Indian television seems to be flooded with shows these days, most of them trying to break the mould and hold
of saas-bahu shows. One such show is 'Bidaai', on STAR Plus. We chat with Parul Chauhan, who plays the
role of Ragini in the show.
Q. Tell us something about your character in 'Bidaai'.
A. I am playing a character named Ragini, who is Sadhna's cousin and elder sister. The family is based in
Agra. Ragini is very dark, but she does not care what people think of her looks. Sadhna, on the other hand, is
very fair, and Ragini's mother has a problem with that, since her daughter is so dark.
She is worried
about what people will say, and how she will get her daughter married, and, even if she manages to do that,
what kind of man her daughter will marry. Ragini does not worry about these things. Sadhna and she are two
bodies with one soul, closer than two sisters could be.
Q. 'Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin' and 'Saat Phere' have dealt with the subject of the ugly duckling, and they have
been successful shows. Is this why you accepted this role?
A. No, no'nothing like that. If there is a good offer, then there is no reason to thwart it. I found this role
challenging, and therefore took it up.
A lot of people reminded me that I would be made to look darker
and uglier than I actually am, and that is not how I should be seen on screen. I think, as an actor, I can look
both pretty and ugly, as the role demands, and I have no problem with either.
Q. Was it just the challenge, or did someone convince you of the role?
A. I had auditioned for this role. I have been in Mumbai for over one-and-a-half years. I have played the role of
Riya, in Balaji's 'Kayamath', where I was Bharat Shah's girlfriend.
I also played a college student
named Tina in 'Woh Rehne Wale Mahalon Mein', a Rajshri presentation. I was still a struggling actor, when this
role came my way. My motto in life has always been 'work, work, and more work'.
When I first met
Rajan Sir, I was already taken in, because he has a different way of explaining the role and the character. That
is when I realized that my struggling days are over, and this is what I should be doing.
Q. Where were you based before you came to Mumbai?
A. I am from Lakshmipur, in Uttar Pradesh. It is the second largest district in India. My family consists of my
parents, my brother and myself. My father is a government servant.
I had attended a family wedding
once, and my brother's friend saw me dance. He said that I had good expressions, and I should try acting. I
am a Rajput, and when I wanted to come to Mumbai, people said ten things, but my parents were supportive,
and, for that, I am grateful.
Q. Did you always want to be an actor, or is there some other reason why you got into this
A. Both my brother and I were free spirits when we were younger. My parents never forbade us to dream. I
wanted to be an engineer, but when I was told that I would make a good actor, I became inclined towards this
My brother's friend must have seen some potential in me, otherwise he would not have
suggested it. When I first came to Mumbai, I had to run from pillar to post, to look for some work.
wanted to go back home, but my father told me that I should not be discouraged, and that he would pay for
everything, but I cannot give up. He has a lot of conviction in me. Whatever I am today, is because of him.
Q. Tell us how you decided to come from Uttar Pradesh to Mumbai.
A. One of my friends told me about the Asha Chandra Acting Institute. My brother had come here before. He is
a cameraman in this industry. So, he knew quite a bit about this place before I came here. He brought me
here, and I shifted into a hostel. Then I went to meet Asha Chandra, and thus began my journey as an actor.
Q. Was the acting is institute helpful?
A. Absolutely. Self-confidence increases with such training. You can face the camera and perform any scene
that is required. The institute taught me all that.
Q. How supportive was your brother?
A. Whenever I need something, I turn to my brother. He has been supportive right from the beginning. He went
with me to my first shooting. He used to rehearse with me for all my scenes, in the beginning. Not just him,
my entire family has been supportive.
Q. Indian television is filled with saas-bahu shows. How different is this show going to be from
A. Saas-bahu shows have generation leaps, and the main characters are always the saas and the bahu. There
is nothing like that in this serial.
There is a family, and all members of the family have substantial
roles. All the members of the family are fiercely loyal towards each other. My character is very fond of Sadhna.
If Sadhna falls, Ragini gets hurt.
Ragini revolts against her mother if she says anything against
Sadhna. Usually, if the saas is a nice person, then the bahu is a vamp, and vice versa. 'Bidaai' has no such