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'Our entertaining show blends stark-reality with fiction': Girija Oak

Thursday, November 29, 2018
By Chaitanya Padukone

As one of the shows in the popular flagship KBC time slot, Sony TV has now flagged off this common-woman daily commuter-centric ‘re-invented’ content TV show. The show titled ‘Ladies Special’ brings forth the journey of three distinctly different female personalities, belonging to diverse socio-economic backgrounds, who happen to meet each other on a ‘ladies special’ local train. The lead cast comprises Girija Oak, (as a Maharashtrian), Bijal Joshi (as a Gujarati) and Chhavvi Pandey (as a North Indian). Produced by Optimystix, the Ladies Special show on Sony TV has premiered on Nov 27 and will air every Mon-Fri at 9:30 pm. The Afternoon D&C had a lively chat with the acclaimed charming actress Girija Oak. Excerpts from the conver-session:

Finally, after so many years ‘Ladies Special’ got its ‘return ticket’ and is now back on ‘track’?
(Laughs) Yes, that’s so true and I guess, family audiences really deserved an entertaining TV show like ‘Ladies Special’ which beautifully blends stark-reality with sentimental fiction. Even in its past season, years ago, stalwart stars like Neena Gupta had made the relatable ‘content’ more watchable.

Were you waiting for a show like this to make your Hindi telly-debut?
Exactly. Honestly, I am not fascinated with the costume-dramas or the clichéd saas-bahu melodramas, although they are popular. This female-centric realistic show was an ideal Hindi TV debut for me. It was as if the Maharashtrian lower middle-class working-woman character of ‘Meghna Nikade’ was tailor-made for me.

What does your exuberant screen-character represent?
My multi-tasking character ‘Meghna’ represents the everyday struggles of a working woman, a hardworking wife and a mother. While she was raised in a lower middle class set up where dreams and aspirations were always measured and limited, she is determined to provide the best for her children and make them ‘achievers’, although her family income is limited.

If you were asked to play the Gujju-accented ‘friendly’ character ‘Bindu’ would you still grab it?
Surely, why not. Being a hard-core drama-theatre-actress, I love to leap out of my ‘comfort-zone’. For that matter, I can read and speak Gujarati-language fluently and I have acted in Gujarati plays as well. Off-screen, I speak in Gujju lingo with my co-star Bijal Joshi who plays ‘Bindu’

Do you still keep in touch with your ‘Taare Zameen Par..’ co-star Aamir Khan ?
Hmm, once in a while, yes and we meet occasionally at events. When there is some good role which he feels I should audition for,  he informs me. Actually, I was among those artistes who had auditioned for Aamir’s young wife’s role in ‘Dangal’. Ultimately, they cast Saakshi Tanwar,  whom I felt was the right choice for the grown-up daughters and she put in a brilliant authentic performance.

You have never tried to barge into Hindi movies and Hindi TV ?
There seems to be a wrong perception that Hindi movies or TV shows are like a ‘step-up’ or some sort of a ‘promotion’. Language has never been a concern for me because I have full confidence in my versatile acting talent and capabilities. My iconic idol is Hollywood actress Meryl Streep. Frankly, I can never ‘market’ myself and coax people to ‘work-with-me’. Even my dad Girish Oak who is such an eminent senior showbiz personality, never used his contacts to recommend me for getting work because he wanted me to be self-reliant.

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