Switching between real and the reel on the sets of "Ghar Ek Mandir" is a cakewalk for Gautami Gadgil. Except when she's enacting emotional scenes that is. Then it can be some time before she recovers from a bawling session. And if you thought it was all about the good old glycerine, you'd better have a fresh take on it mate.Gadgil, who plays 'Aachal', the central character in the serial, takes three takes to complete the teary shot. Not her fault it must be noted coz somebody else goofed up. And after the second take the tears just refuse to stop flowing.Once the shot's been canned and she's over the crying game, she's all bubbles and laughter. There's a whole lot of ribbing between her and co-stars Ram Kapoor (Rahul) and Ritu Raj (Vishwajeet) once she's composed herself and that's the general mood on the sets every time the director calls cut. Everyone's having a blast what with all the jokes and leg-pulling going on. Born and brought up in Mumbai in a traditional Maharashtrian milieu, Gadgil's family tended towards the academic. So it must have been quite dramatic when she decided to venture into acting along with her studies.
She starting out modelling at the age of 16. In between her modelling assignments and acting, Gautami managed to graduate with a degree in life sciences. Influenced by her academically inclined family - her father is a doctor, mother a principal of a nursing college - Gautami pursued her studies and got a diploma in medical lab technology.
In due course, she got her break acting in a sitcom. She's come a long way since then, having dabbled in movies, modelling, and the tube in serials like "Alag Alag" and "Patang" on DD Metro and "Ghar Ek Mandir" on Sony Entertainment Television.
In between shots and the general merrymaking on the sets of "Ghar Ek Mandir" in the west Mumbai suburb of Andheri, indiantelevision.com's Harsha Khot managed to get in a few questions to Gadgil. And a few replies. Excerpts from a rather distracting interview:
How did acting in a television serial happen?
Since the tenth standard I had been into ad modelling, and one day to my surprise I received a call requesting me to come for an audition from UTV. And with a name like Manjul Sinha (a well known television director) behind the camera I did not have to hesitate to audition too much though my friends badgered me a bit before I finally went.
What recollections do you have of your first shoot?
It was a pilot that never took off. I was very nervous and not so much about the acting as about whether the audience would accept me or not.What sort of roles do you look forward to taking up?
After taking up two sensitive roles in "Ghar Ek Mandir" and Tamanna, I would love to do something different, more challenging. Say a negative role; play a character who is physically handicapped... or that of an old woman. The sort of roles that I have done till now have come quite naturally since they portrayed traditional Indian women. I suppose the perception is that my looks fit those types of characters.You're in Channel 9 Gold's "Alag Alag" and "Patang" on Doordarshan Metro. Though you're playing different characters doesn't it bother you?
You mean overexposure. My producers haven't received any complaints so far. And the offers for roles are still flowing in.How do you enact the character that you're playing?
It becomes quiet easy when I try and play a character close to me. Keeping the lines of the script in mind I try to give the character the emotions the way I would react during similar circumstances and moments.
Is it easy being an actress?
It is hard work. There are times when you feel absolutely drained out. Say for instance in an emotional scene, you try and bring up the emotions. And if there are many similar emotional scenes with takes and retakes, by the end of it all you reach a point where your eyes go dry and you are mentally drained out with no energy left.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Ordinary people. It could be anybody. A person walking on the road, and certain things about them that leave an image in my mind.
Between ad modeling, acting in a daily sitcom and movies, which medium do you prefer?
Each one stands out on its own. In ads it is a two-day affair where you are working with a set of very professional people, in a daily sitcom you get to learn as you go along with the character, and it enhances your acting. Movies of course have all that glamour attached and you get much wider exposure which is a different sort of thrill.
What things prompt you to pick up a role?
I ponder over the potential of the character. Its depth, the subtle shades that it could have. And yes the crew matters the most to me, because I have to be comfortable with the people I work with. In the morning I should be eager to jump out of bed and head for a shoot. If that weren't so, then it would be difficult to relate with things. Leave other things aside. The director should be able to relate to me and the character I am supposed to convey.
Do you miss not having been formally trained?
Yes, I do regret it. A background in acting helps you in emoting better.How then did you work on acting?
Do you practice voice modulation, expression? Hmm... I don't know. The directors, co-stars they were very helpful. No I did not practice voice modulation but I do intend to do that in future. Maybe theatre too.
Because of my friends actually. They triggered the curiosity of acting in theatre. They keep raving about how theatre is this... theatre is that... and can't stop talking about the 'high' they get after audiences give them a positive response. The response in television acting comes after a week or so, but in theatre it is instant...now I want to experience that. Actually, my debut in television started with a director (Manjul Sinha) who gets the best out of his actors. His style is very different. Generally all one has to do to get the hang of a script is to learn the dialogues for the forthcoming scene. While he gets the whole crew to rehearse the entire scene at one stretch just like the way you might do in a play. That you have to learn remember all your dialogues.Any forthcoming serials that we could see you in?
Actually, I am looking forward to taking a break at least for the next three months. In fact I have been stepping out of commitments. And where that's not possible, I'm working on completing them as soon as possible.What do you intend to do?
As of now I just want to take a break. Then maybe check out something in theatre. And I also intend to get back to studies and pursue sociology.