Gautami Kapoor has an infectious charm, laughs a lot, talks really fast and is self-righteous of her creative choices. She may seem to have it all: a glamorous lifestyle, a star husband and a cute nine-month-old baby girl.
And now, she may have one of the most sought-after roles in Hindi television as well -- that of Tulsi, one of the most popular bahus in the soap, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.
Apparently, Smriti Irani will step down from the role that made her famous, and Gautami will take over.
Want to know more about the woman who may become the next Tulsi? Read on...
Tell us about yourself.
I'm a friendly person with lots of enthusiasm and no starry airs. Even though I have been working for almost 15 years, and in spite of tasting success, I would consider myself very 'normal.'
I started modelling when I was 17 and enjoyed every day of my job. I did it because I loved it --- the adulation, admiration and fan following was just icing on the cake.
What TV shows have you done before?
I got my break with a show on SAB TV called Lekin. I also featured in a show called Patang, did some episodes of Mano Ya Na Mano, and a Marathi film called Bindahst.
After many talks with Balaji Telefilms, I did Ghar Ek Mandir (with then boyfriend now husband Ram Kapoor), followed by Dhadkan (again with Ram Kapoor), which was a gritty medical drama.
I also did a show called Kehta Hai Dil, which was a drama about real issues.
Any Hindi movies?
I played Kajol's friend in Fanaa because director Kunal (Kohli) is a dear friend and he promised that I would have a wonderful time with the unit, and I did. I don't mind doing anything that I have a good time in.
I also did a small role in Rohan Sippy's Kuch Na Kaho, again, because he is a close friend and I got to dance a lot. That is something I love. I can dance to anything. It is something not many people know about me. Pop in a CD and I'll rock your world.
How much does Ram Kapoor rock your world?
Ram is an encouraging and compassionate husband. I have learnt from him that television is a completely different ball game now. Episodes that are to be telecast the next day are being shot a day in advance. It's scary!
Ram has given me the support and creative freedom to choose what I truly enjoy. He's also taught me the art of restraint.
What do you like doing most?
I am not particular that I must do the lead for 200 episodes. I don't even mind the occasional episodic character as long as the character appeals to me. I can get bored very easily. I can't cry for a million episodes.
I like a good script that has scope for performance. I'm not being greedy or impractical. I know that in 10 scenes, there are only three great scenes giving the practical scenario of the Hindi television industry. Yes, I would like every scene I do to be mind-blowing and performance-oriented but that doesn't always happen.
So you will play the next Tulsi?
The day things are finalised, I will tell the world that I'm playing Tulsi. Yes, I've met Ekta (Kapoor) and have been offered a couple of shows. But the dotted line hasn't been signed upon. I have received a lot of calls from the press, friends and relatives, congratulating me upon playing Tulsi. I'm shocked, to say the least. These rumours are no laughing matter and I've said time and again that I can see Smriti Irani as Tulsi, and Kyunki is incomplete without her.
What is Smriti Irani's reaction to this?
I haven't spoken to her about it.
Why acting out of all the things in the world?
I'm the black sheep of my family. I come from a good academic background and missed becoming a doctor by a hair's breadth. My family is full of doctors but I thoroughly enjoy being the odd one out. I enjoy acting and cannot think of something that makes me happier.
Gautami's photograph: Courtesy Mid-Day