Two decades is a lifetime in the career of an actor and very few survive so long - Kitu Gidwani is one of them. Be it plays, films or her mainstay, television, she has established her ability for dramatics quite skilfully.
Having made a debut in 1984 in one of TV's first superhits, Trishna, she went on to make a mark for herself in Swabhimaan. Last seen in Ravi Rai's Kasshish, Kitu also has shows like Air Hostess and Junoon to her credit. And now she's back on TV with a primetime big ticket show, Kulvaddhu on Sony.
Prashant Golecha meets up with this charming lady with a husky voice to know more about her new show, her journey till now and finds out what the real Kitu is all about. Excerpts.
Tell us about your role in Kulvaddhu?
I play Antra Singh Rathod, an elegant, restraint lady with a lot of complexities in her character and a past to conceal. She is the epitome of grace. Antra is the ideal bahu and mother of Rathod family.
Post Kasshish, you took a sabbatical from TV. Reason?
Now I do only one show at a time. I have less energy and my priorities are different. I am interested in doing so many things other than acting. I don't want to spend my whole day on the sets. I don't have to prove anything to anyone. I have sustained 15 years on television. I keep taking breaks from time to time and when people see me on TV all of a sudden they say 'oh you are back on television' and I keep saying, I have always been doing it.
How was your journey from Trishna to Kulvaddhu?
Interesting! I never chased anything. I am an impulsive and instinctive person. Trishna was based on pride and prejudice and was very successful. Vinod Pandey's Air Hostess was only for 13 weeks but it made such an impact on audience that people still remember the show as a simple story was told very well. Junoon was also one of the high point of my career besides Mahesh Bhatt's Swabhimaan, the first daily soap in which I played Shwetlana. The art film, Dance Of The Wind by Rajan Khosla won me best actress award in France. It was a very spiritual film. Kasshish by Ravi Rai was the last project I did on television. Now I am doing Kulvaddhu, which is an interesting subject.
What differences have you marked in this industry from then till now?
The scale is very big. The stakes are high. Responsibility of actors is more. Maximum commitment and more adjustments are necessary. The cast is big and actors keep juggling between different sets and matching dates of the complete star cast is difficult. But it has lost out on story, there's so much attention given to TRP's, sets, publicity, clothes and deadlines.
So how was your experience of working with a fresh star cast for Kulvaddhu?
It's mad and great fun. The people are very nice. From the E.P., actors to spot boys, and we have a blast everyday. The younger cast has no ego hassles so I am also cool.
How is Milind Gunaji as a co-star and Anuj Saxena as the producer?
Milind is a talented individual and a man of few words. I call him a gentle giant. He is very calm where as I am a hyper individual. Anuj is magnificent. He is a very classy person and it shows in his production. Above that he is a good human being.
Where actors these days are ferociously pursuing their film career, you aren't on a signing spree?
Yes, I didn't pursue my film career much. I am not a game player. I was young when offers started pouring. There was no one to guide me and above that I didn't have the killer instinct. I have done highly acclaimed films like Deham, Abhay and Earth. Moreover being an actress is a part of my life and not 'the life'. In present times people are obsessed with their work and career, which I never was. I do only what is healthy and what is not, I avoid - I mean physical and mental health.
What's the best and the worst thing about the entertainment industry?
It's a crazy world and has its own rules. There is no actor's union in Bombay unlike everywhere else.
Films or television, what's your pick?
I prefer cinema as that gives more time to focus, more time to take shots and that is more creative. Actually there is no comparison between television and films. Both are different mediums. And I would like to mention theater, which I love doing. Still Single, an English play and Your Place Or Mine, a Hinglish play is what I have on my plate currently.
One more thing that you are highly passionate about is dance.
I am into Latin Ball room dancing since last five years under the guidance of my friend Sandeep Soparkar. It's an absolutely fabulous experience. It is a form of self-expression and the music is beautiful. It's a complete high for me.
You are known to be a typical South Bombay woman. Comment.
It's absolutely true if you mean I am intelligent, sexy, gracious and not publicity hungry. I get along with everyone.
You can add more for us to know you better.
I am a balanced person but little more of an introvert. Once I trust the person I am friendly. I love to crack jokes. But I can be short tempered too and am learning to control it.
What are your immediate future plans?
I want to do a couple of films a year, practice more of meditation and continue striking a balance between television and films.
Marriage doesn't figure in the list?
My boyfriend Sujay Sood is a New York based writer. I met him with regards to a play at NCPA. We became friends and then lovers. He lived in India for two years and went back. We are still in love (laughs). I may go to New York one fine day and start doing serials there, you never know (laughs again).