‘I feel more creatively connected with cinema’

‘I feel more creatively connected with cinema’

By Taru Bhatia | | 5 August, 2017
acting debut, Sasural Genda Phool, Actress Ragini Khanna, Gurgaon, Bollywood, films, TV, Pankaj Tripathy, Shalini Vatsa, Mai Laxmi Tere Angan Ki
Ragini Khanna.
Actress Ragini Khanna became popular after her she was featured in the famous soup opera Sasural Genda Phool. Since then there is no looking back for her. Now, after her spell of sheer hard work and dedication, she is eyeing Bollywood success, with her upcoming movie Gurgaon. She speaks to Taru Bhatia about her journey from TV to films.

Q. Your acting debut was with Radha ki Betiyan Kuch Kar Dikhaengi. How did acting happen for you?

A. Honestly, I wanted to pursue singing as a career but then I didn’t know how to approach people for getting singing assignments. I did a job at a call centre, got some pictures done, started auditioning for different roles. In first year I got a role in Radha Ki Betiyan Kuch Kar Dikhaengi and now there is no looking back ever.

Q.  You have done different genre roles on television, like Suhana in Sasural Genda Phool, or the cameo in Mai Laxmi Tere Angan Ki, as well as on Comedy Nights with Kapil among other shows. So do you think you have explored the world of TV fully?

A. Yes, I have done everything on television from singing to dancing to acting. Until and unless I am offered any good role or script... I think I’ve done everything on television.

Q. In 2011, you made your debut in films. And now another one of your films, by Shankar Raman film, is soon to be out. How different is it working in a film from working for TV?

A. Cinema is a different medium, it’s a different language and television is different. I think cinema is a better place to work in because I feel more connected creatively with the people around; because I’ve grown up in a world of cinema, and in a film family. Television is something I never understood. Cinema is home.

Q. So your role in Gurgaon is very emotional and daring. You are playing a daughter. What was the reason you took up this role?

A. I have played women who are very strong even in television before, women who stand up for themselves. And the reason I chose Gurgaon was because of the director and the script. There is no reason for me to go for a film unless and until I like the script and the director.

Q. Can you tell me about your character in the movie Gurgaon?

A. My character’s name is Preet. She has come from Paris. She is an architect and she has been brought up in a  family of goons. They are into things which are legally not accepted by society. She understands the power of her work and the repercussions it can have if she says something and does not have any sense of entitlement. She is very mature, silent in a very introvert sense. Her emotions are more felt than spoken.

Q. Was there any moment in the film that made you feel that this character is in some way attached to you?

A. This is the closest in that sense to whatever I have ever portrayed on camera.

Q. How was it working with Shankar Raman?

A. It was a delightful experience. Shankar is one of the most inspiring people I’ve met and a much evolved human being who has a very sensitive approach in everything he does, whether he deals with people or the way he operates his life. He is one of the nicest people I’ve met in the industry.

Q. There were other actors also like Pankaj Tripathy, Shalini Vatsa and many more. How was it working with the whole team?

A. They are such brilliant actors and they are even lovely as human beings because they are so evolved and very accepting. You cannot be a good actor without having a good understanding of life. Just being around them and working with them is wonderful. You give your best and not only that, everybody has given their best. You are in such a good environment that it becomes a productive space to be in and creatively sound.

Q. How do you view competition in Bollywood?

A. I don’t understand all of that. I am just concerned about my film and everything else is not important for me. For me, more important is my film.

Q. Today, most actors are seen juggling between TV and films. Do you think there is no such barrier for a television actor to work in films as compared to the time when we could hardly see television actors breaking the mould?

A. There are so many actors, like Vidya Balan, Shahrukh Khan, who have done television roles before. I don’t get the perception. I think an artist is an artist and a director is a director, it’s just that you learn the language and you do the part. Breaking these stereotypes is like growing a plant through concrete.

Q. How was your journey when you shifted from television to films? Was it easy to make the transition?

A. Firstly, to break the perception of being a TV actor, it was quite challenging. I love television, it has given me everything and I completely acknowledge that. At the same time for filmmakers to see me as other than my persona, as a TV star, as a bubbly, happy, beautiful heroin; to get rid of that I really had to transform the way I thought. When I am doing television I am thinking television and when I am doing cinema I am thinking cinema. If you don’t change yourself, people will not be able to see the change. And if they don’t see that, they will not cast you.

Q. What is the big difference you now feel after your entire phase of struggle, and all the typecasting you have been subjected to?

A. I have become very calm as a person. I think the gregariousness of being a 19 year old, when I entered the industry and after that, the whole impulsiveness, is gone. It’s good because I have seen a lot of hard work. I have seen both the extremes of the spectrum. Right from testing for a part, from being nobody, to winning all the awards in the industry. I have seen it all. After winning all the awards in television and then again starting as a newcomer in cinema. So I have come to the conclusion that life is very important and acting is my career. It’s my profession. But life is beyond all of this.

Q. Many actors in television or cinema are now experiment with new media, with web series. Would you be willing to do the same, if you get a good opportunity?

A. No, unless and until there is one of my favourite directors who is directing it. Otherwise, no web series as of now. It all depends on the content and the director.

Q. What do you like best in television, doing a soap operas or reality shows?

A. I can’t choose. I like acting. So yes, you can say I prefer soap operas.

Q. Is there any particular actor or director you want to work with?

A. I wish to work with Shimit Amin, because I really love his work.

Q. You have won several awards in television industry like “Best Bahu” and many more. So how was your experience getting that first award of your life?

A. After combating all the odds and being at a space where you actually get the acknowledgment in the form of a award, it does not feel much in the moment but when you go out there and the audiences love you, that’s the real trophy.

Q. Has it ever happened to you that you went out and people called you by your character’s name? A. It always happens. I feel that I have touched people’s life in a nice way. It feels fortunate because you want to be in that space now and when you are there you must have gratitude and I have immense gratitude towards everything in life.

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