No direction plans for this bahu
She has now launched her second TV serial as a producer-Virudh for Sony TV. SMRITI IRANI tells JYOTHI VENKATESH that she has not fallen out with her mentor Ekta Kapoor.
What is your role in Viruddh?
I play the role of Vasudha, who is the illegitimate daughter of the business tycoon Dhirendra Raisinghania.. Virudh is the story of the girl who happens to be the lead protagonist of the serial. She is so blinded by her love for her father Dhirendra Raisinghania played by Vikram Gokhale that she just cannot bear any one telling any thing against him.
To what extent do you identify with the role of Vasudha?
Vasudha is an extension of my personality, though I would not say that I identify with the character 100 % in my life. In any case, I feel that as an actress, I cannot afford to identify myself with every character that I set out to do in life.
It has taken you a long time to come up with the serial Virudh?
For the last one year, I was thinking of making the serial. I wanted to justify the characterization of each and every actor who is a part of my serial instead of just focusing on my own character just because I am producing the serial. I made sure of the various elements of the serial before it went on the floors.
How tough or easy was it for you to convince your actors to do your serial?
I told my colleagues to first judge me on the basis of the character that I have offered them and then work. Hence they are giving me not just 100% but 300% of their capacity as actors, whether it is Vikram Gokhale or Anjan Srivastava or for that matter Sushant Singh or Chetan Hansraj.When actors like Vikram and Sushant canme to me to listen to the subject, I realized that it was a big achievement for me and Zubin.
How has Sushant Singh's role shaped up in Virudh?
Sushant Singh plays an idealistic reporter who is working in the paper, which is brought out by my father. Though Sushant knows that it is difficult to survive if one decides to go by one's ideals, he is determined to follow the path of righteousness.
Do you resent the fact that the common man on the road refers to you as Tulsi and not Smriti?
Why should I? I created the image in the first place. Why should my own image upset me? Till date, only mythological characters have got such fan following as far as serials are concerned. To tell you the truth, what people say does not sway me. I also do not take my image as an actor seriously.
What message do you want to convey through your serial Virudh to the masses?
If at all I want to convey any message, I'd rather drive home such messages though NGO, not through my serials. Let me
make it very clear to one and all that I do not use television as a medium to spread any social message.
Ekta Kapoor was your co-producer when you launched Thodisi Zameen Thodasa Aasmaan. Now you are the solo producer. Have you fallen out with Ekta Kapoor?
It is just the call of the channel and I have got nothing to do with the decision when the channel decided to ask me to continue producing the serial as a solo producer. Sorry to disappoint you but Ekta and I have not fallen out though rumors insist otherwise. I feel it is just a waste of time to sit and justify or deny rumors, because I am still accessible to those in the media whose point of view is not tainted.
You are making two serials , acting in them and also balancing your career as well as family life besides dabbling with politics?
It is a job that I am doing, like any other ordinary housewife today, be it my political family or my own family consisting of my husband Zubin, my three children and my in laws, I have never shied away from expressing my own opinion. I do not think I have any barrier between people and me. The secret of my success is that I have never presumed that Smriti Irani is the be all and the end all of the world.
Can you elucidate this point?
When I go to a political meeting, I make it a point to forget that I play Tulsi in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. If I start thinking no end of myself just because of an imaginary character, which comes alive only on the small screen, it will be the beginning of my downfall as a human being.
What about plans to take up direction?
Look here. I have graduated from being an actor to a producer but that does not mean that I can make my transition to a director because I do not have the technical knowledge to become one. I can script, act and produce too but direction is something which I think I should safely leave to experts.
Q Is Virrudh primarily a story highlighting a constant conflict between father and daughter?
Q Does Virrudh have regular elements of a daily soap?
Q But it definitely looks different in terms of characterization and treatment as well as pace of the story. How confident are you of sticking to the original format?
Q But at the end of the day the TRPs determine everything. If TRPs don't come in will you resist the pressure to tell your story in a popularly accepted format?
Q Why did you pitch Virrudh at Sony and not Star Plus?
Q Why did you cast Sushant Singh opposite you and not a popular television actor?
Q With this show you will be busy with two dailies and one weekly. How will you manage all of it?
Q Do you cook regularly?
Q As a producer what kind of shows are you looking at making?
"I have done some stupid things on TV in the past"- Sushant Singh
Bollywood's fine actor, Sushant Singh, who is busy with in Ram Gopal Varma's remake of Sholay (where he plays Sambha), is also finding a footing for himself on television. With Sony's Virrudh, he is all set to kick off his full-fledged small screen innings. This rather stern looking actor plays an investigative reporter, and will also be seen romancing Smriti Irani, the lead protagonist of the show.
