"Being on Star, Sony and Zee gave me an unbelievable high"


Having made quite a few appearances on television, she is now getting noticed and getting her dues. Shy and reticent, this psychology graduate from Mumbai's Mithibai College has won the hearts of everyone who is glued to the television at prime time. Alongside, she has also had her tryst with Bollywood!

An aspiring model, she has tried her hand at ads, modelling and now is a known face on the small screen. Tina Parakh who has come as a whiff of fresh air in Balaji Telefilms' rejuvenated Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii (KGGK) as 'Shruti' has won many a hearts. After acting in serials like Dollar Bahu, Astitva, Kehta Hai Dil, Khichdi, Mansha and Kahaani Terri Merri this petite actress is open to anything that comes her way from serials to films. Fabulous looks and straightforward answers, she seems a perfect blend of beauty and honesty.

Excerpts from an interview with indiantelevision.com's Vickey Lalwani:


How did television happen?

By accident (laughs). After my college was over, I wanted to get into Public Relations (PR). But, I had some friends who had were into modelling. I used to go with them for auditions and it started rubbing on me. I was very impressed by the way models/actors say their lines and start screaming or laughing in front of so many people, without batting an eyelid or raising sweat.


And you went in for your first audition?

You guessed it right. Actually during one of my visits with my friends at an audition, I started giggling at someone who was auditioning. The person in charge asked me if I wanted to try my hand at acting. I did not.

Later, they called me. I went, but still did not give the audition. You can say I developed cold feet. After coming home, I decided that it was high time I opened up. And I told my dad that I wanted to get my portfolio done! (smiles).

"I left 'Mansha' because it was difficult for me to handle two dailies at a time"

So did your parents encourage you?

A few teething problems, but I convinced my dad and got my portfolio done. 15 days later, I got my first ad - 'Shapers'. 10 days thereafter, I got to do a music video (Collosus). A few days later, I was offered a serial titled Hip Hip Hurray- Part 2. And since then there has been no looking back.

Thereafter, I did Dollar Bahu, Astitva, Kehta Hai Dil and Khichdi. Ekta saw me in Khichdi and Kehta Hai Dil, and called me for Kahaani Terri Merri (KTM) but unfortunately the serial didn't do well. Later, she called me for Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii. Lately, I did Mansha too.


But now you are no more seen in Mansha?

I left Mansha. My contract was for 64 episodes. Mansha has now tuned into a daily. Originally, it was not. So it was difficult for me to handle two dailies at a time.


Have you had any formal training in acting?

No. My audition, portfolio, first ad, music video, serials - all happened so quickly and one after the other that it didn't leave me with any time for acting classes.


Why did KTM flop so badly? Were you disappointed that it was taken off abruptly?

Of course I was disappointed. But I wouldn't be the right person to comment on why it didn't do well or why it was taken off air. Anyways, people are quite liking its re-runs nowadays. Tastes change with time, I guess.

"Most of the characters on television are not realistic but make-believe"

You consider KGGK as your biggest break?

I started getting noticed from the days I played Mellisa in Khichdi and Tara in KTM. But yes, this being a bigger serial because of its high viewership and my role is central as I play Om and Parvati's daughter, KGGK can be termed as my biggest break.


Do you think that KGGK needed to jump 18-years ahead?

Definitely. People may have been watching it because it had become a habit. But how long could that have bound the audience? New characters and tracks were needed. People were tired and a certain amount of freshness was lacking.

Generation X in the serial gives ample scope to satisfy those requirements. Earlier the viewers mostly comprised mothers, fathers and grandparents. But with this 18 year leap and the fresh plot even the youngsters have started watching it.


Do you identify with your character Shruti in the serial?

Frankly, most of the characters on television are not realistic but make-believe. But I am lucky to have got a role which is not unreal. Almost all youngsters would identify with my role- getting misled by friends, lying a bit to their parents, etc.

