Friday, February 23, 2024

Celeb Talk :‘Bollywood debut with Akshay was salient for me’

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Actress Sargun Mehta, who is scaling great heights with her career choices, spoke to The Pioneer’s Shikha Duggal about her plans and more in our next segment of celeb talk.

Years ago, Sargun Mehta started as a television host — one started to see the real Sargun every day. A bubbly and straightforward woman, who is also quite emotional made it so big in the Punjabi film industry now, that many of others are surely intimidated by her reigning success over there. That triumph made her bag a recent debut in Bollywood starring opposite Akshay Kumar too, couldn’t have dreamt better for the new beginnings in B-town. In a candid chat, she spoke about her career plans and more in our next segment of celeb talk apprehended by Sargun Mehta.

“The leap to Punjabi films was a natural progression. When I was doing the popular show Balika Vadhu, it felt like a calling and the same calling happened again when the first time I watched a Punjabi film in the theatre. I took the leap, my gut asked me to and landed there in the lap of Punjabi industry, and look how they embraced me,” she said.

So many years in showbiz, as a trained artist, she’s getting to know the many perceptions also. Like very recently, she felt, that sometimes one is taken lightly. There are some ‘men’ in the industry who thought Sargun didn’t know anything and they were taking her for a ride, lest they knew that she knew a little more! She had done her research and therefore took them up by surprise. And that’s how she won.

Showing us the other edge of Punjabi films, sometimes body shaming, the infamous obsession for fair skin, makes the central theme for them which Sargun Mehta as an actress seriously reprimands. But in her own way, well which is how? “I agree sometimes our films, unconsciously, give a message regarding body shaming but we are not here to ‘humiliate’.That dialogue delivery is there to make the cine-goers understand that you are hurting someone’s sentiments! One has to come out strong. At least, we are touching the subject openly to spread awareness. As a person, who herself has gone through insecurities initially in the industry, will only urge my readers to not see them through someone else’s eyes.”

OTT debut with Akshay Kumar starrer Cuttputlli was very noteworthy for her — it was an inexhaustible moment, Sargun pin-pointed. She narrated, “I chose to roll very carefully as it was narrated to me. Initially, it was supposed to release in theatres but it came on OTT which was received really well by the audiences! The scenes where I am seeing dominating Akshay, had no anxiety because I was already aware of his professionalism. He will not hold any angst for a scene. He also made sure that we all have dinner together, the entire cast so that there’s like a good bond.”

So, now for such humongous stardom that she is receiving every day; she recalled, “I first felt like a star when I was valued for my titular role in Phulwa and my first Punjabi film Angrej. I am passionate about acting and all of a sudden founding cheers into producing too! So, name and fame are byproducts of it. I don’t take success or my fame to the head, that’s just me.”

She also recalled another moment in her life when the first year of doing theatre was absolute torture for her, and she felt like she can’t do so much work. “Because, it not only teaches you how to act, they actually go down to the basics. But I swept the auditorium. They never used to have anybody else for that. They used to say, ‘If this is the place where we are rehearsing, you have got to sweep it, clean it’.”

Continuing her increasing interest in producing led her to write two of the most popular television shows of late named Swaran Ghar and Udaariyan, she shared, “My first instinct was to tell stories, and not act. The plot of those two serials is surprisingly written by me. Why? That’s my way of sharing what I feel about the current society.During my childhood, I have made use of cooking up stories to my best interests and it has come in so handy today that my shows were ranking on the top in TRP charts consecutively.

The show Swaran Ghar, for example, was clearly relatable at more levels than one, and parents found it to be their reality, while children did feel guilty about their behaviour when watching it. Good reviews were pouring in for both the shows, so all’s good in the hood.”

The actress concluded that she didn’t blindly choose Bollywood as she wanted to be sure of the work that she took up. She was very sure that she didn’t want to just be around there and do two songs without giving importance to the story of the film. She doesn’t think it will be very exciting for her to do that! Her idea was: “If someone wants to watch a certain type of my work, they can see it in Punjabi too. But if I am doing some work apart from Punjabi films or songs, I should be doing something different and new. Having said that, I think as the Punjabi industry also evolves, so does the acceptance of the people will.

What’s happening right now is that we are playing with our flavour, with the culture that we have. And we are attaching more and more audiences to us every day.There’s going to be a point when people will accept new genres. In fact, even when I did Qismat, everybody said that it wouldn’t work in Punjab because it was not a typical comedy film that Punjab was very used to. That film became one of the biggest blockbusters and then there was its second film. So, when you give people content with a lot of meat and something that they can enjoy also, it doesn’t matter what genre it is.”

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