No end to learning

On Small screen

No end to learning

Her innocent Punjabi looks made men swoon in the 80s. After her stint in Bollywood, actress Poonam Dhillon is enchanting her fans on the small screen with her new soap ‘Ekk Nayi Pehchaan’, writes Shama Bhagat

After completing a successful innings in Bollywood, Poonam Dhillon is seen essaying the role of a mother-in-law in the daily soap Ekk Nayi Pehchaan on Sony TV. Looking as fresh and gorgeous as ever, the actress is quite keen on her first tryst with a television soap.

Even today, Poonam can attract many with her drop-dead gorgeous looks and limpid eyes. Speak about the glow on her face and the actress smiles warmly and says, “I have always believed that internal happiness reflects on your face. I have been through a lot of ups and downs, but have always looked at the brighter side of life and moved on.”

Tryst with TV

Poonam has had a successful stint on television with a show titled Kittie Party, and was also seen in the third season of the TV reality show Bigg Boss earlier. The actress reveals the lesser-known fact that Ekk Nayi Pehchaan is not her debut venture. “I debuted on television way back in 1995 in a series called Andaz. It was produced by Himesh Reshammiya, who was just 19 years old. I have been evolving myself constantly through various mediums. I have also done theatre. I was the first actress to have my own website, though I don’t update it anymore. I have been a current forerunner for a lot of things. I had also started a portal Star Yaar Kalakaar. And now I am doing a daily soap. It’s a whole new ball game. It’s taxing and energising at the same time,” says Poonam.  

She goes on to add, “I have done a whole lot of things in my life. I was an entertainment editor in Zee. My friends always say that I have packed in a lot in my life.”

When asked about her choosing this particular serial, Poonam says, “Athough I received a lot of offers, I didn’t think the timing was right. My kids were in school, and so I stopped myself from doing a daily soap, as it requires a lot of time. But now that they’ve grown up, I decided to take up the offer and this was an interesting character. Everything fell into place.”

Speaking more about her character in Ekk Nayi Pehchaan, Poonam says, “I play a semi-literate mother-in-law belonging to a rich Gujarati family. She is a positive character and in her own philosophy has derived a lot from her simple life. She’s simple but smart and worldly.”

The character we hear is loosely based on Sridevi’s character in English Vinglish. But Poonam explains, “You can’t really compare my character to her, but there are similar shades. I have always been a great admirer of Sridevi. I feel she’s magical on screen. But I relate a lot to the character. Like her, I came from a small town, Chandigarh, and had no connection with the film industry. I was shy, but being a keen learner, I educated myself over time.

I gained confidence and knowledge from the work I was doing. I was in Class 10 when Yash Chopra offered me my first film Trishul. After winning the Miss India title at the age of 16, I resumed my studies. I came third in the university. I also appeared for the UPSC exams, as I wanted to join the Indian Forest Services. But God had some other plans for me. I got busy with films and could not pursue further studies. I was destined to be in films.”

New identity

Just as her character in Ekk Nayi Pehchaan, Poonam feels that education plays an important part in life. Poonam is doing her MBA along with her acting career. “I have always updated myself with changing times. I did a computer course when I was doing films. People in my class would wonder what I was doing there. I wanted to study, so decided to take it up.  Since my children are also studying, I felt it was the best time to burn the midnight oil. I think age does not matter when it comes to education, and I hope I clear my exams!” she adds.

With over 50 hit films to her credit, Poonam says that a lot has changed over the years in the film industry. “Change is inevitable. I did films Noorie, Sohni Mahiwal, Dard, Nishaan, Savare wali Gaadi and Samunder. I didn’t know how to act. All I did in my first film Trishul was sing Gapuchi Gapuchi gam gam — that was all the dance I knew. All you had to do was to look beautiful, but I constantly worked hard on my characters.

Earlier, it was difficult to get noticed. Now there is television, you can connect through social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Heroines these days have to work harder. They not only have to look good, but also take care of their physique. I was an athlete in my school and college days, so my fitness levels were automatically good. We didn’t have to work out so much,” she informs.  

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