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'I even opted for uni-brows, tattoos and no make-up to look authentic': Apara Mehta

Thursday, January 10, 2019
By Chaitanya Padukone

Veteran yet evergreen theatre-stage, films and TV exuberant actress Apara Mehta who has featured in a variety of impactful characters in TV shows right from the iconic saas-bahu soap ‘Kyu Ki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’ to the recent comedy ‘Bakula Bua Ka Bhoot’ is now portraying an unusual ethnic character in the ongoing popular devotional show ‘Mere Sai’ every Monday to Friday at 7 pm on Sony TV. The articulate Apara, who is also a trained classical danseuse and singer, opens up to The Afternoon D&C in a candid chat. Excerpts:

What made you grab this striking role in ‘Mere Sai’?
As a staunch devotee, I believe a lot in Sai Baba, even my family does. I fast every Thursday. I personally feel that my firm belief in him got me to be a part of this Sony TV show. So when I was offered this show, I immediately accepted it. But it was only later that I realized, that this would be a realistic period drama.

What else would you like viewers to know about your kaafi hatke role?
Well, I found it quite challenging to play the grey-shades role of Shanta Buwa in ‘Mere Sai’. Shanta Buwa is Jhipari’s aunty, and she is very money-minded. Shanta’s financial condition is deplorable and out-of-majboori for earning money, she turns into a marriage-broker. It’s the first time I’m playing an ethnic Maharashtrian woman’s role also wearing a typical nav-vaari (nine yards) saree.

Any special prep that you went thru for the ethnic period ‘look’ of your character?
Frankly, I was very excited initially about wearing Navari Sari and Nath (nose ring) basically dressing up in a typical Maharashtrian attire. But I figured out that I was not supposed to wear any of the traditional jewellery or extravagant clothing as I play the role of a poor woman. So we decided that I will not be using makeup at all. I also opted to have a ‘uni-brow’ and traditional tattoos on forehead and chin in order to bring authenticity to my convincing look.

Wasn’t it an identity crisis that deviated from your glam style-icon image?
Hmm, that’s right. It was quite disheartening to remove all my diamond earrings and rings, remove all my fancy colour nail polish . I am basically known for glamorous Indian roles and people expect me to be that way. But then that was the demand of the character—so one just can’t compromise. But now all my loyal fans are complimenting me on my new image-defying look

Your frank ‘take’ on the impact of a flood of web-series versus the TV medium?
The digital web-series storm is phenomenal but it’s mostly individual solo-viewing on cell-phones or lap-tops. Watching TV shows with your family or with friends on the telly-screen has its own magic and nothing can kill it.. Secondly, web-viewing of bold explicit content is more urban- youth-centric. Whereas the vast majority of rural audiences will always be hooked on to TV sets.

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