"I can do romantic scenes with tremendous ease and conviction"

Sangeeta Ghosh aka Pammi of the Star Plus' Des Mein Nikala Hoga Chand (DMNHC) was an extraordinary student in school. She would top her class and would lead in sports and dramatics as well. But a bookworm and a recluse she is not.

Her reel existence in DMNHC is in stark contrast to her real existence. The seedhi-saadhi Pammi of the small screen tube dons trendy and sexy outfits in real life. In addition, she loves to perform mushy, romantic scenes! And she loves item numbers! Today, she would prefer a live-in relationship rather than a marriage!

Sorry to destroy your illusions of a demure Pammi. Read on for her candid confessions on her life, and work in a honest tete a tete with Vickey Lalwani.


When did your TV career flag off?

I started off on television when I was just 10 years old. My first serial was directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, it was called Hum Hindustani.



Oh, I have done a lot of modelling, for magazines and for the small screen. Some of the major brands I have endorsed are Donear Suitings and Nirma.


When did you get into television in a major way?

Those were the days when I had finished my college studies around 1990. I did serials like Kurukshetra, Adhikaar, Ajeeb Dastan and Daraar. Arunaji saw me in Daraar and selected me for Mehendi Tere Naam Ki. And then came DMNHC.


Do you read any books on acting?

There are several books available on how to become a good actor but I have yet to come across one person who reads them. I am no exception. Sometimes, however, I do observe other artistes' mannerisms.

" I know that I have in me whatever it takes to attain dizzy heights. I don't want to be an also-ran"

Is there a role on television that makes you go green with envy?

None. I have the best crop!


What are your strengths as an actor?

My USP is that I can do romantic scenes with tremendous ease and conviction. Romance comes naturally to me. Basically, I am a very, very romantic person at heart. That's one of the reasons why my character Pammi clicked so much. The romantic scenes have separated me from the bracket of other TV actresses; most of whom put their foot down when a scene demands proximity between a man and woman. This kind of attitude smacks of unprofessionalism.


What are your weaknesses as an actor?

I am never satisfied with my output. I am a harsh critic of myself. I always think that I could have done a particular scene better. At the end of the day, I am realistic too. At times, you have to understand that you cannot give 100 per cent every day. On certain days, nothing goes right. Besides, in serials, we do some scenes which are quite similar to each other. The monotonous work sometimes shows on the face, the artiste starkly appears disinterested and jaded.


Ever put your foot down about certain dialogues?

At times, I have. I can never do anything until I feel from within. So, you can say that I am a director's actor. A director constantly convinces his actors on how and why they should do their next scene. That pays. Thus, an artiste gets into the skin of the character. Besides, we are working in a medium where there is lots of flexibility. The scenes can be changed to suit the artiste.

A serial is not a film which is dictated by the demands of the financers and distributors wherein there are diktats about the mandatory fight scene, hero heroine ke 'racy-pacy' dance numbers, etc.


Sangeeta with Varun Badola in DMNHC
"I have done all my homework. I just need my first break to prove my worth in cinema"

Do you demand to know the weight of your character before you sign on the dotted line?

Certainly. After becoming a household name, I don't want to do serials which will utilise my face as a prop-up girl. Even in my younger days, I have nagged the director to take a look at the script. From here on, I'll have to nag him more. Often, the script narrated is not what it is. You should always be on your guard that nobody is taking you for a ride. Serials contain many actors, you can easily get lost in the crowd. I want to be remembered as a great performer. I know that I have in me whatever it takes to attain dizzy heights. I don't want to be an also-ran.


Ever goofed up a scene?

It does happen. Then I apologise and another shot is taken. Tempers don't fly for such a flimsy reason. But I remember one scene which Varun and I could not get it right for a long, long time. It was shot in Chandigarh. We were confessing our feelings to each other. Some insects had got into our hair and clothes. It was a terrible experience. God knows how many retakes we took before it got okayed!


How important are looks to you in a serial?

