Television actress Divyanka Tripathi, who shot to fame with the show Banoo Main Teri Dulhan in 2006, speaks to Guardian 20 about her fruitful career in the Indian entertainment industry.
Q. You made your TV debut in 2006 with the show Banoo Main Teri Dulhan. Now, after more than a decade, you are one of the most successful actresses on the small screen. How would you define your journey?
A. I always wanted to learn and explore more options. I joined NCC in college, but I found the learning repetitive. That was the time I had reached a saturation point because I was doing nothing new. That’s how I decided to venture into the glamour industry.
I started with modelling, I did many TV commercials. Then I got into acting-based reality shows, one was for ZEE TV and one was Sahara One and I participated in both, that’s how I finally got into acting. For sometime I also tried to do theatre in Bhopal [her hometown]. The city is very famous for theatre, but I could not continue, because every time I would go for a play, some assignment would come along. So I never explored the theatre scene in Bhopal, but directly entered into acting.
I got offers from different shows. Some production houses saw my telefilm and I got an offer for Piya Ka Ghar in which I had to replace some actor. I was confident, though with no experience. I didn’t want to be a replacement actor. So, I did not replace the lead actress, I waited for something better. When I got the call for Zee TV’s show Banoo Main Teri Dulhan, the entire wait paid off.
I was called all the way from Bhopal for an audition. I just gave it a try and I was surprised when I bagged the role. That’s how I got my first role for the small screen. Next surprise was that my character, Vidya, in the show had became too famous. They said everybody knows Vidya so you cannot play anything else. For a very long time, I didn’t have work.
Then I did a comedy show just to have a change of flavour, so that people could see me differently. After the comedy show, they said she is a comic face, so we cannot take her. But I kept auditioning, I kept my hopes high, stayed positive and then I got Yeh Hai Mohabbatein.
Q. How was the experience of being a part of comedy shows like Mrs. & Mr Sharma Allahabadwaleand Chintu Chinki Aur Ek Badi Si Love Story?
A. It is really tough to do comedy. But once you have done comedy, playing a dramatic or romantic role, or doing a thriller is a cakewalk. You become a pro with spontaneity and timing while doing comedy. It teaches you so much about acting. I salute all the comic actors who don’t get their due. I feel they are actually playing an important part on Indian TV.
Q. How do you think Yeh Hai Mohabbatein (YHM)paved the path to success for you?
A. When I got Yeh Hai Mohabbatein, by then people had forgotten I had done two shows earlier and they termed it as my comeback after eight years. But I was working in between…
My character in the show, Ishita, has been such a lovely character… I am lucky to have got this character, now when my fans call me an expression queen, I actually thank YHM because if it weren’t for this show then yeh talent kis kaam ka [this talent would have been of no use]. YHM has been a great school for me.
Q. Trolling celebrities on social media is common these days. How do you react to trolls?
A. Some people feel suppressed; they don’t have the liberty to say what they want to say in their real lives. So they need a place where they can vent out their anger and negativity, and social media gives them that platform, and celebrities are the softest targets.
I wish they [trolls] understood that when they say anything baseless against us, it doesn’t just hurt us but it also hurts our families’ sentiments. At times it shakes our core, at times it disturbs relationships. Judgments should not be passed. They should re-consider.
As far as dealing with trolls is concerned, I don’t get affected by them now. I answer back to these people, I make sure no wrong information gets out and circulates. I give out the facts and then it is their take whether they want to accept it or not.
Q. You have been crticised for your outfit choices in the past. But of late, we’ve seen a drastic change in your fashion sense. What brought about this change?
A. I love experimenting with my dresses, it’s just that I don’t get enough time, proper guidance and that kind of exposure because I am a very simple middle class girl at heart. I come from Bhopal, and our city has never been fashion driven, so I never had any exposure to brands and fashion. So it’s all quite new for me even now. Keeping up with the trends is a challenge for me, so I am learning and trying to improve. I want to be seen in a different light but not so different that it changes my personality.
Q. Despite being a big name in the television industry, what keeps you grounded?
A. May be I have seen too much. I have been through lots of different phases. So when you have seen so much, you kind of become grounded and yes, it has worked for me… I feel it’s important for every person to experience different phases of life, because when I feel that I have achieved everything in life, I always see my self on the ground. I feel a person should never let fame or success go to their head because what you havetoday might not be there tomorrow.
Q. You haven’t yet been seen on the big screen. Are you planning that big shift to Bollywood anytime in the near future?
A. Of course, if I get a breakthrough. I don’t want to do only glamorous roles, the role has to be meaty, needs to challenge me… The role needs to excite me and make me nervous, only then would it be worth it. I see myself as Akshay Kumar’s heroine one day. I have loved all his films.