"Currently, I've more than five films up my sleeves. But somehow, Virrudh has a well defined male protagonist in it, which I why I decided to take up this offer. Unlike other TV dramas, here the story moves ahead and the conflict is about basic beliefs in life, rather than because of petty fights," says Sushant.
On the small screen, he has done some episodic work for Bhanwar and Agnichakra. Recalling his past work on the small screen, he says, "In the past, I had done some stupid things on TV just for money. I thought nobody will notice it. But then someone happened to call up my dad and told them about my role. That's when I had decided never to do anything for money. In the regular soaps these days, every bride is committed to finish her in laws. Every third episode you have a new husband; now where do these things happen."
True to his real life image, in Virrudh, Sushant plays an intense character - a reporter who goes to any length to cover the truth. He gets thrown out of 15 publications as he's looking for transparency in his relationships: personal as well as professional.
As far as his film career goes, Sushant is currently busy shooting for Pradeep Sarkar's Laga Chunari and another Telugu film.
Smriti's next project: A family drama for Zee Network
There's no stopping nation's ladli bahu and CEO of Ugraya Entertainemnt Pvt Ltd, Smriti Irani. After delivering two star-studded shows Thodi Si Zameen Thoda Sa Aasman on Star and soon-to-be-aired Virrudh on Sony, now the plucky producer's readying a plum project for Zee network.
Rather elated, yet weighing her words rather carefully she says, "I am producing a family drama for Zee network. But let me clarify, it's not for Zee Hindi but for a regional channel probably. Woh ek naya shetra hoga(that will be a new area altogether). The story of Thodi Si Zameen….was woven in a chawl setting, Virrudh is a drama looking for the truth in relationships and the next project will also be breaking new grounds."
As for now, apart from being busy with Virruddh, her eyes are really set on taking her production house, Ugraya Entertainemnt Pvt Ltd to greater heights. Revealing her strategy further, Smriti says, "I believe as a production house we should be ready to cater to all the demands of any channel. I think I've been one of the lucky few actors who have managed to break away from my screen image. When I travel round the country, people do recognize me as Smriti Irani and not just as Tulsi. Though, I must also confess I haven't forgotten my roots."
Smriti's Virrudh… from March 26
Virrudh marks Smriti Z Irani's foray into Sony TV. Smriti plays the protagonist who is caught in a conflict of relationships and values. Set in the corporate world, it has Vasudha Rai Singhania, as a cheerful, loving, intelligent girl who is the second in command to her father, Dhirendra Rai Singhania (Vikram Gokhale), a power-hungry, manipulative business tycoon runs a newspaper Dainik Darpan. Vasudha is in love with Sushant (Sushant Singh), the chief crime reporter of Dainik Darpan. Along the way, she discovers her father's manipulative ways and is caught between love and duty. How she handles the conflict forms the crux of the story. Albert Almeida, Executive Vice President & Business Head, Sony assures that the fast-paced show and strong characters will keep the viewers glued with its engrossing storyline. The cast includes Mohan Bhandari, Govind Namdeo, Achint Kaur, Ashwini Kalsekar and Chetan Hansraj. Co-produced by Smriti Z Irani and Applause Entertainment, the serial will be aired from March 26, every Monday to Thursday, at 9.30 p.m.
The producer and actor bring new synergy into their working relationship
"I am not scared of the TRP game"
Sony is finally ready to showcase its primetime daily, Virrudh which boasts of best talents from all the three mediums of the acting genre - theatre, TV and films, all weaved together to a rather off beat storyline.
And who's the happiest on this occasion? Nation's favourite bahu and CEO, Ugraya Entertainemnt Pvt Ltd, Smriti Irani, who after a successful stint in television production (Thodi Si Zameen Thoda Sa Aasman) is all charged up about her second offering, Virrudh.
In a candid chat with Seema Pherwani, this actor-cum-producer-cum-politician gets candid about her short journey as producer.
"For Virrudh, Sony felt I suited the role"
"Winning is not about power and money"
In the end, Vasudha loses all the relationships and she doesn't even realise this. By the time she realizes that her father is actually not what she thought him to be, nature takes it toll and she herself becomes like him.
"A contemporary story of friction and angst"
"Inspired by the Mahabharata"
"I am very adamant as a writer"
"I love multitasking"
No star wars here
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