""Earlier, acting in serials had a certain charm and exclusivity"


Krutika Desai - a Cancerian-Gemini cusp, whose linguistic skills and liberalised outlook complement her dusky sensuous look.

Liberalised because on-screen as well as off it, she has strayed from the routine to plunge into unknown terrain. Still, she is conservative at heart and more of a family person. Krutika gives a lot of importance to family values but she admits that her near ones too sometimes don't understand her; perhaps shades of eccentriciity often associated with her star-sign!

Desai was one of the early birds who jumped into the TV bandwagon during what she calls was boom time in the 1980s. Some of the serials she has worked on are Buniyaad, Chandrakanta, Zameen Aasmaan, Kismet, Hungama, Superhit Muqabla, A Mouthful of Sky and Mansi. Desai has done two feature films - one in Hindi and another in Bengali. She will be traveling to Israel for an English cross-over film in February 2003. She admits that she would love to do more feature films but wants to restrict her appearance on theatre and TV shows.

However, Desai has been appreciated in the role of Roopali Roopchand (Zee's Lipstick) and Devanshi (Sony's Kkusum) and her fan mail seems to be increasing day by day. Desai spoke to indiantelevision.com's Ashwin Kotian. Excerpts:


Tell us about 'Lipstick'? How did you bag the role?

Lipstick, the name itself is daringly different. It is a never-before show on Indian television. It was conceived with the intent of shocking the middle class sensibilities and presenting an unadulterated view of the upper class.

It was a bold theme and telecast appropriately in the 11 pm time slot. It is a departure from the run-of-the-mill fare and examined various issues like homosexuality and extramarital relationships.

Zee is very particular about the actors who are chosen for roles in the serials telecast on the channel. For the role of Roopali in Lipstick, Shrishti Arya (the producer) had already shot some scenes with two different actors.

Zee's programming team wasn't happy with the results and they urged Shrishti to look for someone else. The character Rupali is a pretty complex one - never played on TV before. It is the role of a fading actress who is on her way down. But she never accepts defeat and tries her best to rise to the top. It was then that the producers approached me.


"Roopali is a vain and hysterical woman. Unwilling to accept middle age and maturity gracefully. Roopali is known for her promiscuity and drinking problem"

Krutika Desai on her role in 'Lipstick'


Can you tell us about your character Roopali in 'Lipstick'?

Roopali Roopchand is a star - in the true sense of the word. She comes from a traditional middle class family and has paid dearly for her success. But it was a price she did not mind paying.

Till recently the most sought after heroined in the industry, today she finds newcomers like Kanchan Kumari have taken over her mantle.But Roopali is not prepared to let go. She thinks she can pull her career for another 10 years at least.

Roopali is a vain and hysterical woman, who is unwilling to accept middle age and maturity gracefully. Roopali is known for her promiscuity and drinking problem. She uses her connections in gossip columns to make headlines for herself, and to spread malice for others.

She thinks gossip will make her look younger in the eyes of the public. She is on the verge of schizophrenia and is paranoid about grey hair and wrinkling skin. Mention of younger actresses can send her into a flying temper. Her tantrums are growing by the day and she is losing her grip on her career.


What kind of effort went into the creating the persona for Roopali?

Zee's programming team, the producer, the fashion designer Fabiya and I experimented a lot with the look and feel of the character. In the beginning, we decided to adopt a western look. Later, we decided to try out the Indian look with a saree.

We decided to use a lot of jewellery and different wigs. When the programming team saw the rushes, they liked me in a saree as it depicted someone who is modern as well as traditional in the same vein.

Finally, we crystallized on a mix in which I wore sarees, sleeveless blouses and several additional props. It is indeed how a modern Indian woman looks, talks and behaves.

The efforts that we made have been successful and the audience identifies with my depiction of the role. I have received feedback that the audience actually waits for my scenes. Even today, there are so many twists and turns as the character is evolving. Rupali has become more involved with the new man in her life.


"By TV standards, it was a bold thing to do.."

Krutika on the scene in 'Lipstick' where she is accosted by an intruder while taking a shower


Can you recount any memorable incident that happened during the shooting of 'Lipstick'?

I still remember the second day of shooting in the first schedule. The scene involved my character Roopali being accosted by an intruder while she is taking a shower.

