There are some actors who start off when very young and Shweta Basu Prasad seems to fall in this league, starting with a bang at the age of 11 with Vishal Bhardwaj&’s directorial, Makdee. The film helped her not only become a household name but also bag a national award. In her second venture, Iqbal, Shweta made her presence felt among actors like Naseeruddin Shah and Sharesh Talpade. Since then, she has never looked back. Offers for television serials and South Indian films started coming her way. She took a long break from the film industry and is now coming up with two interesting projects — Chandra Nandini and Badrinath Ki Dulhania. 

The actor spoke to The Statesman at the promotion of Chandra Nandini, which will be aired soon on Star Plus. Excerpts:

Q From child actress to full-fledged actor, how has the journey been so far?

When I did Makdi, I was just 11-years-old. This film helped me to get a national award. After Iqbal, I had to take a break from films as my parents wanted me to study. However, in between I got offers from directors like Madhur Bhandakar and Rajkumar Santoshi, but my parents refused. I pursued a Master&’s in Journalism. I even made documentary and short films, but I wanted to come back to films. This year, I got two offers Rs Badrinath ki Dulhaniya and Chandra Nandini.

Q You started your film career with Makdi and Iqbal and became a star overnight. Won’t it be difficult to maintain that stardom?

This stardom word was unknown to me then. Credit goes to none other than my parents, who kept me grounded even after big hits like Makdi and Iqbal. Interestingly, when I got a national award, my fans and relatives started sending bouquets, cakes and teddy bears to my home. I asked my parents why they were sending gifts to us, after this award. They explained that every kid got this award. This was their way of keeping me away from any stardom. Just a few years back I got to know that it was an exclusive award. Let me tell you, in real life, too, I am very grounded.

Q How excited are you about this show?

When I got a call from Balajee Films, I was excited about the role. Nandni is not just any TV soap character who has to cry or sing with the boys, but is a war princess. She is the queen of Magadh. She learnt horse riding, sword play and war practice. There was a situational compromise, which led her to marry Chandragupta Maurya. This situation made them hate each other. 

handragupta Maurya had a very thick skin, trained by Chanakya. But Nandni rouses his lover side, she brings out his human side.

Q How is it working with Ekta Kapoor?

After 14 years I am working with Ekta. Nothing has changed, she is the same person. She is personally invested and creatively involved in every project. She is not among those persons who just invest and leave the rest of the work for the team to do. She will explain the character and narrate each and every minute detail of the show.

Q This is a historical character. Don’t you think you will be compared with Jodha or Rani Lakshmi Bai?

As far as comparisons are concerned, everyone gets compared. If you do any human-oriented film, you will be compared, if you do any romantic film, you will be compared. I think I should take it as a compliment if I am compared with Rani Laxmi Bai, Jodha or any other characters.

Q You have acted in Bollywood, serials and South Indian films. Where do you find yourself most comfortable?

I did a Telugu film at the age of 18. It was a romantic love story. However, I thought that South Indians wouldn’t like me as I am not perfect in their language diction. Be it Bengali, Hindi or South Indian, in every film industry I like challenging roles.

Q Are you happy with the way your career is taking shape?

Absolutely. My parents are very happy that I am getting so many good offers. I got a national award from Makdi, national recognition from Iqbal and from Southern films I got the Best Actress Award. What more does one need?