Meri Awaaz Hi Pehchaan Hai recently came to an end. How was the experience?
I had developed cold feet initially when I was about to dive into the `daily soap pool' because of the horrifying stories at I had heard of TV actors practically living, eating and sleeping on the set. But Bollywood actors do get many fringe benefits on TV . Like, my contract said 10 hours including hair and make-up, which is luxurious by TV standards. We shot in schedules, the way we do in films because we shot in real locations rather than a fixed set, so the production team also needed a day off for the recce. The concept and my role gave me an incredible rush throughout. They say you are not a TV actress unless you have fainted on set, but I was determined to defy that.
Are you looking at doing more TV shows?
I would love to do fiction shows but only finite ones. I'm convinced that finite fiction is the future of Indian television and you will not have endless shows where the story and characters are minced based on TRPs. Episodes will be shot in advance, making it possible for a director to give his overall finishing touch to it. Actors will not be married to the set as I'm sure weekends will be declared a holiday. The golden phase of fiction shows too will come soon.
There was a time when doing TV was looked as a step down for a film actor...
That changed for India with one game show hosted by Mr Amitabh Bachchan. Today , the film industry is dominating non-fiction shows on TV and soon, they shall also dominate fiction as well. Also, channels will not just cast you because you are a movie star; it's imperative for an actor to have a connect with the masses. I feel proud that I'm perhaps one of the first actresses from my generation to have explored this genre.
It's said that acting on TV is tougher than acting in films, do you agree?
A film is just two hours of content, so you, at the most, have two or three emotional scenes that you have to concentrate on. However, on TV, every episode has an emotional high point. You are crying almost every day and then comes a point when you realise that it's not real because in life, we don't cry every day! Tears do sell on a daily medium.
That apart, I recall how in a scene I had to fall backwards in a swimming pool and due to time constraints, I had to do it myself despite being a non-swimmer. I loved all these new challenges. My respect for television actors has grown.