Actor Neha Joshi will essay the lead character Yashoda in &TV’s new family drama Doosri Maa. The story revolves around Yashoda (Neha Joshi), who lives in Uttar Pradesh with her husband, two daughters, and in-laws. Her happy, peaceful family life comes to a screeching halt when she and her husband unknowingly adopt his illegitimate child, Krishna, played by Aayudh Bhanushali. The show captures the lead protagonist, Yashoda, 's journey of coming to terms with her husband’s past and her conflicted, rocky relationship with her stepson. In this candid interview, Neha Joshi discusses her new show, her character, life after marriage and more.
1. Tell us about your character in Doosri Maa.
Yashoda is a devoted housewife and a social worker. She is a loving, practical, and pragmatic woman. She has two daughters and is proud of them. She is never disrespectful but does not hesitate to let others know she won’t allow anyone to insult her. She has her unique and witty way of making people realise their mistakes. During her work, she meets Maya, a single unmarried mother, on her deathbed and promises to provide for her only child Krishna, with a safe and secure future.
2. How much do you relate to Yashoda in your personal life?
I do have a few similarities with Yashoda's character. I, just like Yashoda, also take a realistic approach to life and dislike deception. I respect others and enjoy being appreciated. The most important thing, however, is that I love my family and my husband.
3. Being a Maharashtrian, how did you work on the dialect, given that the show is based in the backdrop of Uttar Pradesh?
As an artist, I love to accept new challenges. It gives me a sense of satisfaction and helps me evolve as an actor. There is always new learning waiting to be explored. Being a Maharashtrian, I had to adapt to the UP dialect and way of life. I had to undergo an extensive workshop to understand the nuances and get into the skin of the character. I also met a couple of women from UP to understand and observe their mannerisms and way of life. My theatrical background also helps to adapt and portray the character effectively. Imtiaz Punjabi, the director, is a perfectionist and extremely particular about everything. I had worked with him previously in Ek Mahanayak – Dr B.R. Ambedkar, so it was easy to understand and adapt to his requirements.
4. You are once again working with Aayudh Bhanusali. How does it make you feel?
We are quite happy and excited. We have always stayed in touch and made it a point to call, text, and meet each other whenever we could. Our bond has always been very special. In real life, too, I treat him like my son. When I learned about reuniting with him for Doosri Maa, I was extremely happy and couldn’t have wished for a better co-star than Aayudh. We have always enjoyed our time together, and now we will spend plenty of time playing, conversing, rehearsing, and shooting for the show. I am sure people will like our equation as much as they did in the previous show.
5. Do you have any personal experiences with friends, family, or neighbours linked to the show’s concept?
I have never had anything like this happen to my family or the people around me. However, I have heard stories about a mother caring for a child who is not her biological child. This story of Doosri Maa, her circumstances, and the journey of the mother and her husband’s illegitimate son makes it one of the unique family drama shows on Indian television.
6. Do you believe playing a mother again will limit you and lead to typecasting?
What matters is the character's personality, journey, and portrayal. A strong character not only stands out but also helps an artist evolve. I strongly believe in essaying characters that relate to the audience and stand out. Yashoda's character allows me to explore and highlight the various aspects of her personality. Typecasting is no longer a barrier to selecting the right roles. Times have changed, and the audience appreciates our acting prowess.
7. You recently got married and are now shooting in Jaipur. How are things getting managed?
Omkar is a wonderfully supportive husband. I remember being offered this show when we finalised our wedding dates. Though I was excited to start working on the show, I was concerned about handling marriage and shooting preparations simultaneously and then shifting to Jaipur, where the show is being shot. But Omkar was the one who made me feel at ease, and everything went so smoothly. It's been many years since we met, and we have stayed in a live-in for nearly eight months. So, we have spent so much time together to understand each other. Although I have very little to spend with him as I am focusing on shooting, we will make plans to meet in Jaipur or Mumbai soon. I feel lucky to have his support to manage everything seamlessly.
Watch Neha Joshi as Yashoda in Doosri Maa, premiering tonight at 8:00 p.m. on &TV, airing every Monday to Friday!