"As the innocence of acting is lost, the ability to give your best goes":Renuka Shahane


Renuka Shahane has a 1000 watts smile and the appeal of the girl next door. Coming from a typical Maharashtrian middle class background with journalists in the family, she did not consider acting as a career. But she blossomed from the Surabhi, to Imtihaan and more recently, Kora Kagaz.

After buying her own house last year, Renuka is independent. She buys her own groceries, washes her clothes, and if need be, her own sweeping as well. From theater to television and movies, this 34 year old is now planning to switch tracks to direction.

An ex-Xavierite with a MA in Clinical Psychology, she shone in arts and crafts, and was an active participant in Malhar. But, she was not ambitious. " I am very happy and satisfied," she says. Renuka Shahane speaks to Indiantelevision.com's NUPUR REKHY about her professional growth and future plans. Excerpts:

Q: You started with a cultural programme. How did that happen ?

A: There was screen test on for a drama called PC Aur Maussi directed by Siddharth Kak. His assistant was a friend of my brother. I went to attend it, and was selected.

Q: How did you get a break in television ?

A: I think I was at the right place at the right time. I had no formal training. Coming from amateur theater, I have learnt from seeing and doing. The biggest plus was that, when I entered television, the industry was not as big as it is today. That's when Surabhi happened on DD1, and how it started.

Q. Which do you consider your major work ?

A: Imthihan was my best role ever . There was Junoon, 9 Malabar Hills, Sailabh, Kora Kagaz and Tejaswini. Surabhi and Close-up Antakshari were my early success.

Q. How much do you contribute in your work?

A: Quite a lot. If it is logical then the director takes it. Because I feel, there is logic even in madness. I like the continuity in the character and convince the audience of what I am doing. I am not very concerned about my clothes and the script. I ask for corrections only if I notice wrong grammar in the script. Otherwise the directors word is final.

Q. How was it working with Ravi Rai. What have you learnt from him ?

A: He started a different brand of television. He is wonderful, laid back, allows a lot of freedom to the artists, is sure of himself and writes very well. On his sets there is fun, jokes and no seriousness. So, I guess, I have picked up my attitude from there.

I am basically fed up of acting. I am not one of those who want to make a name and be known as glamorous... I want to be behind the scenes. Otherwise, I want nothing else to change in my life and create a dis-balance

Q. What is the role you really want to play?

A:. I want to do negative role with purpose. Thankfully, I am doing a Marathi play called Arambh, by Rakesh Sarang, where there is this women character. She has double standards and no commitment. She does not think about marriage, but wants to have relationships. So there is lot of dichotomy. In television it is all so morally oriented. I feel because TV is a real medium, why not get real?

Q: Being a serious actress, what are you looking for ?

A: Nothing. I am very laid back, and un-ambitious. I am basically fed up of acting. I am not one of those who want to make a name and be known as glamorous. And be in people's mind for ever. I assisted Vijaya Mehta, director of Life Line. It gave me such a high in terms of intensity and conviction. See, it happens with any actor. It's the trick of trade. As the innocence of acting is lost, the ability to give your best is gone.

Q: What's missing in your current roles?

A: My reaction is very jaded to my present role. Imtihaan work was miles ahead. This doesn't seem to match.

Q: How have you contributed ?

A: Apart from my good luck, I am very punctual. If I give a particular date and time, I am always there. Whether I am required to be early or stay up late.

Q: Being a major TV star, where do you want to go from here?

A: I want to concentrate on my writing. I have already written a feature film, related to a human issue. I also want to read and write black comedy. Besides, I have started writing a column for Sunday Mid-day in 'flying solo'.

Q. Who are your favourite directors?

A: Ravi Rai. Aziz Mirza inspired me to be an actress. Siddharth Sen Gupta, Lekh Tandon and Sanjay Uppadhaya.

Q: What are your future plans?

A: I want to be behind the scenes. Otherwise, I want nothing else to change in my life and create a dis-balance.

Q: What about marriage?

A: I have no need for that kind of company. I have a philosophy that you can feel alone in middle of thousand of people. I love children. But that is it. I want to accept it gracefully.

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