If Aamir Khan is the ‘Mr Perfectionist’ of Bollywood, Sakshi Tanwar can very easily be called ‘Ms Perfectionist’ of television. From Parvati Bhabhi in 'Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki' to Priya Ram Kapoor in 'Bade Acche Lagte Hai', she has portrayed all her characters with utmost finesse. In an industry that doesn’t promise a long sojourn, Sakshi has reigned the small screen for the past 13 years. Her unfading charms and unparalleled acting abilities have made her a favourite of every Indian household. In an exclusive interview to the thestatesman.com, Sakshi talks about Indian television and her journey to becoming the leading lady of the most successful Bollywood film Dangal
Q. You have been the reigning queen of Indian television for over a decade now. Your comment on the shows then and now.
I came into television during its best period, a decade that made some television characters iconic, that they are even remembered today. Change is the only thing that is constant. Playing Parvati, at that time for that audience was perfect, but today the viewers throw more challenges and want to watch how you rise to their expectations. Now I relate more to a show like 24. You realise in so many years that the dynamics of the viewers has also changed. Indian television is going through a revival of content. Digital/internet entertainment is the next big thing. For whatever the format of the medium or show or genre, as entertainers we have to adapt to the changing times and trends and give our best to the audience.
Q. From getting a call from the casting agency of ‘Dangal’ (which you thought was a prank) to playing the role of Aamir Khan’s wife in ‘Dangal’. How do you look back upon the journey now?
Working with Aamir was something I had never dreamt of. When I got a call from the casting agency I went completely blank and when it slowly sunk in I felt extremely happy, thrilled, excited and perhaps overwhelmed. I still find it difficult to put the whole thing in words.
Q. What was the first conversation you had with Aamir Khan when you met him for the very first time? How was it to work with him?
After my first audition, I was called to meet Aamir. After the formal introduction, I was asked to do a scene with him. That was the first time I interacted with him and then followed several interactions with the professional and passionate film maker-cum-actor Aamir Khan. Earlier, he came across as a person with a serious demeanour. I thought he would be aloof and would like his space, but to my surprise, his childlike enthusiasm and friendly attitude kept him involved and engaged with the entire cast and crew throughout the shoot.
Q. Aamir Khan couldn’t help praising you. In fact, during an interview, he said that it was a dream to work with you and that he would love to work with you again. How do you take it?
I think the credit goes to Aamir. In spite of being one of the biggest and most successful Bollywood actors, he goes out of his way to appreciate the performances of his co-actors. It speaks positively more about him as a person and a professional than me or anyone else.
Q. Was it difficult for you to adopt the Haryanvi diction? How did you pep up for the role of Daya Kaur?
I was among the last ones to join the 'Dangal' team so by the time I came on board, people were already done with their language training sessions. Since we did not have much time Sunita ji (language teacher) came home to teach me. I recorded all the dialogues in her voice on my phone and I would keep listening whenever I had time. But Sunita ji was so good that I got the hang of the language in just 2-3 days. Also, I am from Alwar (border of Haryana) so I understand the setup and backdrop that the film had. This helped me relate to the speech and the body language that the role required.
Q. Now that 'Dangal' has become the highest Indian grosser, what makes you happier the number or the critical acclaim?
I am glad the audiences have owned the film and for me, that is the biggest reward.
Q. What according to you is the best thing about working in television and the movies?
Television is so popular today that it has become the daily diet of the viewers, while the magnitude of films and larger-than-life portrays another world in itself.
Q. Could you please share some details about the web series that you are doing with Ram Kapoor?
We have commenced shooting for 'Karle Tu Bhi Mohabbat', the name of the web series I am currently working on. It will be aired on Ekta Kapoor’s digital platform ALT Balaji.
Q. You are one of most loved onscreen couple and the audience desperately wants you back on television. Can we expect to see both you and Ram Kapoor in a soap opera?
As of now, we have no such plans as we are busy shooting for our web series.
Q. There are a lot of people who aspire to be like you someday. Do you have any message for them?
All I would say is never give up, keep trying, hold on, and always believe in yourself. Be grateful for what you have. Keep your head high, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life is beautiful and there is so much to smile about.