Today, channels are going out of the way to ensure that TV artistes look glamorous. Personally, I love to wear the best of clothes at the first opportunity. Of course if I am playing a prostitute or a 'bai', I will dress up accordingly. The body language of actresses today has become a bit confident, that's the only difference. This is unnecessarily being labelled as brash-n-brazen. Channels are also ensuring that serials have an NRI market. That's why many episodes are now shot on foreign locales. Like we shot quite a few portions of DMNHC in Bangok and London.


The first episode of 'DMNHC' showed the lead couple, Varun and you, meeting each other in a rather filmi manner - the usual 'ched chaad', your hair getting tangled in the locket of his chain, he tying your almost backless choli... Was it embarrassing to do those scenes?

Why should I be embarrassed about love scenes? Love is an essential part of any story. I had worked with Varun in one of the Rishtey episodes and so we already shared a rapport. Also, I had worked with Arunaji in one of her earlier serials and knew what she wanted. Besides, I am quite comfortable with my body, and with TV, one can only go to a particular extent. I come from a very liberal family but I am also aware about my limits.


Do you forget that you are Sangeeta when you become Pammi?

How can I? Those who say that they get into the skin of the character and lose their identity, are lying. In every scene, there's some Sangeeta in me. At times, the director wants Sangeeta to laugh/cry in the manner he has visualised Pammi to. But Sangeeta might not live up to his expectations. However, this does not imply that Sangeeta has failed. Emotions cannot be built up to the exact extent of perception, because no actor can totally evolve out from her skin. So, the director has to make a slight compromise, at times.


Do you think that TV artistes are underpaid?

'Dukhti rag pe haath rakh liya' (laughs) (You have just touched a raw nerve).


Your co-star Varun of 'DMNHC' is leaving the serial, shortly. What if you have some scenes like these with the guy who replaces him?

Yes, he is leaving. But then, I have already done more than 75 episodes of this serial. So why will I not feel at home? Let any guy come. Let there be any scene with him. I have no problems. At the end of the day, we are professionals.

Is your personal life as exciting as your television life?

Right now, there's nobody in my real life. But please don't think that I am an unromantic person. I'm a very romantic person and I would really like my man to woo me and give all his attention. In that sense, I'm really enjoying DMNHC as the character I play peps me up, it rejuvenates me. Going back, let me reveal that I have had my share of boyfriends.
Boyfriends! Were those days fun?

Oh, those were the days... In between work, I used to slip away in some corner and start chatting up with them. But on the flip side, there is a disadvantage too. It drains you. Today, I am more focussed on my work.
"Once you are in this line, you can't be rigid. Else, you'll be a big loser"

Don't you want to get married and settle down?

Somehow, I don't believe in the institution of marriage. I used to believe in it earlier, but of late, have lost faith. I have seen so many marriages failing around me. Instead, I wouldn't mind a live-in relationship. In a live-in relationship, there is a committment and there is no committment too.


How satisfied are you at this point in your career?

I am a satiated actor as far as the tube is concerned. I started as a child artiste and have worked with directors like Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Basu Chatterjee, Lekh Tandon and now Aruna lrani. But... (pauses)....


But what?

I am itching to work in films (smiles).


Is it easy for a TV actor to make it in films?

Certain people have got stuck in their television image. But why should I too get stuck? Didn't Shah Rukh Khan, Urmila Matondkar, Ashutosh Rana and Gracy Singh who started from television go on to make it big in films? Even if I get into films, I shall continue to do TV work. I know that I'll have to make some changes if and when I act in a film. I have done all my homework. I just need my first break to prove my worth in cinema.

How is it working with Aruna Irani at the helm in 'DMNHC'?

I'm not so experienced that I can talk about her. But one thing about her, she really goads you on to do your best. She gives some amazing cues while shooting. When you see the scenes, you know how much those little things have highlighted it. In short, she can easily extract out from an artiste whatever she wants.
Ram Gopal Varma is taking a keen interest in you. Right?

Well, I have auditioned for one of his forthcoming productions. I am eagerly awaiting the outcome. To be honest, I am very excited.
Game to wearing suggestive outfits if you get films?

Sure. I would definitely wear a comfortable swimsuit. In fact, I did wear one in a TV serial Suhana Safar. Once you are in this line, you can't be rigid. Else, you'll be a big loser.

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