After playing a stern mother-in-law in Zee TV’s Pavitra Rishta for five years, veteran Usha Nadkarni is now trying her hands at comedy with Colors’ upcoming show Mrs Pammi Pyarelal.
Tellychakkar.com caught up with this 67 year old actress and quizzed her about her new assignment and recent troubles with Balaji Telefilms over Pavitra Rishta. Excerpts:
Why this change from a serious avatar to a comic role?
(smiles) Look, being an artiste, I always like to experiment enacting different roles. And may I inform you that I have been performing on stage since I was in class four.
Could you take us through your role of Dadi in Mrs Pammi Pyarelal. Heard that she does a lot of dadagiri in the show?
(giggles) Dadi has been a retired jailor working with convicts for many years. It is but natural that a certain amount of hardness and rudeness will creep in.
And Gaurav Gera. What makes him turn a woman?
My character has three sons and two granddaughters. Since there are young women in the house, I don’t allow a single man to be kept as a paying guest (PG). This compels Gaurav to don a woman’s avatar to get shelter. He and Karan Goddwani act as couple in the show.
Can you tell us about the rifle that your character wears around her neck?
(smiles) Since Dadi has won rifle shooting champions for 27 years, the government has given this rifle as a memento.
There were reports that Dadi’s character was first offered to Rohini Hattangadi…
No, Prashant Bhatt, the Fiction Head of Colors knows me since my Kuch Is Tarah days. And it is he who got me that role. He told me that he wanted to work with me for this character. Then I had told him about my problems with Balaji.
How will you juggle your dates between Pammi and Pavitra Rishta?
(smiles) Simple, 20 days for Pammi while the remaining 10 days for Pavitra Rishta.
You were about to quit Pavitra Rishta?
Yes, I had decided to call it a day on 1st June but Ekta Ma’m (Kapoor) called me over to her office and spoke to me sorting out differences very sweetly. Her talks touched my heart so much that I decided to let things go and stay back. One more thing, I had never met Ekta Ma’m earlier; I used to just do my work and go home after I finished. But she is not as people think she is; she asked me not to call her Ma’m but by her name. However, I told her that I couldn’t do that for, work wise, she was on a much higher pedestal then me. At the end I also asked her for a raise, pointing her that our remunerations have not been raised for over two years.
Your take on the leap that is to soon happen in Pavitra Rishta?
Let’s not even go down that road, I am just doing this show for Ekta.
Hiten Tejwani feels that the decision of the younger lot of actors was wrong when they quit during the leap?
(pauses) I extend them my full support for they are young. When the eldest one herself (she refused to take any name) says that she doesn’t like any one calling her granny or sasu ma, why will the young do such roles. How could these kids now become her mother when even now when they stand together, she looks much older to them?
You are known to be rude?
So be it! Will the world call me for lunch? See, the issue is that I am a straight forward woman. Even if you are my best friend, I will tell that you are doing something wrong if I feel you are doing so. But there is no malice or ill will, I just say what I feel.
Young girls are scared to have a mother-in-law like you?
Let them. To the contrary, I feel that they should be happy to get someone like me.
How does your daughter-in-law feel about you?
(giggles) I am yet to get my son married.
What do you feel about today’s lot of young actors?
They seem to be more interested in talking on the phone rather than paying attention during rehearsals; these girls keep whispering on the phone when we all know that you are shooing. Look at me. When I am on the set, I keep my cell locked up. I only check it during breaks.