After attaining much success, Choti Sarrdaarni has now taken to a new chapter with a generation leap adding more drama and twists to the storyline. As the story progresses, Meher and Sarabjit meet with a sudden and tragic accident that takes their lives. But they leave behind their piece of heart, Seher who has now grown into a strong-willed girl. Playing grown-up Seher is actress Nimrit Kaur Ahluwalia, and she has a lot to say about the show, leaving behind her cast, and this new chapter, for that matter.
Read excerpts from the interview here.
A lot has happened, the leap has taken place, you are shooting with new people, how are you keeping up with everything?
We knew that this was going to happen, we were trying to mentally prepare ourselves for the past few weeks but like we always say it's still a very bittersweet feeling as Choti had been my first show and still very much is but everybody on set, in terms of my cast has changed. The crew is the same but feels like a new show altogether because there is a new character and it's completely different from Mehr and her journey. It is a 16-year leap so obviously with time people evolve and their mindsets evolve so to incorporate that and simultaneously change that was kind of difficult and it was emotionally difficult because I still miss everybody on set whether it be Avinesh or Anita ma’am or Dolly ma’am. We spent so much time together during the lockdown and have become like family in the past 2 years and the fact that I was the only one staying back and others were leaving... I wanted to leave with them honestly but at the same time, there was a feeling of gratefulness and gratitude because I feel that the kind of immense faith and belief that the channel has in me and I have always believed in the story of our show and still very much do and I feel privileged that I am getting to portray such a character in other powerful, funky, quirky, independent girl in the modern time and I feel very lucky to get the opportunity the one I have been given. People on social media these days are also like that don’t you miss Mehr and all but I don’t know how to explain it to them as it is very confusing and I miss everyone so much and am full of energy about this new chapter.
First looks opened up to a mixed reaction, much like is true for any major leap or change that comes in. What do you have to say?
I think Choti Sarrdaarni is not just a show for people, it’s a feeling and it's an emotion as they have lived through this for the past 2 years with us so the attachment and love they have for not just Mehr and Sarat but for each and every character, that is something which has been worked on and garnered over time. Even when the show first started yes it was a good response but Mehr and Sarat as characters didn’t become the love characters overnight, you fell in love with them over time as people gave us a chance and they placed their bets on us, and over time we were able to win over their hearts. So the mixed reactions didn’t bother me as much because we know what we have created. I and my entire cast have created magic with it. I understand the resistance people have over the new concept, the new characters, and the new show and I also understand that letting go isn’t easy. I still sit and think of Mehr and I couldn’t stop crying for days in advance when I had to even think of the thought that I had to let go of this character and you can only let go is when you know you have to pay someone else and you know you’ve to give your 100% to the new character. It's absolutely fine and my one takeaway from the entire response and in general what I feel is that nobody is trying to replace Mehr and Sarat, they can’t be replaced. Nobody is replacing the season 1 cast because these characters have turned into iconic names in the television industry and people find them relatable, they love them and people are going to continue to love them even if they don’t get to see them. Nobody is here to compete with that as they are separate. This is something fresh and very new. It’s a new baby that the entire team is investing so much love, effort, creativity everything. We are just looking for an opportunity just the way we were given an opportunity to be heard, loved, and seen. You know this is what we have, this is what we bring to the table, and at the end of the day, it's obviously on the audience to like it or not. So, there’s that.
As an actor how do you deal with it, especially since you are the only one left behind...
As to how responsible I feel, strangely last night only (ahead of the first day's premiere) I couldn’t sleep until 3 am as it struck me that today would be the first day of the new episode and it finally struck me that there’s so much at stake. When I say so much at stake, I mean there is so much at stake in all aspects. Not only for me personally but for as a team as this show runs the families of more than 500 people at least if we look at the financial aspect of it, from my cast and crew’s perspective in a situation like Covid. There are more than 500 people who are actually earning from this and running their households. One is such a kind of responsibility and the second being that I am the only person being retained and it’s not me who is going to play Mehr because that character Is already loved by the people. This is a whole new character and whole new me to which I don’t know how people will take it and I hope they take it well. That’s another kind of responsibility altogether.
Also, once you create a new project it just cannot be about that one person, it has to be about everyone. So, I do feel like a little bit of an oldie with all the newbies around me. I can relate to them. I can relate to their energy levels and their enthusiasm as it kind of reminds me of mine and I feel more mature in that sense. I am trying to keep everybody as a family as I have seen my seniors doing that and frankly speaking, I know Sarat and I miss him so much and I feel that there was someone I could completely share the responsibility with him in equal half. Nobody realizes this and nobody says it but with him being gone I feel like there’s so much responsibility on my shoulders. So I am trying to keep myself as positive as vivacious as bubbly as Sehr(?) is supposed to be and I hope that people love her as they did as Mehr.