The war of the roses

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By Gauri Nigudkar and Twinkle Bajpai are pitted against each other in two rival serials. By Sneha Hazarika
  • Published 13.10.06

She has already enthralled Marathi filmgoers with her work in the past. Now Gauri Nigudkar hopes to recreate the same magic with her very first serial — Star One’s Paraya Dhan.

“I have done a Marathi film Uttarayan which is a National Award winner, some one and a half years back. I have done two or-three commercials in the past, but wasn’t doing any major work. Then, I got a call from the production house Sphere Origin. I gave an audition and got selected for Paraya Dhan,” informs the young actress.

Undoubtedly debuting with a Star One serial is an achievement in itself. And Gauri seems very enthused by her role and her look in the show. “I play Krishna, the eldest daughter in a family of six daughters and one brother. It’s a huge family. In many ways her character is very much like Lord Krishna himself. She is a little wild, rational, yet quite vulnerable. The kid in her is still alive. It’s basically a very simple character. Nothing is loud about her. So her makeup and outfits are subtle. I guess people will be able to relate with her. I hope they will like and accept the character.”

Ask her and she tells you that this is not just ‘another role’. It has a far deeper meaning for her. “Oh, yes! It’s also something to which I am emotionally attached. I am a great devotee of Lord Krishna. So playing this role is just out of the world,” she says excitedly.

It’s a big unit and Gauri seems to be enjoying this stint to the fullest. “The first schedule was in Jodhpur and it was great fun. All six girls and the boy are of the same age. So we had loads of fun. We shopped together, ate together, made merry and enjoyed,” she says.

Expectations are sky-high since the producers of Paraya Dhan were also behind the super-successful Saat Phere on Zee. “The producer Sanjay Wadhwa is excellent. It’s a very prestigious project. The production value, the locations and the equipments are great. So I can only work and hope for the best,” she adds.

But the show has had its share of controversies as well — the theme of Paraya Dhan being the reason. The newly launched Betiyann on Zee has a similar theme. There might be a lot of competition to contend with once the show goes on air. “I don’t have to say anything at all. I am here to do my job and give it my best shot. I have no idea about what’s happening around and the competition. I don’t worry about these things. Frankly speaking, I do not care. I am doing my work and that’s about it,” she says confidently.

For Gauri it’s only Paraya Dhan that matters for now. “Right now, it’s just this show which I am concentrating on. I guess this will give me a name. I have been more into studies. I will think about other things at a much later stage.’’

Q: Let’s talk about the role that you are playing in your debut serial Betiyann?
I am playing the youngest sister, Lakshmi, of the four sisters. Her parents were expecting a boy this time. So nobody was happy with her birth. Basically nobody wants her. She grows up to become a rebel. She can’t take things lying low, she can’t tolerate injustice. She fights for her rights. In a way her character is quite similar to mine. I, too, can’t see wrong happening around me.

Q: There are three other girls...
Yes, Kshiti is playing the eldest sister. Neeta Shetty is the second sister and Smiti is the third one. We have shot for about 25 days together now. As of now, the chemistry between all of us has been good.

Q: How did this transition from singing to acting happen?
It wasn’t a transition actually. I was open to acting and when I got this chance I thought I should give it a try. So I went for the auditions. And here I am. And Zee TV is like family. Since 2004, I have been associated with them. First, it was the long association with Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and now Betiyann. It’s a very comfortable environment for me. I have also anchored a show along with my co-contestant Vishwas for Zee Arabia.

Q: Will you be singing in Betiyann?
Not exactly. But, yes, I am singing during special functions and some wedding songs.

Q:Tell us about the journey from your hometown to Mumbai?
I am basically from Lucknow. I have learnt music for eight years. I came here for the Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge in 2004. Before that I had participated in Antakshari and Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Campus Special. I won that series, took part in Challenge 2005 and then Ek Main Aur Ek Tu.

Q:And what about your look in the show? One hears that it’s completely deglamorised!
Yes, I am wearing normal churidaar kurtas, bindi and kaajal. It’s basically a simple look. But they have given me an embroidered belt since my character is a little tomboyish. It’s a Gujarati family and the look has been designed keeping that in mind.

Q: There is a serial on Star (Paraya Dhan) with a similar theme which created a lot of controversy initially. So the pressure is going to be very high, too?
Obviously, I would want Zee’s Betiyann to do well. We all have put in a lot of hard work. There are times when we haven’t slept properly. It’s been just work, work and work. I, too, am doing a lot of hard work. I am trying my level best.

Q:You seem to have had varied experiences already?
I have enjoyed each and every part of the experience on TV. I love singing, dancing and acting. I have even learnt Kathak for some time. I am happy with what I am doing now. If I get a movie tomorrow I will take it up. I would be happy to stick to both singing and acting wherever I am.