'Today's actors have no recall value'

It was 2002 when I did my first TV serial and this is 2012; it has been exactly 10 years,” says the small screen actress Rakshanda Khan, who is often remembered for her character of Mallika in popular serial Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin and Tanya in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.

As she grabs a meaty role in Sahara One’s show Jhilmil Sitaron ka Aangan Hoga, Rakshanda talks to Metrolife about her debut on the small screen, the journey so far and the difficulties of working in TV.

“I come from a highly conservative family where girls go to only girl school,” shares Rakshanda on being asked about her family’s reaction on her choice of career. A former model, Rakshanda confesses, “Girls in my family were forbidden to foray into the world of modelling. So, when I ventured into this field, they were literally up in arms and when I entered television, they thought that I had lost it!”

But this did not become a deterrent and she continued working for TV. Rakshanda, however, always upheld her ethics. “I have always tried to not to break their (my family’s) trust. Post the creation of this trust, they have always been supportive and my decisions have since been accepted well.”

Henceforth, she didn’t plan, but just followed the path that destiny designed for her. “When I got into TV, it was unplanned. So was the case when I accepted the character of Mallika in Jassi... and Tanya in Kyunki.... Any character that I did after that wasn’t a thought out process simply because television industry doesn’t give an actor the liberty to plan. Unlike films, unfortunately TV doesn’t give you the same scope of acting also. When you sign a show, you don’t know if six months down the line it is going to be humongous or will fizzle out,” she says.

Still she didn’t switch to films unlike her contemporaries. Rakshanda feels, “It is better to be a decently big actor on the small screen than being an indecently small actor on the big screen. I have been lucky that even my camoes have been appreciated by the viewers.”

Such as her cameo in the popular mythological serial Mahadev? “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity.” And a complete contrast is her role of Jhilmil in Jhilmil... “Jhilmil as a character has so many layers and one cannot fully comprehend her because she makes you keep thinking what is she going to do next.”

This journey though interesting so far has made her realise that the biggest drawback of working in television are the chances of burning out early. “When you are working for 25 hours in a day, it is an extreme burnout. TV is such an industry that either you work round the clock or there is an absolute lull. In these 10 years, from the actors to the content, everything has suffered because of burnout.”

Is that the reason why senior actors have given way to newbies? “Today’s young actors might be fabulous but they have no recall value. None creates a lasting impression,” she says with great insight.

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