Posted: 17 August 2006 at 5:33am
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My family my world: Smriti Irani
Mumbai, August 17, 2006
A compulsive channel surfer once told us that she finds it impossible to switch channels when Tulsi Virani 'lectured' her erring kin in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.
"It always feels good to hear Tulsi's sermons", she said. Smriti Iraani who essays the role of Tulsi is equally captivating in person. Never at a loss for words, Smriti seamlessly moves between her roles as actor, daughter, homemaker, mother, politi cian though not necessarily in that order. The 30-something actor is now co-producing her first serial (she has produced plays though) Thodi Si Zameen Tho da Sa Aasmaan with Ekta Kapoor premiering this weekend on Star Plus.
For someone who was once written off by the family astrologer, as "no good except to be married off," Smriti hasn't done too badly for herself "without doing any hanky panky."
A screen role that has etched her name in the history of Indian television, a rising socio-political career and a "successful marriage, three lovely children and my audience which keep me afloat."
In her new serial, she plays Uma, a middle-class girl living in a chawl and interestingly the character will help her break away from the image of the 65-year-old Tulsi.
The serial will be a realistic take at issues at how the shutting of a mill affects people. What are her expectations from the serial?
"The channel has given us a weekend slot and I certainly hope my serial gets more TRPs for that slot than it is getting now. We have some very good actors from theatre, TV and films and I don't want to let them down."
Coming to her family, she says initially it was all about making her parents and then her husband Zubin proud. "But now I want to leave a legacy behind me for my kids and make them proud of me. I have worked hard to be where I am and I can't let people around me down. I can't hang up my boots yet. I don't want to be a Jackof-all-trades but the master too."
Ask her if she's for real and she smiles faintly. We have heard stories labeling her an insecure person, who's not devoid of human frailties, like jealousy? "I'd be jealous only if a gorgeous woman looked at Zubin. I am honest to myself. It's not a mask I wear. I don't think it's possible for anybody to put on an act all the time. Anybody will catch it and I credit the person talking to me, meeting me with that much intelligence."
Surprisingly she still shares a good equation with Ekta considering there are very few actors who have survived Balaji for sixseven years. Maybe that's because Smriti has high regard for Ekta's mother Shobha. She says, "Shobha aunty helped me get a toehold in the industry. And when she heard the script of Thodi Si she said 'Let's do it together'."
The downside of being famous? "When others use it to make their own. I have gone through some really trying times in the past two years in my public life and the most difficult thing has been not to carry it home. I am calmer now. It's neither the trophies for your serials nor the work you do in your constituency that matter as much as it's the unconditional love I share with my husband.
Family or career? "Family, always," says the quintessential prime time bahu! Smriti in the Sky Smriti recently staged her Hindi play Kuch Tum Kaho Kuch Hum Kahein at Manchester as part of the annual Sky festival in the UK.
"I represented Star Plus which represented Asia at the festival. I met my fans from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and even Somalia where they show Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi with subtitles.