How does it feel to become a household name and how does it feel when people recognize you as Akashara?
I always feel nice about it and it's a something to be proud of to become a household name and becoming one of the most popular TV star all over India. I have got a lot of awards including 10 Star Parivar awards as well as other popular awards. It is a nice feeling. I have been playing this character for long and it feels nice to be known as Akshara.
How has life changed after Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai?
Life has changed a lot after doing Yeh Rishta…. I am shooting most of the times and I hardly get chance to see my parents. I can't spend much time with them and for the last five years my set has almost become my second home and my home has become a place where I just go and sleep.
What kind of struggle did you face in your journey of stardom?
I have not faced any struggle in this journey. God has been very kind to me. I never wanted to become an actress; I wanted to become a journalist. I was studying in Delhi when one of my friends informed me about the audition going on for Yeh Rishta and pushed me to go for it. I came to Mumbai the very next day. This show has achieved a milestone by running for so long.
Was it easy for you to get yourself evolved in the character of Akshara?
All the actors in the show have done some shows or commercials earlier but I had never faced the camera. It was a new journey for me. So, initially it was very difficult and I couldn't really manage but thanks to my director, my co-actors and Rajan sir who had a lot of hope and trust in me. Initially, the people who select the characters didn't have belief in me that I will be able to portray this character because I was new to the industry but Rajan sir was the one who trusted me. He believed in me that I can do this and I proved him right.
You have covered a long journey through Yeh Rishta from being a daughter to a mother on-screen. How has been the experience of playing different phases of a woman's life on-screen?
It's been great! I feel as if I have lived a full life with my character in Yeh Rishta. I have gained so much experience and learned a lot from the show and I am all set for my life after I get married. However, I am not going to get married for another 3-4 yrs. I have really come a long way and learned a lot from my character… Akshara is so patient and understands things so well. I am playing a Mom now and I am getting responses like I don't look like a Mom (chuckles). I feel nice that I am not dressed like a Saaree or Pallu Moms or typical desi Moms. I am playing a working woman who handles her family and very much a 'Yummy Mummy' (laughs).
Many actresses refuse to play a Mom on-screen. You are too young and not a Mother in real life. So, how did you prepare yourself for this role?
It doesn't matter! Even if I have to play a Dadi on-screen, I will look like the way I am; I am not going to look like a 'Dadi'. I am playing a mother but I from the feedback that I get from the channel, the creative or the fans is that I don't look like a Mother. I did no preparation to play this character because it automatically comes out and I can feel it.
If you are offered a role completely different from what you are playing now, then would you find it easy to mould yourself into the character?
I would love to do something different. I have been playing this character since 5 years and when Yeh Rishta gets over, I would love to play a character which is bubbly, chirpy and full of masti and dhamaal. The quiet Akshara has become very popular and well known but still I would love to play something different. A trained actor can do every role but I am not a trained actor so I want to see whether I can play any different role other than this or not. It will be a challenge for me.
What you would like to say to the fans for their love they have showered upon you?
I love them because whatever I am today is just because of them. I owe my success to them. I am the worst actress in the sense that I don't give any interviews but still they keep me in top 10 which is a huge thing for me. I love them for this and for all the love and attention they shower upon me.