary cotton salwar-kurtas. But post my marriage to Garv, my look will gradually become glossier. That is but natural considering that the character is moving into a higher status of life.
Coming back to the role itself, what made you take it up considering that in serials like Kyunkii Saas Bhi... and Kahanii Ghar..., the new generation is yet to gain as much appreciation as say a Tulsi or Parvati?
The thought did cross my mind. I did not want to play second fiddle but on the other hand the offer was tempting. After the auditions and the meetings Ekta told me, "Just take it, I am offering you the lead role'. So that was that. Also contrary to the trend in other serials, the younger generation in KKusum has really caught on. The serial is on top of the Sony charts now, if I may say so.
Did the change of the actor who plays KKusum from Nausheen to Mansi affect your performance or interpretation of relationship in any way?
Not really. I think both are amazing actors and read the role very well. I wasn't worried about the equation changing at all. At the end of the day you have to be professional about such things. On a personal level I got along with Nausheen very well and today I am equally comfortable with Mansi.
Do you identify with Kkumud, your character in any way as you are playing someone close to your age?
I don't have to act to play Kkumud or to believe in her. I totally identify with her. Her values and attitude and view of life are quite similar to that of mine.
I don't have to act to play Kkumud or to believe in her. I totally identify with her
Speaking of values do you think you are sending out the right message with the 'unwed pregnancy' angle?
Not at all. I am aware of the audience reactions, and more than the fact that Kkumud got pregnant before marriage, they are concerned about her rift with Kshitij. That has always been the point of focus. Everyone wants to know, 'why can't the two lovebirds be together'. Believe me, I have got so many letters and emails from young girls saying that they totally identify with my turmoil as they have undergone through with similar situations. Such occurrences are very common in our society.
Both Jassi and Kkumud represent the average middle-class but in different aspects.
Perhaps. I think Jassi is more to do with the middle-class ambitions and aspirations and the class struggle so to speak and Kkumud represents the societal issues and conflicts. I think Sony is doing a wonderful job of highlighting the middle-class way of life through these serials.
What has the response been like, to you?
The response has been amazing. I really did not expect this much but it gives me a good feeling as I have proved myself. Initially, I wasn't too confident but gradually I grew into the skin of the character. Besides everyone was very helpful right form my co-stars and the director to Ektaa herself.
Ekta is supposed to be a tough taskmaster isn't she?
Yes, and it pays in such a good manner doesn't it? (Laughs) Look at how much she has achieved over the years. I think she is a wonderful producer who involves herself in every single creative aspect of the show. If Ekta pulls me up for non-performance she has every right to do and I will not feel bad. There is a tremendous amount of hard work and money involved. She is personally interested in each person's performance. KKusum was a dream project for Ekta and it is a dream project for me too.
Are you looking at other offers?
Well, I am under contract with Balaji for a year. Besides we shoot for 30 days a month so other projects will have to wait. But eventually, yes, I would love to expand my horizons.
Would that include films?
Why not? I think everyone dreams of being part of films. Of course (smiling) I have my limitations set there too. Swimsuits would still be a big no. Off-shoulders and miniskirts are ok. But that is a long way off. Right now KKusum is my life and world.
You have done some acting in the past haven't you?
Yes, but as a child artist. I have played roles in many films including Shikaar and Hum Hain Kamaal Ke. Then I took a break as I wanted to complete my studies.
Still, an acting career was always on the cards.
Absolutely. I would go for auditions and screen-tests all the time. Infact I have quite a few ad films to my credit like Livon, Emami, Royal Stag and Chandan Pan Masala. I have also appeared in a few music videos including one of Gurdaas Maan's and another Punjabi music video.
So how did you land Kali's role in KKusum?
Actually I had gone for a Balaji Telefilms audition for another serial. It was Yukta's part in Kahiin Kissi Roz. But Ekta spotted me and felt I was perfect for Kali's character in KKusum.
Were you okay making your television debut with a negative character?
I don't think Kali is an out and out negative character. She has many dimensions- a bit of black, white and grey (laughs). I mean, she is not like a Komolika or a Ramona who are evil without any question. Kali's motives are different. She is a confused person who is easily swayed by other people. Her actions are directed by her emotions which run very high. Very soon you will see a softer side to her personality when she interacts with Garv. She realises that she has lost him because of her stupid behaviour. I am sure that this angle will generate a sympathy wave among the audiences.
Are you in any way like her?
Not at all (laughs) I think in real life I am much sweeter and soft-spoken than Kali. So it is actually fun playing such a character.
But it seems a little unnatural to show a 20 year old plotting and planning so viciously. Won't it send out the wrong signals?
I beg to differ. I think there is a message but it's a well meaning one. After watching Kali go through her experiences caused by her own actions she will realise it does not pay off to be so scheming. Nothing good will come out of it. I am sure people will learn a few things from the character.
Does the fact that you are at constant loggerheads with Kkumud in the serial affect your off-screen friendship in anyway?
I don't think so. We can't let such things creep into your daily lives. Off camera Aashka and I are very good friends and don't let our TV personae affect our relationship
I don't think Kali is an out and out negative character. She has many dimensions - a bit of black, white and grey
Coming to the Kali and Kkumud war, the difference in your class and status has been very well highlighted.
Yes, I think right form the beginning; it was worked out in such a way that the differences would be obvious. Kkumud is supposed to be the unfashionable type and I was slated to wear all the skimpy hot clothes (laughs). Kali is someone who likes to flaunt herself and that had to come across. I think the look of a character is very important in defining it.
Are you relieved that unlike other negative characters in soaps you dress very casually?
Yes, no fancy head gears and makeup. (smiles) After all I am playing a teenager so that had to be kept in mind. This is another reason why I took up the role. My age is an advantage. I have enough time to play other varied characters and acquire other images.
Did you have to prepare for the role, considering it is a little unreal?
Well. Initially it was difficult because I am totally unlike Kali. But gradually I grew into it. Now I am absolutely comfortable with the whole process.
Aren't you worried that monotony will eventually set in, considering it is a daily soap?
I guess we do feel it once in a while. It is a like a daily job you know. But at the end of the day it is such a satisfying experience that you just want to get on with it.
What has your experience with the production house been?
It has been wonderful. Ekta is a very sweet person and all those stories we hear of her problems with her actors seems to have no basis. At least I have never encountered any hassles so far. She is so involved in the whole process and takes individual care of each of us. During the discussions, if she gets the inkling that the actor is not getting the feel of the role right she would actually act it out for the person.
What are your future plans?
Well, since I am under contract for a year with KKusum I will concentrate on that. After that let us see what comes my way. I have got offers from many places including STAR Plus and Zee TV. I have been getting feelers for films too. So the future looks good right now.
Edited by bluepink - 29 April 2005 at 2:55pm