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It was iconic ‘Anarkali’, who selected me: Sonarika Bhadoria

Thursday, October 25, 2018
By Chaitanya Padukone

Stunningly pretty film and TV actress Sonarika Bhadoria became immensely popular as ‘Goddess Parvati’ in the mythological TV show ‘Devon Ke Dev Mahadev’ and much later as ‘Queen Mrinalvati’, in the TV series ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ . This time charismatic Sonarika is playing the coveted lead role of the quintessential danseuse-beauty ‘Anarkali’ in the ongoing popular mega daily Colors TV show ‘Dastaan-E-Mohabbat—Salim Anarkali’ helmed by super-talented director Anirudh Pathak. The epic-saga historical is being aired daily from Monday to Friday in the 8.30 pm time slot on Colors TV. Afternoon D&C had a vibrant chat with Sonarika. Excerpts:

What is your new historical TV show all about?
As is evident from the intriguing title, ‘Dastaan-E-Mohabbat--Salim Anarkali ’ narrates the legendary essay of charming, charismatic royal Mughal Prince Salim (played by debonair Shaheer Sheikh) and the beautiful, graceful, bubbly kaneez-courtesan Anarkali (played by me) who challenged  orthodox social norms and chose to valiantly fight for her ‘rebellious, yet true love’.

When you knew that you had been ‘singled out’ to play ‘Anarkali’, how did you react?
It was an ecstatic feeling--too good to be true. Not just me, my parents, my grandmother, all the elders seemed so thrilled. For them, I would be playing the character made ‘immortal’ on the big-screen by the ethereal beauty legendary actress Madhubala. Coming back to the selection process, there were numerous female artistes who also auditioned for the same title role. But I guess it was character ‘Anarkali’ with all her tantalizing mystique, who selected me (smiles with a shrug).

Have you taken references from Madhubala’s role in Mughal-E-Azam?
No, not really. Our show ‘Dastaan’ is a ‘fresh new take’ on the nuances of the Salim-Anarkali love-saga. Although, I have definitely seen the classic ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ many times in the past, and was enthralled by Madhubala, I have ‘not’ watched it recently. Our director Anirudh-Sir and his creative team and the Colors channel have a dynamic vision and we are executing it accordingly. Even eminent ‘art director’ Omung Kumar and his wife Vanita have innovatively designed the opulent ‘Sheesh Mahal’ and the ‘Harem’. Our epic-saga with its authentic Mughal grandeur is being shot more like a historical ‘movie’ with the latest hi-tech creative technology.

Are you confident performing the classical ‘dance sequences’ as ‘Anarkali’?
Yes, I have faith in my own graceful body-language. Besides learning correct Urdu diction for reciting shaayris, I am already taking regular Kathak dance lessons for the past six weeks. Surely, I will put my ‘best ( dancing) foot forward’

There are stalwart names in the cast …..
That’s right. Our magnum opus ‘Dastaan…’ boasts of an ensemble cast with veteran actor Shahbaaz Khan essaying the role of ‘Shahenshah Akbar’, Gurdeep Kohli Punjj as ‘Jodha’ while Aruna Irani is cast as ‘Hamida Begum’. Popular TV faces Piyush Sahdev, Tasneem Sheikh and Parvati Sehgal will also be part of this rebellious love drama.

You seem to be consciously avoiding ‘saas-bahu’ telly dramas?
As I mentioned earlier, I often feel that historic TV characters select me, instead of me hunting for a role. Generally, in regressive 'saas-bahu' sagas or mushy romantic soaps, you rarely get to watch a beautiful, intelligent yet gutsy female protagonist. It’s mostly in historicals and mythologicals that one gets to see such author-backed female characters, isn’t it ?

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