By playing Maa Kusum Sundari I am pushing my boundaries - Karuna Pandey

The actress is currently seen in Colors' drama Devanshi.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 | 6:00:18 PM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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Colors Devanshi is making waves since its launch, for its out of the box content. The show, focusing on the concept of Godwomen, has Karuna Pandey playing Maa Kusum Sundari, the Godwoman in the show. 

We got talking to Karuna about the show. 

Why did you take up a grey role like Maa Kusum Sundari after a lively and happy go lucky and positive Padmini?

As actors, we all have our own perceptions when picking up something new, but I have never had any inhibitions about choosing a role, as long as it was good, strong and story driven. Padmini was a very positive and bubbly person and it was a beautiful journey, which I enjoyed thoroughly. After Bhaage re Mann, I wanted to take up a part where the character was as complex as Padmini. When the story of Devanshi was narrated to me, I loved the nuances and shades of Maa Kusum Sundari. It was also an area, I had never really dabbled in. The character's strength, involvement, different dialect, attitude, and look, was what drew me to it.   

How easy or difficult has the transition from a positive to negative one has been to play?

I have played negative characters in the past and have never thought twice before picking up a good role. I think the ability to transition is the job of an actor. Playing different characters is what gives me an adrenaline rush.  I would never want to get stuck to one genre and be typecast. I want to always keep experimenting. Shifting focus from a positive role to negative is a challenge, but there is also a deep sense of satisfaction when you achieve it. Once you immerse yourself in a character, it flows more easily.  

Bhaage Re Mann's season 2 did not run like the show's first season and had to be pulled off-air. What do you think went wrong? 

Although we had taped both the seasons together, the channel decided to take a break in the telecasting. The tracks were good and we got appreciation for the second season as well. We left the first season on a very high point, but maybe the break made people lose interest. Maybe it was difficult to draw the audience back in after that. All said and done, this was a very different show and I enjoyed every moment of it. We did break the mould with Bhaage re Mann. 

Devanshi highlights the social stigma of a 'Godwoman'. What served as a trigger for you to accept this role? 

I personally don't believe in the concept of a Godwoman', but am a firm lover of God. Having faith in a higher power is important to me. The role for me was never about the negativity. I found it very interesting because I have never played anything like this. Nobody had ever touched or explored such a subject with such depth. The character has so many shades - romance, passion, anger, drama. She changes in a second because she is so used to enacting in front of people. Playing such a diverse range of emotions is fantastic. I think the main trigger for me was that I knew by playing Maa Kusum Sundari', I would be pushing my boundaries as an actor. 

The concept of Cross dressing is a key part of your show. Unlike previous times, the audience has started to accept such bold concepts. What do you have to say about this shift in the audience' mindset? 

Yes, the audience has started accepting bold subjects, with a bigger heart as compared to earlier times. But the thing is if you make something good, people will accept it. If you make something that captures the audiences' attention, then it doesn't matter if it is bold or not. But experimenting with these audacious concepts is very exciting. Earlier, actors used to feel that television doesn't give you time to explore your character (unlike movies) because there is such a short time to shoot it; but currently there is a lot of creative shift happening which is broadening not only the minds of the audiences but also pushing production houses to develop shows with more complexity.

The Audience Response to your character has been great. But aren't you skeptical of the fact that you may receive backlash?

Receiving backlash is not really my concern because I don't think it will happen. Audiences have started evolving and accepting subjects that are different. They are smart enough to know that we are merely acting. They might laugh and cry with us, but at the end of the day, they know that it's merely a make belief. I think they have already seen me in roles that have a wide range (Like in Bhaage Re Mann and Bollywood Diaries). Being able to draw people in, have strong reactions and create curiosity is an achievement as an actor. I have faith that the audience will appreciate the role for what it is and hope they see my true passion for acting.  
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