Because of this, I am very close to my character. Among the Generation X, I play the character which is closest to life. This is a fact. I am 24 but haven't forgotten the days when I wanted to go to a discotheque and my mom used to hit the roof. Even when I was allowed and if I smelt of smoke and alcohol when I returned, I used to be given a piece of her mind. I never smoked or drank, but you know how claustrophobic the environment is at discotheques. You may not indulge in cigarettes and alcohol, but you invariably smell of these things when you come back home.


Does your equation with your mum and dad in your teenage days contribute in the emanation of the portrayal?

I haven't forgotten that I was allowed to go only four times in a month and had to return before midnight. I haven't forgotten those days of peer pressure, lies... when I had assumed that my mom could never become my friend.

I used to get blank and crank calls and my mom didn't believe that I didn't know who was calling me. I have a huge generation gap with my parents; my elder brother is 14 years elder to me! All those memories come rolling back when I see my role so close to my real life, or say, any teenager's real life. So, it helps a lot. I have had no problem in getting into the skin of the character in any scene, till now at least.


Is it intimidating to work with experienced actors like Dipak Qazir, Kiran Karmarkar and Sakshi Tanwar?

Not at all. On the contrary, each one of them guides the younger lot and makes us very comfortable. More importantly, their talent rubs on us. I automatically get the right expression if the seniors are in the same frame.

I might err once in a while. For instance, remember that police station scene where I have been arrested and my father too lands up there, looking for my mom? After that scene came on air, I got 'n' number of calls and messages that I'd given the perfect expression of being very scared while looking at my father. Guess how it came about? All credit goes to Kiran Karmarkar. He gave me such a look that I literally became a petrified chicken!


How is it working with Sakshi Tanwar as most of your scenes are with her? How do you address her?

Initially, I hadn't opened up much with her. It was just a 'Hi' or maybe just a smile. Let's face it. The seniors have been on this serial for three long years. How can you expect them to open up immediately to a youngster in a short period of time? But lately, the ice is breaking. I have always addressed her as Sakshi. There is no 'ji' added. She is not old.

There is some 'rona-dhona' in your character. How often do you use glycerin?

Not always. Glycerin is used when I am either tired or in a hurry. Otherwise, crying is no big deal. This is also because I am close to the character. Therefore, the plot and the scenes are real to me.
"I automatically get the right expression if the seniors are in the same frame"

Some youngsters believe that directors should enact the scene while explaining...

(interrupts). I disagree. It is enough for the director to explain your character and the situation. If you are tuned in, there is no reason why he should enact.


Many youngsters find it difficult to memorise the lines given to them...

(interrupts) I don't. And I don't believe in turning the lines and saying it in my own way always. There are several occasions where one has to say exactly what has been written on the sheet given to you, else the scene would be diluted.

How does the Shruti character in KGGK shape up from here?

She gets into big problems but learns from her mistakes. But if you are asking me about the length of my role, it would depend upon the public response.

Does Ekta Kapoor give an encouraging phone-call or SMS, at times?

Often. She keeps in touch saying things like, 'You are doing a great job, Keep it up'. There is a huge myth about how Ekta Kapoor is, which even I had once upon a time. But let me tell you, she is easily accessible. I can SMS or call her anytime I feel that I am not able to understand or do a particular shot.


You are also doing Khichdi, and you were doing Mansha until recently, how did you shuttle between the three serials? Wasn't it tough?

I was on Star, Sony and Zee. That feeling gave me an unbelievable high. So I never lost the spark to get up from my bed and be as fresh as a daisy every day.


Are you looking at television as a full-time career?

Hmmm... I am one who lives life by the day. Whatever work comes my way, I will put my best foot forward.


Do you see yourself doing movies?

Yes. I want to do meaningful films like Daman, Astitva and Chandni Bar. I don't want to dance around trees. In fact, I am doing a film (untitled as yet) directed by Sanjay Upadhyay (who directed serials like Saaya, Aatish, Tum Pukar Lo and Hum Pardesi Ho Gaye). The film also has Sayaji Shinde and Sachin Khedekar. It's an encounter cop thriller. I play the female lead.

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