'Trolls need to understand that there is a certain boundary, there is a certain way to deal with a woman.'
Pooja Gor is very excited to be a part of the new Web series Shrikant Bashir.
"I was very determined to do the kind of work I want to do, even if it takes time. I will not compromise nor will I give in. Fortunately, I came across an amazing show like Shrikant Bashir," she says.
Just like the strong character she plays in the show, Pooja takes a stand for herself, especially regarding her swimsuit pictures from her Maldives holiday for which she was trolled.
"At times, it's very important to put them (trolls) in the right place," she tells Rediff.com Contributor Sameena Razzaq. "Women are not objects that you can go ahead and disrespect them, sitting at home behind the keys of your phone."
Shrikant Bashir revolves around two R&AW agents. Will your character Raveena Sahni have enough scope to register her presence?
My character has a lot to do because if you look at the theme from an actor's point of view, apart from these two officers, the team consists of other characters who are equally important.
These two officers have different ideologies dealing with a situation, but they obviously have the best intentions for the security of our country.
Similarly, for the other officers like Raveena, who is the IT head and is technically the eyes and ears...or rather, I would like to call her the nerve centre of the team.
She is important because if she isn't there, she isn't giving the intelligence that they require.
You started off as a bahu, but you are not stuck to that image. You are experimenting with different roles.
Honestly, this is something entirely different from what I have done before.
Exploring other territories involves a huge amount of risk and immense patience from an actor's point of view.
You have known me all these years, I have always wanted to do something different from what I have done before.
As a viewer, I would like to see myself doing something else from what I have been doing.
You insist you are not fit enough to avoid injury. How did you pull off those heavy duty action sequences then?
My action scenes have been comparatively less because I play the IT head of the team.
I sprained my neck while trying to jump during a car scene which had terrorists trying to run me over and I had to get out of the way by jumping.
Even though you have people taking care of you, you end up getting injured because you are not a pro.
The good part about these action sequences is they are so crisp, so real, so fast and I don't think any one of us have been trained enough to do it.
I will talk about myself and not the others.
Being choosy makes you end up without work. And you are willing to take that risk?
Yes, there is a huge risk and it requires a lot of patience.
I was very determined to do the kind of work I want to do, even if it takes time. I will not compromise nor will I give in. Fortunately, I came across an amazing show like Shrikant Bashir.
It's been a surreal and exciting journey.
I am very thankful that I took that risk.
It does get overwhelming at times when you think about whether you are doing the right thing. I am glad that I stuck to what I wanted to do and it paid off.
So how do you survive when work is scarce and the means are limited?
I have been in this industry for 12 years and have worked very hard.
My family has been extremely supportive and they help me manage my finances and stuff. I have been steady and smart about my finances.
In fact, it has been one of the biggest reasons to help me take such bold decisions about being choosy and picking up work.
Otherwise, it does get very difficult when you have bills to pay and then you compromise on the work you do.
Your swimsuit pictures from your Maldives vacation left people speechless. How did this transformation happen?
There is no specific reason.
It's a natural progression and you want to be fitter in life.
Now I think even more so because everyone has realised in this coronavirus situation, something like this can happen any time.
Health is paramount so I had that inner calling about getting fitter.
I started taking care of myself more than I used to.
I love playing sports, so I play football and tennis.
So all that has helped take care of my fitness and has probably resulted in how I look.
When you go to a destination like the Maldives, I don't think you can stay in a kaftan and click pictures. It's so hot and humid, if you aren't in a swimsuit, it doesn't even make sense.
So I'm glad people appreciated it.
You were trolled for putting out those bold pictures but you gave it back.
I have a great amount of tolerance, but when it is due, you have to give it back.
It used to affect me when I was young, but now I have learnt to deal with it.
Earlier, I would be sari-clad, in a girl-next-door avatar, but even then I used to get trolled.
Whether it is that or this, trolls will always be there. It's inevitable.
You have to deal with it.
At times, it's very important to put them in the right place.
They need to understand that there is a certain boundary, there is a certain way to deal with a woman.
Women are not objects that you can go ahead and disrespect them, sitting at home behind the keys of your phone.
Raj Singh Arora and you have been together since the last 11 years, but there are rumours of a break-up. How do you guys handle the pressure?
We don't really pay attention to that.
Other people, not just actors, also go through that.
Yes, I agree actors have a set of challenges as compared to other people but it is not that difficult.
All those in a relationship have their set of challenges.
Any marriage plans?
Yes, for sure.
Honestly, I am focused on work now.
Your first show Mann Ki Awaaz Pratigya was telecast again in the lockdown. Did it bring back memories?
Yes. But Mann Ki Awaaz Pratigya has never stopped airing. It keeps airing on one channel or the other.
It's been 12 years now since the show got over but it never stopped airing.
People have met me and told me over the years even today, they still watch the show.
After Kedarnath, are there any film offers in the pipeline?
There are three projects -- two Web series and a film.
I am in the process of finalising and signing on the dotted line.
The film hopefully will go on the floors soon. It would have started by now, but it was pushed ahead to January or so because of the COVID situation.
Something very exciting is coming up. It's bigger and better than Kedarnath.
We saw you take to painting in a big way in the lockdown.
I wouldn't call painting a recreational activity, but it has always been something that interested me.
In the lockdown, I tried my hand at it because I didn't have much to do.
The immense joy that I feel when I paint and when I do a good job, is a huge part of the motivation.
Maybe if I become better, then I can put my paintings out in an exhibition.
My friends have been encouraging me to do that.