Meet the Shastri Sisters!
Colors channel's latest television show Shastri Sisters follows four sisters, as they move from the small town of Kanpur to Delhi with their father.
The story captures the challenges they face and how their stay in the big city strengthens the bond between them.
Here's a closer look at just who these Shastri sisters are:
Neha featured in advertisements for Garnier and Canon. She appeared in an episode of Fear Files, but Shastri Sisters is her major acting debut on television.
Commenting on her role, Neha says, “Though I play the eldest sister, Alka, I don't take up the role of the mother. I shy away from responsibility and my second sister takes on the duties.
“The character is challenging because it’s different from who I am. I don’t have a sister in real life; working on this show has helped me understand sisterhood and the importance of the strong bond that keeps them together," Neha says.
Neha is not a trained actor but has always wanted to become one, as she loves watching movies.
“I would enact scenes in front of the mirror. I have learnt acting through auditions for commercials and television shows,” she says.
She couldn’t complete her education -- she has studied till Class 12 -- because she started working at a young age.
“I always wanted to become independent. I started working under someone as a hairstylist at the age of 16. Then I did freelancing for a few years and later went on to do commercials.
“I didn’t tell my friends I had bagged this role. They came to know when they saw the hoardings and the promos on television. Like me, all my friends are excited and waiting to see the show,” she says happily.
Watch the Shastri Sisters from Monday to Friday at 7 pm on Colors.
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Image: Neha Pednekar
Ishita Ganguly: My ultimate goal is to do a Bollywood film
Ishita Ganguly plays the second daughter, Anushka.
She has acted in Bengali TV shows such as Mr Shingoroy, Annapurna and Bhasha.
Ishita says she’s happy with her role because “even in real life, I am exactly like Anushka. I am equally protective about my family."
The producers of the show contacted her through Facebook and asked for a video folio.
“I was later called for the final look test. I came to Mumbai for a week to try my luck. It was nothing less than a miracle. Little did I know that I would get selected for this role,” she says.
Ishita says she is fluent in Hindi a teacher helps the girls get the Kanpuri accent right.
Is there any insecurity about the length of the role since there are four girls in the show?
“Not all,” she replies quickly. “The show will focus on all the four characters. We have bonded well off screen too and there are no ego problems. We sometimes give suggestions to each other on the scenes.”
She finds the working style in Mumbai as grueling, but Mumbai is more professional, she says.
“My ultimate goal is to do a Bollywood film. I would love to act with all the actors -- the list is endless. But my favourite is Shah Rukh and Salman Khan,” she smiles.
Image: Ishita Ganguly
Sonal Vengurekar: Kareena Kapoor is my idol
Sonal Vengurekar was in Channel V’s The Buddy Project and Dil Dostii Dance. This is her first family drama.
“I am playing the role of the third sister Devyani, who is very bubby and a complete rebel. She is funny but always at loggerheads with her elder sister.
“Like my character, I don’t think before I talk. So that makes it easy for me to portray this character,” she says.
She reveals that what she likes most about the character she plays is that it has subtle references to Kareena Kapoor, Geet in Jab We Met.
“Kareena is my idol. It was a dream come true to emulate her performance in my own way,” she says.
She started off with very small roles on television and graduated to bigger roles. She admits she was “initially scared of mouthing dialogues in front of the camera. But now I am confident after two shows and have become a better actor.
“I am glad that my hard work has paid off and I am finally on a prime channel.”
Image: Sonal Vengurekar
Pragati Chourasiya: It feels good to be featured on hoardings
The fourth and youngest of the Shastri sisters is played by Pragati Chourasiya.
Peeya is not only the youngest but also the over-protected sister who is the apple of everyone’s eye. “I am just the opposite in real life,” she says.
She is comfortable in the Kanpuri Hindi of the show since she has done a couple of historical and mythological shows.
Pragati has been working ever since she was four. She started her career playing the child Kashish (Aamna Sharif) in Kahin Toh Hoga.
She has acted in Bade Ache Lagte Hain, Jodha Akbar, Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin and Ramayan.
The actress says, “After long years of working in television, I am excited about the fresh challenge that Shastri Sisters presents.”
Pragati says that she has been fulfilling her father’s wish for her to be an actress. “He couldn’t be an actor for some reason, so he wanted me to be one.”
She has just cleared her 10th standard exams, but “with a daily soap and hectic work schedule I won’t be able to attend college. So I am studying further through correspondence.”
She loves being with her three on-screen sisters.
“We get along like a house on fire. It feels good to be featured on hoardings and do promotional activities in different cities.”
Image: Pragati Chourasiya