By TV standards, it was a bold thing to do and my producers made it clear that they would go ahead with the scene only with my permission. I was apprehensive initially but changed my mind later. I felt that there is a need to try out new and different things. Someone would do it for television eventually, so why couldn't I don the mantle of ushering in something offbeat?

The shoot happened in a small AC studio and the water had become too cold for comfort. When the scene started rolling, I realized that the water was actually freezing. Within minutes, my teeth were chattering and my director Bhushan rushed to me with a towel. He was afraid that I would get pneumonia and wanted to complete the sequence as soon as possible.

Two cameras were used and mercifully my co-actor also cooperated. Later on, I got a congratulatory call from Bhushan who was seeing the rushes at the editing table. He told me that it was fabulous scene and I had delivered exactly what he had in mind.

Tell us about your recent entry into the 'Kkusum' storyline, which has been hyped up in the promos?

In Kkusum, my character Devanshi keeps everyone guessing. Devanshi took viewers by surprise when she arrived on the scene almost suddenly. Even now, my fans and people I meet ask me whether I am linked to Siddarth or Vikas Bhalla or someone else. There is a certain amount of intrigue and mystique around Devanshi. Sometimes, she appears so very nice and good; at other times, she seems to be conniving and manipulating. At any point of time, she seems to have something up her sleeve. Balaji's creative team and the producer Ekta Bahri have really worked hard on the character, her portrayal, her look and the hype around her entry. Here again, the look is very traditional but glamourous - and I use a lot of heavy jewellery.

"My life doesn't revolve around acting as I feel that there are different dimensions to my persona"

Krutika on herself


Are you different from the characters you portray?

I am passionate about my home and my privacy. My life doesn't revolve around acting as I feel that there are different dimensions to my persona.

There is a broader spectrum which includes my hobbies like reading, cooking and traveling. I see myself as a housewife, as a mother as much as I see myself as an actress.

I have become very selective in choosing my roles. I love wearing western clothes - preferably jeans, T-shirts and tracks. I don't like frills. I love traveling and getting glimpses into the diverse cultures of places I visit. For instance, I would love to go to Egypt as against New York. I would love to go to Northern Thailand; basically I am a mountain person and not a beach person. I enjoy taking long walks in the forests and spending my time amidst nature.I also love river rafting as I find it to be a stimulating experience.

As far as food is concerned, I am vegetarian and stay away from fried food. I love cooking and try out different recipes; but I prefer to eat simple plain food.


Have things changed since you started your TV stint?

Seven years ago, things were very different. It was peak time in terms of money and job satisfaction. There were fewer channels - primarily DD1 and DD metro channels; lesser serials and everyone used to watch the serials on air. Acting in serials had a certain charm and exclusivity.

Due to all these reasons, there was a greater amount of fame and star value - as we used to call it. People who acted in those serials were major stars and became famous almost overnight. In those days, I used to work on as many as seven shows on DD and later Zee - Buniyaad, Chandrakanta, Zameen Aasmaan, Kismet, Hungama, Superhit Muqabla, A Mouthful of Sky and Mansi.

These days, everyone is doing TV and serials are dime a dozen. Everybody doesn't watch all the serials - some people don't watch anything at all and have shifted loyalties to other types of shows.

The working conditions have deteriorated. Earlier, we used to have our own make-up man, attendant and room. Currently, TV actors don't get even the basic amenities; unless they demand and bargain for a better deal from the producers.

Earlier we used to do three to four scenes and in the present scenario, eight or even nine scenes are the order of the day. There is so much more stress that one can actually feel it. The difference in attitude is so clearly visible in terms of the hectic pace of work - everything and everyone seems to suggest "Do it fast and then take on more work"!


"The working conditions have deteriorated. Earlier we used to have our own make-up man, attendant and room. Currently, TV actors and actresses don't get even the basic amenities; unless they demand and bargain a better deal from the producers"

Krutika on how things have changed in the TV industry


What are the current projects you are working on?

Last year, I did a Gujarati play Shodh Pratishodh which won rave reviews and accolades from the masses as well as the classes. We did 125 shows in four months - a record by itself. I plan to do one play every year but I shall be very selective about my roles and characters.

I have done two films Insaaf (mainstream commercial film) and a Bengali film Dastak (very different and offbeat). I shall be going off to Israel to shoot for an English feature film. It's about an Indian couple settling down in an alien country and coping with the differences in culture. On TV, I am currently working with Zee and Sony. There are some offers and I am exploring the opportunities.


Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories