Prabhleen Sandhu, the very talented actress who rose to fame with the periodic freedom struggle on COLORS' Mohe Rang De, dons a different look and role in Zee's new show, Aap Ki Antara.
Here is the actress talking exclusively to Telly Buzz on her role, on whether she approves to her onscreen character in real life, about working with kids and much more...
First and foremost, why did you choose Vidya's role?
To be very frank I had rejected this role initially. I did not want to play the role of a mother so early in my career. But then I was advised that if I take this up I would be doing something very strong, and that it would definitely help shape my histrionic skills. And after lot of thinking ,even I found the role very versatile and performance oriented. So I took the bait and now am very happy with my decision.
Does it bother you that there are grey shades to this role?
Actually I don't know why, but many people have questioned the same thing. But I do not find any grey shades about Vidya. The situations are such that they tend to make people negative. You tell me, will a girl react in a goody-goody manner when she finds out that her husband cheated on her and has a daughter out of his illicit relationship? No way! So in my opinion Vidya is not at all a negative character and so, there arises no question about it.
Can you explain more about Vidya's emotional turmoil?
Right now the thought that bothers Vidya the most is the 'Y' question. She can't seem to stop wondering why Aditya did this to her…in spite of Aditya explaining the whole situation. Also, she is from a wealthy family, and she left all the material comforts to marry Aditya because she found a honest person inside him. In addition, Aditya cheated on her after they got married, which makes the blow more terrible. So you can judge that she is in a kind of dreadful stupor where nothing is making sense, as the pain she is going through has numbed reality.
How was the transition from Mohe Rang De to Aap Ki Antara?
The transition was humongous. For Mohe Rang De I had to do no homework because the character I was playing was of a hot blooded young girl, and I am pretty much the same in real life. But Vidya, is too polished. To be honest if Prabhleen would meet Vidya in real life she couldn't have stood her even for a minute. So I had a lot of sessions with the writer so that he could explain to me the mindset of this female, who till recently was a total mystery to me.
Did you have to bring about a change in your outlook in order to prepare for this role?
Yes, I had to accept the fact that someone could react passively to a shocking incident. It used to bother me that Vidya is not reacting spontaneously. For example I thought she should have slapped Aditya when she came to know the truth(laughs). But eventually I had to bring a change in my frame of my mind to stop trying to compare Prabhleen and Vidya's attitude.
Have you ever come across an autistic child in real life? How did you handle the situation?
Yes, before the shooting of Aapki Antara started, we were made to visit an autistic school in Bandra. And that was when I had hands-on experience of interacting with such children. Indeed they are very special but confined to their own world. Only through art, music or some other forms can they connect to our world.
How did the parents of autistic children react to your visit?
Well, we got a mixed reaction. Some parents were very cynical. They were apprehensive of their children being made fun of. Others were very happy that such a program will create more awareness and in return will be helpful to them.
How has being a part of this show affected you?
I have learned a lot about handling children. I used to hate kids before! (laughs) but now I know that they can be fun. Also, the portrayal of Vidya day in day out has rubbed some of her feminine qualities on me. Now I've started to feel and act a bit like girls. Otherwise I was a complete tomboy. In short you can say Aapki Antara brought out the woman in me.
Share something about your experience on working with kids.
Being with children on the sets is a whole new experience. It's chaotic, noisy but at the same time a fun filled time.
Tell us about your off-screen relationship with Antara aka Zaynah Vastani.
It's simply amazing. She has bonded with me so beautifully that every time she is free she would jump onto my lap. She loves having my arms wrapped around her. And if at all I'm inattentive to her, she would make sure she gets my attention by calling me didi-didi continuously!
Drishtant Media is a new production house. How has it been working with them?
Drishtant Media has treated me so far so good. Since they are a new production house there is a kind of eager enthusiasm within the organization. The working atmosphere is made comfortable by them. We truly share a good relationship.
Are you making a conscious effort to take up roles that are very different from your earlier ones?
That may not exactly be the case. But it's such that when I did Mohe Rang De, people told me that the audience will not accept me in a sentimental, toned down role. And I felt that they were challenging me. So when Aapki Antara came around, I took it up as a dare and in future too I would take up challenging roles because I love challenges.
Do you think our country has adequate awareness and facilities for children with special needs?
I don't think it has, but truly times are changing as fast as possible. Because everyday, new efforts are being taken to spread awareness about various issues and also to facilitate a better life to those who are affected.
What is your dream role?
I wish a role that I would play goes on to become a dream role for others!
Who is the director that you wish to work with?
Rakesh Roshan. Actually he was the second person I wanted to work with. The first was Yash Chopra ji. But then I learned that he has taken up retirement, which is very sad. So now it's Rakesh Roshan who I aspire to work with.
How do you handle the pressures of your profession?
I am really not under much pressure because I haven't taken up more than I can handle. My profession keeps me busy only to a certain extent. Otherwise I have adequate time to spend with my family and unwind.
In the serial…do you think Antara will be accepted by you and whether Vidya and Aditya's marriage ever see the light of the day?
If you want Vidya's opinion, then seriously that only our writer can give as he has created her. But if you want my opinion then frankly Vidya should just leave the house and never ever return to Aditya (smiles).
Reporter and Author: Susan Jose