Television

"Method acting makes one rather wooden" : Sweta Keswani

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Sweta Keswani is the cute little starlet you just cannot miss if you have seen any episode of Kahanii Ghar Ghar Ki or Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chaand. While these two serials have catapulted her to fame and recognition, not many are aware that Sweta has been around for nearly seven years now - playing varied roles that include those of a deranged girl and a pregnant widow. Last year, we also saw her in a laugh riot- Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan, directed by Manjul Sinha of Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi fame.



How did you shift from the world of modelling into TV?

Well, it just happened. While I was in college, someone suggested that I get a portfolio done. Soon thereafter, I bagged a modelling assignment. Then I heard of an audition for a serial Raman Kumar was doing for Home TV and decided to give it a shot. It was sheer luck that I got selected for the role. Today, I've completed almost seven years acting on TV.



Are you a trained actor?

No, I'm not. I've gone purely by my instincts.

In hindsight, do you ever regret not having taken an acting course?

No, I don't. I don't believe acting is something that can be taught. Either you have the talent in you or you don't. What an acting course can do is help you polish your existing capabilities. For instance, it can help improve your body language and diction. In any case, I would like to believe that the last seven years have been like a long acting course for me. I have worked with directors as varied in their approach as Arun Frank who gives you the liberty to enact a scene the way you like it and Aruna Irani, who is very particular about the way you enact a scene. I have learnt acting the hard way - by the trial and error method. And when you make it this way, you seldom forget the lessons you learn along the way.

'The last seven years have been like a long acting course for me'

So, you don't believe in method acting?

No, I enjoy freaking out on my instincts. Method acting, I would believe, makes one rather conscious and to an extent, wooden.

Do you like the director to enact a scene before you do it or do you like to do it your way?

Ideally, I like to give two takes - one where I perform the way the director wants me to and the second one, where I do my own thing. The one that comes out better is chosen. Of course, there are constraints on the shoot and this is not always possible.



What are the factors you take into consideration before taking up a new role?

I look at the channel on which the programme is going to air, the money aspect and the challenge the role offers.

'I badly need a couple of months off. No matter how versatile you try to be, how innovative or activating can TV acting be? '

___________

How do you plan your schedules? How many days do you shoot in a month?

I normally work on four projects simultaneously, but since I'm presently doing a daily soap- Kahanii Ghar Ghar Ki and a one-hour soap-Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chaand, two are sufficient. I try not to shoot more for more than 20 days a month but more often than not, this planning is hampered by last minute changes in the shooting schedules.

Have you ever felt burnt out due to your hectic schedule?

Yeah, presently I'm experiencing a near burn-out situation. I have to drag myself to work. I badly need a couple of months off. It's not because I'm not enjoying my work, it's just that I feel fatigued. Because after all, no matter how versatile you try to be, how innovative or activating can TV acting be?

On a scale of 10, how would you rate yourself as an actor?

If you had asked me this two or three years ago, I would have given myself three or four, but today I would give myself an eight. Today, I normally don't require a retake and my directors have been quite effusive about my performance.

'An actor requires tons and tons of patience'

Which are the areas you still need to work on as an actor?

An actor requires tons and tons of patience. This is one area I'm lacking in. When I have to wait around on the sets waiting for my shot to be called, it tends to unnerve my concentration and affect my performance. This is something I need to work on.

Which has been your most challenging role till date and what kind of preparation went into it?

It was this role in Rishtey where my mother is in love with someone and this lover falls in love with her daughter. I played the daughter, and it was a challenge to play this character being loved by a much older person, specially in the backdrop of this person's relationship with my mother.As far as my preparations went, I just took a couple of days off before this shoot, concentrated a lot more on the situation this character was in and accordingly rehearsed a lot more.

Who are your favourite actors?

I admire Kajol and Aamir Khan a lot; Kajol for her spontaneity and Aamir Khan for the thought he puts into each character that he plays.

Who are your favourite directors?

Vikas Desai and Aruna Irani.

Where do you see yourself ten years hence?

Actually, I don't know. A career in TV acting can be a relatively short-lived one, so I don't really know whether I would be doing the same thing ten years down the line. My options are quite open-ended but whatever I do, I should be like to be successful in it.

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