How did you start your career as an actor? Was it that you always wanted to get into acting?
Right from the beginning I wanted to become an actor. I used to participate in all the cultural and dramatic competitions in school and college. Also, many a times I was rewarded with the best actress award. Since I knew I wanted to get into the profession of acting, I joined National School of Drama (NSD), Delhi. It was a 3 years course and I graduated from there. In NSD, there are many courses in which you can specialize. I chose acting because that was my interest. After my graduation, I came back to Mumbai. I wanted proper scientific training in acting so I started freelancing. I had called up Shyam Benegal and told him about my interest in acting and that I am a NSD graduate. He liked my eagerness to learn so he signed me for his film called "Antarnath". So that is how my I started as an actor in the industry with films.
How did Saathiya happen to you?
It was very usual. Before Saath Nibhana Saathiya, I was working on television so people from the industry knew me. I met the concerned person for Saathiya. I gave my look test in the Star office and got selected for the role.
What made you opt for a role like Kokila Modi?
The narration given to me of the role was itself very convincing. Kokila is someone who wants to control her bahu. Aisi bahu jo uske ishaaro par naache. On the other hand, the bahu (daughter-in-law) is very innocent and very seedhi-sadhi. This is something that is seen in most of the daily soaps but what I loved the most about this character is that, she also appreciated if her bahu did something good. She will appreciate her bahu's goodness. So, the character of Kokila is very balanced. She is strict and stern but as well knows how to appreciate the goodness of others and stand for the truth.
How close are you to the character of Kokila Modi?
I am extremely close to this character. Saathiya is in its fourth year now and I can confidently say that Kokila Modi is impressed by Rupal Patel. The only difference that I find is that, me, as a person is always smiling. Whereas Koki is always serious and more mature.
The values and the principles shown in the show, do you believe in them and up to what extent?
I strongly believe in the kind of family values shown in the show. I personally, strongly follow all these values in my life. The upbringing of a person, his humanity, character, nature, behavior, his outer personality makes a lot of difference in a person' life. All of these make a lot of sense. The relations and the relationship shown on the show put a great impact.
Which was your first venture on TV?
My first venture on television was 'Trikala' for UTV. I played a character of a Muslim lady who is the wife of a union leader who gets killed. After his death, she takes up all his responsibilities and solves all the problems of the common man. That character too was a very strong character. Even during NSD, I played all the main and strong characters. By the grace of God, I have played only important characters till date.
Keeping Kokila's character aside, how are you as a person?
I am very simple, grounded and straight-forward person. Jo mere dil mein hain, wo mere dimaag mein hain aur wohi mere zubaan par! According to me, Humanity is extremely important. Har insaan mein insaaniyat honi chahiye!
How do you manage work and family together?
Well, in that case, I am very fortunate. My husband is also into the acting profession and so he very well understands me and my work. I met him while I was studying in NSD. He plays the lead character in Jamuniya which comes on DD national and Brahma dev in Devo ke Dev...Mahadev. He is very understanding and makes me feel comfortable. My son has just given his class 10th exam and is still pursuing his studies. He is away from acting but has attended all my acting workshops. Such workshops help in the overall development of the personality.
As an individual, what are the qualities or teachings you actually preach in life and would like to imbibe them in your child too?
I believe in simplicity. Our behavior should be simple. We should be modern in our thoughts and not by our clothes. Humanity is very important. Aapke paas sab kuch hain, lekin insaaniyat hi nahi hai to kya fayda? Love and humanity are the driving force of life. I am born and brought up in a joint family, I very well know how to speak with my elders and talk to the ones who are younger to me. Today, I see people have to struggle so much to get in touch with someone. There are so many people who love me, care for me and follow my show regularly. Isme in logo ka kya swarth (motive)? Mujhe inke prati niswarth hona chahiye. I love humbleness and down to earth nature. I believe in valuing each and every person' time. They are giving a part of their life to you. Also, as an actor, I believe in being conscious about my dialogues, my screenplay and being disciplined and professional. I would imbibe all these values and principles in my child's life.
What kind of equation would you share with your future daughter-in-law?
Whenever my son gets married and the moment my daughter-in-law enters my house, from that very moment she will become my daughter. As Rupal, I believe, it is an elder's duty to give something and then expect back. Only when I treat her as my daughter will she treat me as her mother. I will be very conscious. I will give my love to her and then only expect something back from her.