"Kyunki... is popular because it has managed to touch a chord with the masses"

Clad in casual jeans -n-tee with a floppy hat she seems a teenybopper enjoying her cuppa in the neigbourhood cafe, but appearance aside ,there is nothing remotely laid back about her.

A known face on television, Ritu Chaudhary aka 'Shobhaa' of
Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi is a promising actor waiting to carve her niche amidst the huge battalion of telly artistes. Why, she even hopes to play a psychopath some day!

As of now, she is stuck with playing Miss goody- two -shoes. Besides the daily soap on Star Plus, she is currently wowing 'gharelu' audiences as Manasi in the first edition of
Chausath Panne on Zee , Dil....Naa jaane kyon.

This self-proclaimed control freak Taurean met up with indiantelevision's Trupti Ghag for a tete-e-tete. Excerpts-


From being a marketing executive to 'Shobhaa' in 'Kyunki Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi', how was the journey charted?

Since I was more a studious type, I decided to pursue academics and it never really was a conscious decision to join television but after I modelled for the Clean and clear advertisement, things just fell into place and I thought, why not?

During my marketing stint, I was handling media marketing - I guess the field excited me. Then during one of the auditions, I was noticed by Balaji Telefilms and was signed for a new show on Sony Kucch Jhuki Palkein. Contrary to popular perception, Kyunki.... came much later.


Till date, the roles you have picked up are the 'good girl' ones, no risks taken so far. Why?

As about the initial projects, they sounded nice and important. Being a family person, engaged to be married soon, I may not have been experimental in the early stages. But I am still young and can experiment, if something excites me, I will take it up.

I did however consciously avoid taking up similar projects that came my way. As a result, I had been out of work for 10 months, but then I was offered Chausath Panne. The role, the cast and the concept were quite interesting so took it up.

Did you take any acting classes?

No. I think acting is not something that you can learn.
"The first reaction one gives is usually one with no pretence. That is what acting is all about... being natural"

After modeling, facing the camera mustn't be that difficult but how did you go about acting?

Certainly, the earlier modeling assignments were a major plus, but acting came quite easily to me. Besides, I have been very lucky in terms of the team I have been working with.

Niyati in Kucch... was a small town girl married into a rich family and trying to cope with the changes in her life whereas Kyunki's Shobhaa is essentially a fun-loving family oriented girl. I just had to understand their frame of mind and go by my instincts.

Whereas Chausath Panne was not as easy a task. The character that I play in the serial, Manasi,goes through various shades of emotions. The screenplay begins with her life as a wife, mother of a four year old son and a daughter-in-law who then has to deal with the sudden disappearance of her husband. Later, just as her life is returning to normal, a man enters her life with the promise of a future. Since the story culminates in 64 episodes, the script was extremely tight and therefore it required a quick grasp of the character and some effort to emote.

"With weeklies, there is considerably less pressure to churn out scenes"
If you could describe your acting technique in a word, what would it be?

Spontaneous. I can not go through the rehearsals. All that I need to do is understand the scene and act. Personally speaking, the first reaction that one gives is usually with no pretence. That is what acting is all about... being natural. Your acting should look effortless.
Any memorable scenes so far?

I think the 'bidayee scene' in Kyunki. Till the last minute, I did not know what I was going to do but as soon as I saw my screen mother 'Tulsi' emoting, my tears started flowing. She is such a great influence... a wonderful actor.

According to you, what is the reason behind Kyunki's popularity ?

Kyunki... is popular mainly because it has managed to touch a chord with the masses, the middle class and the upper middle class. They can relate to it.

I do not belong to a joint family so it was difficult to relate to the Virani household's story initially. I had not come across anybody like 'Tulsi' so I couldn't understand her so well either but after portraying 'Shobha', I came across many such people who live that kind of a life.


What do you mean by middle class? The family portrayed does clearly have an influential background.

Well, those are just the creative liberties that you take, some eye candy for the viewers. But the soul is basically the middle class.


Speaking of 'Kyunkii...', Mihir's character was changed thrice. Has it affected the co-stars?

No. For the co-star, it is simply a matter of somebody off the team and somebody else joining the team. Just like the corporate world.

"Balaji are both, good task masters and good pay masters"
Why aren't you doing any more projects with Balaji? Are the working conditions not creatively satisfying?

Well, I am very much present in Kyunki... In fact Balaji are both, good task masters and good pay masters. I never had any problem with them.

What is the essential difference between performing for a daily and a weekly?

With weeklies, there is considerably less pressure to churn out scenes. You can take retakes and also content wise, it is heavier on the development of characters. You have select characters and two or three parallel stories at the most.

Plus, for a weekly, you only shoot for 10-15 days in a month so it is relatively less time consuming but nevertheless it is very challenging in terms of performances. At this stage, I would like to do some more weeklies.


Is it difficult maintaining a balance between home and career, especially since you are newly married?

Maybe for some, but my husband Gautam is my support system (grins). I shoot for almost 25-28 days a month and 10-12 hours every day. There have been times when he lands up on my set with a picnic basket so that we can spend some time together. He is extremely understanding and supportive of my career.

"Despite the popularity of the dailies, I think the audience would want to see a few weeklies as well"

How would you rate yourself as an actress ?

I'll give myself a five on ten. I have a lot to learn. Amongst the things on my to-do list is comedy.

Currently I am talking with a few people, let's see where the talks lead.


Who are your favourite actors and directors ?

Let's see. Urmila, Kajol, Madhuri Dixit, Amitabh Bachchan and Julia Roberts. As for the directors, Shyam Maheshwari, basically everybody in Balaji... it is almost like a second home and Dil ...Na Jaane kyon's director Gurudev Bhalla


How has the telly industry been so far? Many actors complain that it is difficult to make friends in showbiz. Is it true?

I have had a healthy relationship with the industry. I was comfortable even during my modeling days . In fact, ads gave me recognition in the industry.

Do you have any dream role as such?

Not a dream role per se. But I want to do theater. I think it is a good learning experience plus I want to experiment a little.
Is there a Bollywood foray on the cards?

No. Not till the scenario changes. Acting in Bollywood is too cliched.

As an insider, what do you think will be the future of television? What are the kinds of serials that we can expect in the near future?

Despite the popularity of the dailies, I think the audience would want to see few weeklies as well. People get bored after certain time.

My personal bet is on comedies and short films just like Gubbare, Rishtey or Best Sellers.

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