Role model

Role model

Telly talk

In today’s world where troubles haunt us every second, feel-good films have, more often than not, been a box office hit.

Inspiring : Mitali Nag in ‘Afsar Bitiya’.

The scene in the Indian television industry is no different. Shows where good wins over evil and everyone returns home happy are the ones which are increasingly climbing up the popularity charts. Producer Rakesh Paswan’s Afsar Bitiya, which airs on Zee TV, is the latest example.

The story of a young girl from Bhagalpur village in Bihar, this show is about how Krishna Raj’s grit and determination helps her cross all obstacles to become a civil services officer.

She burns the midnight oil to study, fights with parents who are not too keen on her higher education, struggles against all odds and finally proves to the world that if you have the will, you can find the way.

Understandably, a lot of Indian television viewers, bogged down by corruption and insurmountable hurdles, will be able to relate to the story. And perhaps, take a lesson or two from it as well.

Explains Mitali Nag, the debutante actress who plays Krishna Raaj in Afsar Bitiya, “Living Krishna Raj’s character on screen has taught me a lot. I have always been confident about what I can and cannot do. But Krishna’s journey has definitely made me a more disciplined person.”

In an age when family dramas mostly call the shots, how did the idea behind this serial, about the trials and tribulations of a civil services-aspirant, come about?

Producer Rakesh Paswan explains, “My sister is a BDO in Jharkhand. I have seen how hard she worked to get through her exams and I have always encouraged her to pursue her education and career. I remember I had arranged to send her to Delhi for special classes for the exam.

Finally, when she got through, the whole family atmosphere had changed. I could feel the immense joy and pride in my parents. That made me think and I began to explore how best I can narrate this story on television: a story of hard work, the importance of education and how success comes only after hard work. Thus, Afsar Bitiya was conceptualised.”

Zeroing in on someone who could portray the role of Krishna Raaj was the biggest challenge. The actress had to have an innocent look, yet appear determined, and of course, be a fresh face.

Mitali Nag was finally selected to play the lead role after a long search. The dusky actress recounts, “I was visiting my hometown, Nagpur, when I suddenly got a call from the casting director of the show. He wanted some footage for an audition.

I did not have the equipment to shoot a proper audition, so I used a handycam, shot for the audition and uploaded it on YouTube!”

Apparently, the video on YouTube was shown to the director and the broadcaster, both of whom agreed upon her.

Subsequently, Mitali was called to Mumbai for the final test. “Here, I had to audition with seven guys who were also vying for the male lead’s role.

In this scene, I had to play wife to seven of them. I felt like I had beaten Draupadi in the process!” says Mitali in a lighter vein.

But this audition was an interesting twist in Mitali’s tale, who had initially wanted to become a musician. She had even formed her all-girl band, interestingly named Teen Musketranis! “I have participated in musical reality shows on television.

However, in the last few years, my interest has been more towards theatre. I became a regular in the theatre circuit. So, when I got selected for Afsar Bitiya, it was like a dream come true,” says the lady who is being hounded by her fans and the media alike ever since her show has been on air.

Such shows may appear insignificant, but they have the tremendous potential to slowly and steadily change the mindset of our people. Let’s hope Afsar Bitiya is no exception.

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