In this exclusive and intimate one on one voice mail interview, RATI PANDEY tells JYOTHI VENKATESH from Patna where she has gone to stay with her parents during the lockdown, that Dangal TV is one of the highest watched channels in India and she is glad that her show Devi Adi Parashakti reaches out to so many cities and people across urban and rural India.
Tell me something about the popular show on Dangal- Devi Adi Parashakti?
This is my first mythology show. Earlier, I did a historical show called Porus that was not a mythological one. My team helped me a lot and gradually I got into the skin of the character. While playing the character I got to learn a lot and gained knowledge about the goddess. The fact that we shoot in croma and it was a perk for me that there was no outdoor shoot.
What is your role in the serial Devi Adi Parashakti? In the first place, were you apprehensive about taking up the role? Why?
I play the role of Goddess Parvati in the show Devi Adi Parashakti. Yes. When Swastik approached me for the show, Devi, I was apprehensive because it was a mythological show and I hadn’t done these before but they convinced me into it. I was apprehensive to take up Devi because of its costume challenges. The moment I started shooting I was nervous and not into the track. I used to feel that’s how Gods usually talk? How should I talk as a Goddess? These questions came to mind because I am a very natural actor hence I felt I won’t be able to portray the mythological character. After I stepped my foot into it, I feel that it has been a great experience so far.
Do you think Dangal TV has adequate viewership? What do you infer from the fans?
Fans have been sending in appreciation from every corner of India. I have received love from across borders as well. Talking of Dangal TV, it is one of the highest watched channels in India and I’m glad that it reaches out to so many cities and people across urban and rural India. It has been keeping people entertained which reflect in the love I receive. Yes, I think it has more than adequate viewership.
You made your debut on TV way back in 2006. In what way have you grown as an actress over the last 14 years ever since you made your debut on TV?
When I look back today, I feel that there is a lot more to do in life and I still have a long way to go. The journey is still incomplete but I am really proud and fortunate enough as I got such characters which I always wanted to play on screen. I started my professional journey with a Telugu film called Student which I never wanted to continue because of homesickness and other issues. Later, when I started doing TV shows. I got to play lead characters in a lot of shows which was remarkable. I was also appreciated by my viewers so I am very proud of myself.
Why have you not focused on feature films as an actress?
To be honest, I had a few great offers that came my way but due to personal problems, I had to let them go. In fact I had one great offer that came my way from Rajshri productions but then again destiny had other plans for me. However, there are no regrets for the same.
Why did you not do any more South Indian film after Student?
Working in the South has its own challenges. While I loved the experience, food had become a problem. I would have to go back home every 10 days. Once the shoot was over, I got offers from TV in ‘aamchi Mumbai’ and I felt very comfortable with them so I continued here only.
You are well known for your performances in Porus, Hitler Didi, Miley Jab Hum Tum, Begusarai, Har Ghar Kuch Kehta Hai etc. Which are your five best TV serials?
All these shows mentioned are equally important for me. I had put in equal efforts while working for them all and I was equally passionate about them. Furthermore, I have enjoyed them to the fullest because all of them were unique in their own way. Mile Jab Hum Tum will always be very close to my heart. The role of Nupur was unique and I haven’t played such a role ever.
After Zee Cinestars Ki Khoj, why have you not featured in any reality show till date including Bigg Boss?
I think I was never prepared for a show like Big Boss so I never gave it a thought with that motive. Though I would have been a part of Hear Factor Khatron Ke Khiladri had I not suffered from a knee injury.
Who are your favourite actors and actresses in Bollywood and Hollywood?
When it comes to Bollywood and Hollywood, I do have a few favourites. Naming a few, I would like to start with Salman Khan. His persona is something I am really in awe of. I had met him in a season finale and I was so star struck that I could barely even utter a word. Even then, the silence around him also seemed so mesmerizing. With respect to performances, I really look up to Aamir khan and his versatility. Coming to Hollywood, Johnny Depp’s work is something that really inspires me. I am also a fan of Brad Pitt’s work.
What do you think about web series today, as an actress?
Web series has brought in a major change for all. There is a vast difference between OTT platforms and other media platforms. They have created a change in viewing patterns. Web series have brought in a variety of shows with a ‘relatability’ factor coming in. Web series provides actors a chance to explore various characters. Actors get to work with diversity unlike TV where a certain role is played for long. They are expanding views and expanding markets and I would love to explore the same.
Do you think TV is no longer as effective as then when you made your debut?
Today, there are more mediums and people are exploring more with excitement for shows. Back in the day, the wait for another episode next week and the excitement for the same was what kept people going. So when it comes to urban markets everything is available on a single click and so things have definitely changed. With more competition, life has become faster and with a lack of OTT has become a way of life for most people in the cities. Though on the rural front, TV is still influencing as many people as it can.
Is it true that you are extremely choosy as an actress?
I would say ‘choosy’ is the wrong word here. I love exploring new roles and monotonous old roles don’t keep me going. I have never been a ‘follow the league’ kind of person and that has reflected in my choices. All my shows have been absolutely different. Opportunities taper down as I keep looking for something that challenges and pushes me to do better.
Is acting in a mythological show more tough than acting in a social show?
Mythological shows are comparatively difficult. Be it the elaborate makeup, the clothes or the accessories, all of them are extravagant. It takes almost 4-5 people and quite a few hours of putting it together. Not only this, but even the language spoken is unlike our everyday shows, we spoke in shudh hindi and sometimes even had to take an extra effort to understand the meaning and then perform. However, both types of shows have their pros as well as cons.
Tell us about your association with Swastik Productions?
I consider Siddharth and Rahul Tewary as my family and friends. I am very thankful to them. I know they will be standing by me whenever I call them or whenever I need them. They are very warm people to work with. Whenever I worked with them I never felt that I am working for a producer. We are connected like a family. So, we have this kind of connection and a friendly relationship. I have loved working with them and hope to continue the association hereafter.
Is it a plus point for you that you shoot in croma as there is no outdoor shoot at all?
Croma shoots are faster and less time consuming. So yes, I would say that they have a plus point over other shoots and they get over within no time. The shots happen quickly and thereafter it is the technicians at work. We have 2-3 camera setups and it gets done smoothly and nicely. With that said, sometimes reality shoots are better.
What has the TV industry taught you as an actress?
As I mentioned earlier, it has been a good journey since the start of my career. Earlier, I was very raw as compared to what I am today. I have polished my performance by manifolds since I first began. I have become a lot more sorted in my approach and have grown as a person as well. Every role has been a learning experience for me. My journey has taken me through various performances, cameras and helped me see popularity as well. While my journey is one that keeps going upwards, I have tried to make sure that I stay grounded through it all.
Have you thought of your Mr Right? What is your concept about Mr Right?
Being absolutely honest, I am single right now. I am on a look out for Mr. Right and hope to run into him soon and have small happy family of my own as well. I do wish to get married, but I have left it to destiny now.
What do you have to say about the dreaded epidemic Corona 19?
We are all going through this pressing situation together. The world is facing the wrath of this dreaded pandemic together. What makes it all worse is that it is contagious in nature and has blocked quite a few pathways for the world. It makes me sad to hear how difficult it has become for everyone. It is a very stressful environment and while we are all in the lockdown, we are working towards as much normalcy as possible. Not everyone can stay at home; some people are depressed and upset because of difficulty with every passing day. My message to all those people is to have positive attitude. Let’s fight this together. Please reach out to the right kind of help, if you need it. Please take care, wear masks. Let’s keep the virus at bay.
Besides Devi Adi Parashakti, is there any other project which you are doing?
No other project apart from this one.