You are known to play diverse roles - a victim of domestic violence in Saubhagyavati Bhava, a child bride in Balika Vadhu, etc. How is Kumkum Bhagya different?
The most exciting part about Kumkum Bhagya is that I will be playing an unmarried girl!(Laughs) For the last three years I have been playing a married woman - first as Jhanvi in Saubhagyavati Bhava and then Ganga in Balika Vadhu. Other than that, my character in Kumkum Bhagya has a lot of depth and at the same time is very real and relatable. I have a different look too as I am playing a geeky professor. People will connect with her. Having said that there is something extraordinary about her, which I cannot reveal now.
What is the serial all about?
It's about an all-women family set-up where-in, there is a mother and her two daughters, who are poles apart. I play a mature, responsible and practical girl who finds happiness even in small things. Her sister is an extrovert, exuberant about life and out to grab everything that will make her happy. The mother is a traditional and old-fashioned woman, who believes that a woman needs a man to support her. She is constantly worried about getting her two daughters married.
Of the various roles that you have played, which has been the most challenging?
All of them - whether it's Jhanvi, Ganga or Sudha in Jyothi, they have been challenging for different reasons. I did not relate to any of these characters, so it was beautiful to create them. No doubt, the writers are responsible but as a performer you get to explore them further. Vidya Balan had once said that the actor-character relationship is symbiotic, which is very true. The more you give to the character, the more it will grow and similarly, the greater the depth to the character, the better you grow - as a person.
Is there any character you related to?
Yes, the one I played in Jiya Jale. It was my first lead role and I played a girl-next-door Sunaina. She was very real. There was also this girl I played in Rakt Sambandh, who was a tapori. I am not saying I related to her, but it was fun doing that role sans make-up and wearing shabby clothes. On TV, you never get to play such roles, so I enjoyed it. Now, I can relate to my character of Kumkum Bhagya, especially her optimism. Even when the situation is bad, she doesn't brood over it. She tides over it with a positive outlook. That's how I am in real life.
What led you to quit two major shows - Saubhagyavati Bhava and Balika Vadhu - at your peak?
Honestly, I look at it as the right decision made at that time. Whenever I am doing a show, I am committed to it 100 percent, but at that point, I felt I had to move ahead, which I did.
Weren't you apprehensive about it affecting your career?
There were apprehensions, but somewhere down the line you have to believe in yourself. I also appreciate the way those makers treated the entire thing. Vikas Sethi, producer of Saubhagyavti Bhava and Sunjoy Wadhwa of Balika Vadhu have been very nice to me and have let bygones be bygones.
Lastly, you have had a great chemistry with all your co-stars so far. What is your equation with Shabbir Ahluwalia, who is the lead opposite you?
I have met him once when he was hosting Meethi Chhuri, which I was a part of. Though we haven't ever spoken to each other, I am excited to work with him.