She plays the naive and lovable Maria in the hugely popular series, Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin. Meet the petite, attractive Shabnam Mishra, who is all set to enter Bollywood with Anurag Basu's Murder.
"It's a small role, but it is integral to the film," says Shabnam, a resident of Versova. Unwilling to talk extensively about the role, she says, "It's my first film. It's been amazing working with Anurag Basu. He is such a fine director."
She adds, "What really gave me a kick though was when Bhattsaab (Mahesh Bhatt) gave me a pat on the back after I gave my first shot."
It was a theatre course with the late Vijay Dutt's academy that really swung Shabnam's life around. "I did it more for personality development to get over stage fright. But after the course, there was no looking back," reveals Shabnam.
She bagged a role in the play Chanakya while she was still doing the course. After that, she worked with Dinesh Thakur's Ankh. Her first serial was Tujh Pe Dil Qurbaan for Sony.
"The thrill of theatre is that you can see the audience react immediately, but theatre does not pay. I wanted to be an actress and earn money as well, which is why I moved to TV," explains this NM college graduate.
So how has the transition from theatre to TV been? "Well, theatre allows you to use your whole body, while acting for TV is more restrained. But it gradually gets ingrained. You understand the technicalities of TV," replies Shabnam.
After Tujh Pe Dil Qurbaan, Shabnam has acted in serials like Koi Apna Sa, Virasat, Goonj Ateet Ki and Kabhi Souten Kabhi Saheli. While she played a negative role in Kabhi Souten Kabhi Saheli, she plays a warm character in Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin.
Says Shabnam, "There was this phase where everyone thought I fit the negative bill perfectly, but now they feel that I am perfect as Maria in Jassi…" She adds, "But my favourite role till date has been that of Ramya from Goonj Ateet Ki. It was a beautiful vulnerable part set against the backdrop of a little village in Kerala."
When asked about the popularity of Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin Shabnam says, "A lighthearted show like Jassi was new to the medium which is why it clicked."
And with her upcoming entry into Bollywood, Shabnam hopes to work with the likes of Mani Ratnam and Ram Gopal Varma.
Any dream roles for her? "Any role that has already been done would not be a dream anymore. But if my role gets a one line mention in the annals of Indian cinema, that would be my dream come true," says Shabnam.