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Panchayat actress Sanvikaa: ‘I want to do better than what I have done as Rinki’

The Viral Fever’s Panchayat Season 3 is streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Sameer Salunkhe Calcutta Published 20.06.24, 05:08 PM
Sanvikaa, who plays Rinki in Panchayat Season 3, streaming on Prime Video

Sanvikaa, who plays Rinki in Panchayat Season 3, streaming on Prime Video Instagram

From being underconfident about her appearance to playing one of the most talked about characters in one of the most popular shows in the OTT space, Sanvikaa has had quite a roller-coaster ride. In an exclusive conversation with us, the actress talked about how TVF’s Panchayat has changed her life, her chemistry with her co-stars and her takeaways from her journey so far.

How are you processing the reactions to Panchayat Season 3?


Sanvikaa: I am feeling great. I don’t have words to express what’s been going on since Panchayat Season 3 was released. So many things have happened in my life. I have learned more in these 10 days than I have learned in my entire life.

What were your learnings from working with such seasoned actors over three seasons of Panchayat?

Sanvikaa: These are legendary actors and the TVF team is so experienced. There were expectations from me too. And I had put myself into that situation where I wanted to be good. I was stressed that I had to be good but on the set it was smooth. From my co-actors to the direction team, everyone was supportive.

Jitu (Jitendra Kumar) and I would rehearse our dialogues 20-25 times. The director would tell me whether I was on the right track or not. Neena (Gupta) ma’am and Raghubir (Yadav) sir helped me in certain situations. Over three seasons, the experience of working kept getting better with time. By the third season, working with my co-actors became very smooth. I really enjoyed working with these people.

How did you work on your chemistry with Jitendra Kumar? How is he as a co-actor?

Sanvikaa: Jitu is a very genuine person. Not many people in the industry are genuine. He is very honest. He gives you your space of comfort. He respects his co-actors and makes sure that he’s on the same page as them. He doesn’t think of himself as a star. He treated me like an equal. While acting, he won’t be Jitu. He will be Sachiv Ji. I think those qualities make him a better co-star. For that chemistry, you have to understand your co-actor and your co-actor has to be comfortable with you. It was a give-and-take process between us, so I guess that’s why you’re able to see the chemistry on screen. We were reacting to each other. It was natural.

Which is your favourite scene from Panchayat across three seasons?

Sanvikaa: I liked most of the scenes I did with Jitu. The chai scene from Season 2 where Rinki and Sachiv Ji are sitting across is special because that was my first day on set for Season 2. I was seeing everyone for the first time. I was very nervous about how the scene would turn out. I was not even getting any feedback from the director. I was confused because Jitu was getting a lot of feedback. I was in doubt that it was not going well. I was sad that day. But when the series came out, that was one of the scenes people were appreciating.

Also, my first scene – at the top of the water tank — because it was the first time Jitu and I were interacting in real life too. Both of us are shy. When he was facing the camera, I’d end up laughing and he would do the same when the camera was on me. I don’t know why but whenever we do our scenes together, we laugh first and then do the scenes. We’re very comfortable working together.

Although Panchayat is a big show produced by TVF and streaming on Prime Video, you were only seen from the seventh episode of the first season onwards. After that too, it’s not a consistent presence for Rinki in the second season. Did that wait to be seen make you feel anxious?

Sanvikaa: As it was my first project, I didn’t have a lot of expectations that I should be presented in a certain way. I was very satisfied with whatever I was getting. I didn’t know how they would present me. When I watched the first season, I realised that Rinki is the character everyone was talking about ‘Rinki ke papa, Riki ki mummy’. The build-up to the character was presented very well.

People knew who Rinki was in the first season itself. In Season two, there was development. I wanted Rinki to be more powerful. Maybe after this project, I’d be more conscious of what I want to do. But Panchayat gave me an identity and I’m very happy and grateful.

How do you want to capitalise on the identity and visibility that Panchayat has given you?

Sanvikaa: I will try my best to meet and work with the best production houses. The audition calls that I am getting now are for good roles. I want to do better than what I have done as Rinki and keep growing as an actor.

In this industry, you can’t just plan and move ahead. Luck will intervene in your life and change it. So, I am doing the hard work. There’s no concrete plan as such. It is intuitive. I am working on my craft and myself. Rest is destiny.

Do you remember the day you were cast for Panchayat?

Sanvikaa: I went to Film City in Mumbai with my friend to see the shooting of Shamshera. A song with Ranbir Kapoor and Vaani Kapoor was being shot. I was mesmerised to see them from a distance. In Film City, there are network issues. The casting director was trying to reach me but my phone was not reachable. I got his messages about me being cast for Rinki’s role when I moved to a place with a slightly better network. When I saw that message, I couldn’t believe it and I didn’t know how to react. It was such a magical moment.

What was life like before Panchayat happened?

Sanvikaa: Before Panchayat, I didn’t have an identity. People used to compliment me. They used to say that I have potential and I should try in South Indian films, or that I should try for advertisements. But nothing was working out. I used to give auditions but initially, you don’t get good audition calls. Most of those were for ads.

After Panchayat Season 3, things changed. I am getting audition calls where a character has a big arc, which I always wanted. Audition-wise, life has changed. Also, people’s perceptions have a lot to do with your success. If your work is successful, everyone will come and talk to you.

When you have proven your credibility, things get easier – from getting your photographs done, getting clothes from the designers to getting associated with people. It was not easy before. So, your work needs to speak a lot. If that is working fine, everything around will work out fine.

But how did you begin acting?

Sanvikaa: I never believed that I would become an actor and that I would look good on camera. People used to say that I have a photogenic face but I never believed them. I was not even thinking about acting but it was because of an astrologer uncle of mine who said, ‘If you get an opportunity to be in front of a camera, don’t pass it.’ At that time, I was confused about my career. I wanted to do everything but those things never worked out. I started giving auditions and I started cracking them. It was like the universe was holding my hand and guiding me.

Your real name is Pooja Singh. How did you become Sanvikaa?

Sanvikaa: Pooja Singh is a very common name. In the entertainment industry, you need a unique name for identity and representation. There were other actors with the name Pooja. When Panchayat Season 1 was released, people were tagging the wrong Pooja Singhs. I thought people would recognise the real actor by the second season. But between the first two seasons, I read a few articles with problematic headlines with my name. Once I read the whole thing, I realised that it was about someone else. So, if I get confused, others can get confused too. To avoid that confusion, I chose to go with a unique stage name – Sanvikaa. Otherwise, I like my real name.

What does Sanvikaa mean?

Sanvikaa: Sanvikaa means Goddess Lakshmi. There was a lack of Lakshmi (wealth), so I thought I’d keep this name!

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