Tell us about your character in Gurbani…
Rano represents all those girls whose parents have got them married to NRI's thinking that the girls will be happy and lead a comfortable married life. When the story starts we see that Rano herself is married to an NRI some 20 years back but he has left her and she is still waiting for days and months for him to return and take her back with him. Since she is from a Pind (small village) from Punjab she is still dressed as the dulhan for all these years. She is disappointed but still comes back every day.
You are not from Punjab so how did you adapt to Rano's character?
Gurbani is based in Punjab and we have even shot there but in real life I am a Rajput from Indore, Madhya Pradesh. My Hindi has always been good but in Gurbani we have used a little bit of Punjabi to get that flavor of Punjab in the serial. Our dialogues are sprinkled with 'Jina, Unna' instead of 'Jitna, Utna', and it is easy to speak that much of Punjabi as we have been hearing it so much otherwise too in films and serials.
Since this story is inspired from real life have you ever come across such a character in real life?
I have read a lot about such true life incidents where girls are abandoned after marriage but I would say that fortunately I have not met someone like this in real life. I have heard about cases like this from people around and I remember even my mother telling me about girls who get married to NRIs but later find out that the guy is already married but never have I met someone face to face.
Will we see you in each and every episode and how does your character relate to Gurbani's?
I will be seen as a prominent character but not in each episode as the story revolves around Gurban and her family. The start of the story is Gurbani (played by Shefali Sharma) but the end is Rano. In fact, the hero Sohum (Adhvik Mahajan) does not allow Gurbani to meet Rano as he does not want her future too to be like Rano's. He knows that Gurbani's parents are looking for an NRI groom for her and he fears that if her future resembles Rano's then she being a girl of today will not sit and wait but will go in search of her groom.
What made you accept this role?
I accepted Rano's role as soon as I heard the story. The role is beautifully written and challenging for every actor to enact. She is shown to be 40 plus and you hardly get interesting characters written for such age on television. I started crying even as I heard the narration of Rano's character as it is a very emotional role. I also took it up because it is a social issue which we are trying to bring forth to the audience. There are some 30,000 plus women living the life of Rano and there are sad and happy endings to each story but it is very important to address this issue socially. I am hoping that through my character, I can save many Ranos in the future.
Your character is emotionally charged, how is it shooting for it?
As I said, Rano is a very emotional character. Her story is heart-wrenching and it can make you cry. I am sure whoever will see it will get attached to her. Whenever I hear the scenes and shoot for them I start crying on my own and no glycerine is required. I have howled and cried like nothing in the scene where Rano runs after the train, trips and falls down and then looks up with tears in her eyes. Main toh phoot-phoot ke royi us shot mein!
Seema Khot Mattoo