'If I came back in a glamorous role, I'd look like a clown'
Shilpa Shirodkar returns to acting after a gap of 13 years with the television show, Ek Muthi Aasman on Zee TV.
She started her journey in Bollywood with the 1989 film Bhrashtachar before starring in 1990s hits like Kishen Kanhaiya, Hum and Gopi Kishan.
She quit acting after she got married banker Paresh Ranjit in 2000.
Ek Muthi Aasman talks about the hardships that a domestic worker in Mumbai encounters and Shilpa tells Rajul Hegde that she can identify with the character quite well.
You choose TV as your comeback vehicle and not films unlike your contemporaries. Why?
All my contemporaries apparently have done TV, taken a break and come back to cinema.
I don’t have any plans as such. I just believe that there is a good reason for me to work. I am keeping my fingers crossed for everything to fall in place.
Why choose such an unglamorous role?
After 13 years, had I come back in a glamorous role I would have looked like a clown.
I have got the opportunity to play an interesting character on television and that is why I am here.
Both my parents passed away suddenly in 2008. I decided to be close to my sister (former actress Namrata Shirodkar), and husband.
I have been travelling to Holland, New Zealand and London where I stayed for seven years. I have been a full-time wife and mother and had a blast.
I am happy and content in my life. Right now I want to work hard and excel in my serial.
Image: Shilpa Shirodkar in Ek Muthi Aasman
'I could return to acting only because of my help'
So how much time did it take for you to accept this offer?
I took six months to give the nod. There were a lot of things to discuss and things took time to materialise. Zee and Deeya-Tony (Singh) took a year to finalise this project. Compared to that, at least I was quicker (laughs).
In the meantime, I discussed it with my husband Paresh and told my daughter that I will be busy now and things will change as I won’t be available 24x7 and she understood that.
My husband knows that this is what I love so he is very proud and both have taken to the change nicely.
How much can you relate to the character of Kamla Bai?
I was very happy with the script as I could see a bit of me in Kamla. She is very real and practical, qualities that I too possess.
Kamla Bai strives hard to bring up her children and see that they don’t do what she is doing. I realised the worth of house help when I shifted abroad after marriage.
I was used to the luxury life that is provided by people like Kamla Bai. I could return to acting only because of my help who is taking care of my home and family.
Deeya (the film’s producer) believed that I would be able to play this character correctly. I didn’t do any homework. When she called me, I went like clay to her so that she could mould me the way she wanted to.
What’s the feedback you have got from your daughter and help?
My daughter Anushka and help Kishori like the promos. My daughter is very happy that I am doing a TV serial but she is still not sure whether to watch me or something else (smiles).
Daily soaps take up a lot of time. How do you manage?
Actually, I love it. There is no time to think much about it as you are tired after a hard day’s work.
Image: Shilpa Shirodkar in Ek Muthi Aasman
'I am in this industry because of Mithun'
How did it feel facing the camera again after so many years?
I am learning everything from scratch, right from acting to mouthing dialogues but my attitude and mentality hasn’t changed.
I have brought my share of professionalism, dedication and honesty as an actor to Ek Mutthi Aasman.
If given a chance to act in film, whom would you like to work with?
It would be fantastic to do movies. I love Karan Johar’s films; he makes films for today’s generation. They are fun, bright, and colourful, you can cry, laugh and came back with a smile.
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is superb. There are so many other directors like Anurag Basu and Kashyap directing some beautiful films.
Today, you can do all types of cinema and you are recognised because the character is good.
Are you in touch with anyone from the industry after you came back to India?
Madhuri (Dixit) is not a friend but more like a sister. I kind of moved in a year before she did. Our kids go to the same school; her son and my daughter Anushka are in the same class.
Actress Madhoo is a very good friend. I have been in touch with Sanju (Sanjay Dutt) over a period of time. He would give me a call when he was in London.
I have lots of respect and regard for Mithunda (Chakraborty). I am in this industry because of him.
Image: Shilpa Shirodkar in Kishen Kanaiya