She's quite the juggler

She's quite the juggler
Her fans call her Pree. Her secret dream is to sing a duet with Atif Aslam. And her current show, Love Ka Hai Intezaar, is further making her popularity soar here and abroad, from the point where her debut blockbuster soap Beintehaa took her.

She is one of the leading stars on the telly, with a brain to match her good looks. “I am a bit choosy in selecting my work as I don’t want to pick a wrong project and feel shortchanged,” says Preetika. And she is willing to wait. “In Love ka Hai Intezaar, I am playing a girl of my generation, not a typical sari- sindoor lead.” Sure, she is an established face, but what if the cookie had crumbled the other way? “ Well, my Plan B was journalism, in case I was not so successful on the screen,” she confesses. Then lets me into the fact that she worked for a bit with dailies in Chennai and Bengaluru before putting her acting chops to test.

Preetika believes she was destined to debut on television. “I got several film offers from big banners while I was studying, but was unsure if I wanted to pursue them. My mother was very keen that I complete my studies before delving into shoots,” she laughs, the resemblance to her sister, actor Amrita Rao, evident. So Preetika got into modelling (shot her first commercial with none other than Amitabh Bachchan, for Cadbury), moved to South Indian films (worked in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada movies) and was busier than the proverbial bee soon enough.

She wears many hats: she is a journalist (now blogs frequently), an actor, singer (is working on recording a track) and a seasoned model. She can converse fluently in Marathi, Konkani, English, Tamil, and even follow a spot of Gujarati. So, what was it that made her break away from cinema down South? “I found that my creativity was slowly getting restricted,” she says, “Here, there were big production houses in the television domain with plum roles to offer me. I feel the reach of the small screen is absolutely phenomenal. Today, every actor wants to be on the television in some way or the other either as a celebrity judge on a reality show, or as a host, or even to promote his/her upcoming film...”

Her first show Beintehaa rocked the screen, with its multilingual, dubbed versions finding a huge market abroad. It won her several debutant actress awards as well. “I have got tremendous love, exposure and mileage through television. In Turkey, the serial was a runaway hit, so much so that it was relaunched. Then it was released in Indonesia, Kazakhstan, South Africa... I owe a chunk of my international fan following to this,” she shares. “I feel digitalisation has changed the dynamics of the business tremendously. The mileage and the reach that social media brings in is simply unbelievable. In fact, I am a fan of many actors doing web series.”

She loves movies. Watching her evergreen favourites like The Sound of Music and Kaagaz Ke Phool is a big treat for Preetika. And by her own confession, she would love to essay Karishma Kapoor’s character in the film Zubeidaa.

Does Amrita have any pointers to share with her? “We are as thick as thieves. My sister is a fabulous person. Though we are complete opposites, considering we have grown up in the same family,” she laughs.

What are her pointers to those aspiring to be in her shoes? “Go about this profession with your morals in place. You encounter all sorts of people, especially in the glamour industry. You must make use of your own sound judgement in your interaction with others around. I would rather be a good human than be the best actor in the world.”

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