Karisma's dream role
With ``Karishma," the teleserial that will go on air from Monday next, the vista has widened for Karisma Kapoor, as the charismatic actress tells ZIYA US SALAM.
SAHARA IS hoping for a miracle of destiny. Sahara, that channel forever striving, yet forever struggling, is hoping for `Karishma' to do a `Kaun Banega Crorepati' and Karisma Kapoor, that endearing actress who won our hearts with "Raja Hindustani" and then proved herself as an actress of mettle with "Fiza" and "Zubeidaa", to do a Bachchan.
Far Fetched? Facts first. It is the first Hindi serial to be extensively shot abroad with plenty of scenes being canned in the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand. In a remarkable departure from tradition it has not one or two songs but 50 of them! In another first, it has popular ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas making an appearance. It has three directors Anuraag Basu, Talat Jani and Siddharth Sengupta with each of them ``having his own style and then blending with the team.''
More than 100 episodes have been canned so far, and the serial that begins on Sahara Manoranjan Monday next, is said to have cost the organisation a fortune with Karisma being richer by a crore every month. The actress herself kept aside full three months to ``build a bank of `Karishma' episodes.''
But there was a slight hitch. Barbara Bradford Taylor, that indefatigable writer, went to court crying foul. The copyright laws had been infringed upon by the serial writer, Sachin Bhowmick, she insisted. ``They have lifted from my book, `A Woman of Substance,''' she alleged even as Karisma tried to be one up, shooting round the clock for the serial. The matter went to court, and "Karishma" which was scheduled to hit the Sahara Manoranjan screen, went blank after the first episode.
Now, with the Supreme Court ruling in favour of Sahara, the much-hyped serial makes an appearance four times a week, Mondays through Thursdays. They have not dreamt bigger. Or better since Star Plus' last roll of dice clinched the issue for the channel with KBC.
Says Karishma, who plays a woman from the age of 16 to 70, and has a double role to boot, ``I have nothing to say about Taylor or the judgment. The kind of publicity this serial has generated is amazing. Imagine they have put up hoardings for three months in all metropolises. All the people involved with the serial never lost hope. We kept working even when the court case was on as we were hopeful all along. The shooting did not stop, not even for a day. We all had faith in the product.''
Making the long journey from the silver screen to the small screen, was she not conscious that it might just be goodbye to her Bollywood days? ``The serial is no dead end at all. It provides me with an opportunity to experience a whole gamut of emotions in one role. This is a dream role. I had worked in films for 13 years, done films for the masses with David Dhawan, and classes with Yash Chopra. I had worked in parallel cinema with Shyam Benegal. I have always been a risk taking person. I did `Dil To Pagal Hai' alongside Madhuri Dixit when nobody was ready to do that role and won the National Award for it. I did `Fiza' and `Zubeidaa' at the peak of my career when everybody advised me against it.''
There is more. ``This serial has been creatively most satisfying. I would say it came to me at the right time. It was a therapeutic exercise, a great adventure after some not very pleasant experiences,'' she adds.
She also remembers the media at this very important time of her career. ``I must thank the media for being very caring, very considerate during all the unfortunate events. They were genuinely concerned and supportive. Be it the print media or the electronic, they all gave me my space,'' she says, in a faint hint to her well-publicised engagement with Abhishek Bachchan and the subsequent parting of ways that was unaccompanied by any public brickbats.
She is not through though. With the serial, her vistas seem to have widened. And there is new appreciation of those around. ``Gone are the days when heroes and heroines could not play brother and sister in any film. Or a brother and sister could not play a romantic lead. Now they do so. `Josh' and `Devdas' are classic examples of the audience's new maturity.''
If there is acknowledgement of audience's sound judgment, there is respect for TV medium too. ``I wanted to explore TV. I had got offers to do chat shows and game shows but this serial provided me with a chance to do something I know act. After shooting for TV, I realised the pace at which TV artistes work. It is more difficult, has a faster pace, is more gruelling than films. You have to be on your toes all the time. It is a challenging medium. One day I would be acting the part of a 16-year-old, the next I would be playing grandma. But there was no problem of consistency as the medium is more systematic. Also, the realisation that certain parts have to be finished on a given day grew. You have to deliver in that much time.''
She is not through with the serial yet. In fact, she just cannot stop talking of it. ``Controversy, no controversy, publicity, no publicity, product matters. A good product will always sell. And it has to sell on its own. This serial will benefit from the positive feedback I have got. And TV has become such a huge medium now that people are refusing to leave their homes to come to the cinema.''
People, maybe, are `refusing to leave their home to come to the cinema' but success or no success, Karisma is not leaving films. She is soon going to be seen in "Mere Jeevan Saathi" and is in the process of ``going through scripts of at least three other films.''
``I am keen to do a film with Kareena. We have been offered films together but we are looking for a good script and a good product. It should not be a film together for the sake of making one. I like being in front of the camera, so there is no question of going behind it or even wanting to pen down scripts. I want to play a long innings as an actress, so please pray for me. I feel I have done a great thing by doing `Karishma' as I have never done anything with so many shades earlier.''
In about a week's time we shall know if `Karishma: The Miracles of Destiny" is likely to add another feather to Karisma's already well-plumed cap. Let's wait and watch where destiny takes its favourite child this time round.
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