Pretty and versatile actress MONIKA CHAUHAN who plays the role of Shalu in the TV serial Ranju Ki Betiyaan on air on Dangal TV tells JYOTHI VENKATESH in this exclusive no holds barred telephonic interview for Cine Blitz.
What is your role in Ranju Ki Betiyaan?
In Dangal TV’s show Ranju Ki Betiyaan, I play the role of Shalu, who is the eldest daughter of Ranju (Reena Kapoor). I am like my mother’s shadow. After our father left, I took responsibility for my younger sisters and have seen the struggles that my mother faces. Shalu is like a friend to her mother. After the show started, it has been 4-5 months and Shalu has grown more mature as a person. She is married to Vishesh (Naveen Pandita) but still, she takes care of her family and her in-laws. You can say that she is a modern woman who successfully manages both household and business.
Which are the TV shows that have you have been a part of so far?
Before this I was playing the role of Revati in the mythological show Radhakrishna.
How difficult was it to make your transition from mythological shows to daily soaps?
Initially it was a little difficult because in mythological serials the process is pretty slow. In daily soaps we sometimes manage to cover 10 scenes in a single day. In mythological shows we used to only over 2-3 scenes in a day. So hence here it was challenging for me. On the other hand, it was difficult to grasp and maintain the language in mythological shows which is comparatively easy here. And we can also improvise. But in all, it was a good experience to shoot a daily soap.
What attracted you to acting?
Originally I’m from Shimla and grew up with beautiful dreams. I did think of acting when I was just a kid, but it wasn’t a childhood dream. As I grew up I participated in a pageant, Miss Himachal and from there my actual journey began. I used to get a lot of calls for auditions and I thought I can actually try acting. When I came to Mumbai, my first thought was to start my journey with TV serials, as I wanted to go step by step to achieve my dreams. Acting was may be an inborn talent for me as I did not go for any kind of acting classes. However, I made sure I worked on myself everyday and learned better.
How tough was it for you to do the role?
My character Shalu is a very sweet and loving girl. It was actually quite easy for me to play the role, as the characteristics of Shalu and Monika match a lot. It gets extremely easy to shoot as I can relate to Shalu a lot as I don’t really have to pretend myself or fake and go out of the blue to play the role. I’m not someone who loves fights nor is Shalu. We both are someone who would look into the crust of the situation and then react. Playing the eldest sister got a little difficult as of screen. I am the youngest one in the family. I have two elder sisters and they pamper me a lot. On the other hand, in the show, off the screen I love my parents a lot but on screen Shalu but the other sisters don’t have a great bond with their father, so this was a small challenge for me. But I would say that challenges are just a phase of life.
How is your relationship with your father on screen and off screen?
On screen, my relationship with my father in initial stages wasn’t that good. Shalu used to only consider Ranju as her father and mother both. But as the show goes further, we would show the audience a change in the relationship. Shalu is still very emotional towards her father right, but the other three sisters, Bulbul, Muskaan and Tia are not. They hate their father as he has done wrong with Ranju Mishra and left her for someone else. Coming off screen, I love and respect my father a lot. I am very emotional when it comes to my family, be it in real life or the Ranju family.
What are your future plans?
I am very happy with my current show and blessed to have such an amazing cast and crew to work with. I am glad I am playing Shalu, because of which I am playing with different emotions every day. In future I would love to work in web series and explore something big where I can play with different characters. Though I am against exposure and stripping for the sake of my character, I am game to go in for lip to lip kiss, as it is something which you can see in every second web series these days. When it comes to big screen, I would really love to work in movies as well. I am only waiting for the right time, as I believe in destiny and it will take you to your path of success. If in future I get a good project and an amazing script I would definitely go for it.
Which are your hobbies other than acting?
I really love singing and dancing. Back when I was in Chandigarh I did learn Kathak for a period of five to six months.
What are your plans to settle down? Would you strive to get a partner who would encourage you in your acting?
I want to concentrate more on my career now and challenge myself with different roles. I am currently single and if in future I have a partner, I don’t think he would have a problem of me acting. The right one would not have a problem and would in fact appreciate me with the kind of work I do.
What is your concept of Mr Right?
I definitely want someone who would love and respect me, at the same time value my work as well. We all have flaws and there is no one who is 100 per cent perfect. I want someone who would respect me and someone with whom I can share my happiness and sadness. I would look for someone with whom I can grow professionally also. We both can love and support each other in our own careers as well.
Name a few directors who are in your wish list?
I would love to work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali as he has made be believe what acting is. It is because of him and his films that I gave a thought of acting.
Who are your favorite Bollywood actors and actresses?
My most favorite actress is Alia Bhatt and actor is Ranbir Kapoor.
Where do you see yourself after five years?
After five years, I would look at myself and be proud of myself for achieving whatever I wanted and working with big names.