Growing by character

Growing by character

There was a time when her fans awaited her on-screen presence in Kutumb and Kyun Ki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. Then, in a romance straight out of a film script, she fell in love with her co-actor Hiten Tejwani and married him.

She concentrated on her family life and had twins. A brief appearance in Nach Baliye (with her husband) had the audience saying yeh dil maange more. But she continued to stay out of media glare.

Gauri Pradhan, the pretty actress who shot to fame with her portrayal of Nandini in Kyunki Saans Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, is back on television. This time with a show called Meri Aashique Tum Se Hi, on Colors. If that has not made headlines, her role will. She plays the mother of a teenager in the serial.
“It has been more than five years since I have been away from work. I found the role tempting. And the production house is Balaji, which is my second home.”

In real life, Gauri is the mother of twins Katya and Neevan, who are four years old. And, as a dutiful mother, she put forward a few conditions before signing up for the show. “I always make it a point to spend more time with my kids. I am extremely grateful to my parents who stay in Pune, who are always around to take care of them.”

It will be surprising to see Gauri play the mother to a teenager. Gauri has been seen in young avatars in shows like Noorjehan, Kutumb, Kyun Ki Saans Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Left Right Left and Nach Baliye.
“There are 15/16-year-old boys and girls who are straight out of college and becoming actors. I am 15 years older than them! I got an offer to play a mother’s role  in another show to a slightly younger kid. So, I was mentally prepared for this. All I need now is to find a good role, work at my own pace and spend time with my family.”

She is a strict mother! “I am a Hitler mom, you can say! My kids aren’t allowed to watch TV — not even cartoon shows. They do know what their father does. They have watched an episode of Pavitra Rishta, and I will show them one of mine. I once took them to the sets of Hiten’s show for them to understand the activity of shooting,” Gauri says.

Gauri is known to be a private person in real life. “Hiten is my medium for interacting with fans. I do have a Twitter handle that I hardly use. Hiten takes care of that,” she says. However, she is trying to change that. “When I agreed to play this role, he instructed me to talk to the media and fans. Over the years, they have enquired about me and my work. I am very lucky.”

Talking about the similarity between Gauri and Falguni (the role which she is playing) Gauri says, “Falguni is a strong-headed, practical woman like me. I was known to be a snob because I wouldn’t talk to anyone. Ekta Kapoor still tells me that when she came on the sets of my first show, Kutumb, everyone stood up, but I  continued to sit and read a book. It’s just that I am reserved by nature.”

Gauri also feels there are hardly any changes on Indian television. “I expected it to be different. But there hasn’t been much. Everyone wants to be an actor and the competition is tough. It may have become a little more organised than before, but I like it the way it is.”

So, what are her plans? “I am not at all an ambitious person. I was in Pune during my teens. I started modelling then. I then moved to Mumbai as it was tough for me to travel from Pune to Mumbai regularly. Then I participated in ‘Miss India’ contest. Indeed it was a great experience, and  Cinevista offered me the title role in Noorjehan. My parents were always supportive. They asked me to give it a try, and that’s how I began my career on television. I feel Hiten has not got his due. He has been busy and couldn’t concentrate on films. Now that I have started working again, I would like him to concentrate on films.”

Gauri is also someone who keeps herself busy — “I am learning Spanish. I want to pursue a master’s degree in the language. I want to settle down in Spain with my family and teach in a university. I love porcelain painting. I have had a couple of exhibitions with fellow students and will have another one in October. I enjoy doing up houses as a hobby.”

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