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Off-screen, many people fail to recognize me as ‘Ammaji’: Meghna Malik

Tuesday, November 07, 2017
By Chaitanya Padukone

The widely watched volatile social drama fiction TV show ‘Na Ana Iss Des Laado’  has returned in its second edition avataar. This time it’s called ‘Laado – Veerpur Ki Mardaani’ which premiered  yesterday, November 6, and will air every Monday to Friday at 9.30 pm on Colors. Back in action is charismatic Meghna Malik who reprises her fiery, dominating yet revered cardinal character ‘Ammaji’. Interestingly, Meghna, who portrays the stern, aggressive image on-screen, is a delight to converse with in real life. Articulate, erudite with a sense of witty humour, she could make an ideal TV chat-show host. Excerpts from the conversation which The Afternoon D&C had with the senior actress Meghna, who is still young-at-heart!

Was it difficult re-connecting with your ‘Ammaji’ character after a long hiatus of five years?
Not really. That’s because, in this second edition of ‘Laado’, my strong unpredictable character ‘Ammaji’  is quite different in mind, body and (‘get-up’) appearance. Honestly, I feel as if I am doing a totally fresh new project which does not have its prequel. In the previous outing, being the victim of a certain mindset, she was not in favour of a ‘girl child’. This time around – in living up to the ‘mardaani’ theme, will be seen championing the cause of women empowerment even as she is addressing sensitive issues of women’s dignity, safety and rights. The focus of the entertaining show will also be on the current nation-wide mission ‘beti bachaao, beti padhaao’.
Tell us something more about the show and your character.                                                                                                                        
Set in contemporary times, the story opens in Delhi where ‘Ammaji’, has given up her volatile past and is living a sedentary retired life in Delhi with her two loving granddaughters. However, a twist of fate hijacks them to Veerpur  (in Haryana) which is now a grim place full of notoriety, blood and violence. The show will also feature the popular Avika Gor (of ‘Balika Vadhu’ fame) as Anushka whose firm belief in law weaves together the colourful threads of this narrative along with Palak Jain cast as her sister, Janvi. These two charming girls play the roles of ‘grand-daughters’.

Does your stern, fiery ‘Ammaji’ image serve as an advantage in real life?
Definitely, it does help. In the sense, people are generally scared to mess with me or provoke me (laughs). Conversely,  I also face an intriguing  ‘identity crisis’ when off-screen they see me clad in trendy Indo-western outfits, and chilling out with friends or while I am at the airports. Most people stare in disbelief wondering whether I am the same ethnic fire-brand  ‘Ammaji’.  

Meghna as 'Ammaji'  in Laado-Veerpur ki Mardaani

Your fans wish to know why you prefer short-hair or ‘pixie’ styles ?  
Somehow, I have always loved sporting short hair-cuts. Not only that, it also suits my face and ‘pretty tough’ personality. Neither am I a person who off-screen spends too much time on my hair and make-up, nor am I one of those actresses who spends hours together at spas and beauty parlours. Actually I don’t have that kind of sit-thru patience. At the same time, I cannot deny the mandatory importance of ‘make-up’ in my acting profession. For me feeling ‘fit’ and being disciplined and devoted to ‘fitness’ is the key to real beauty.

Off-screen, are you a die-hard romantic?
(Laughed) Within my heart, I am a romantic person, but then life teaches you to be more practical and pragmatic. Neither am I a ‘party-animal’, nor do I socialise very often. Only my inner circle of close friends know me in my ‘true colours’. As an actress, I am a thorough professional. Qualities like courtesy, patience, tender care and concern in people appeal to me.

Since you are so good at dialogues and human interactions, would hosting a TV talk-show excite you?                                                                                                                                     
Of course, I would love to host a vibrant talk show in Hindi or English. Even meander into the Haryanvi lingo, which had become so popular pan-India, thanks to our own  ‘Laado’ prequel show. It will be a great learning experience for me as well.

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