HOW THE TV SUPERSTAR CONTINUES TO DELIGHT AUDIENCES WITH HER TALENT AND HARD WORK
by ASJAD NAZIR
STUNNING small screen superstar Shivangi Joshi may still only be in her early twenties, but she has risen to the very top of the television tree with her acting talent and ability to make a connection with audiences of all ages.
Her award-winning turn in smash hit serial Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai and sizzling chemistry with co-star Mohsin Khan has turned the young actress into an instant icon. She is regularly ranked in the top five sexiest Asian women in the world, is on the radar of movie producers and has become a powerful role model for the younger generation.
Most recently, Shivangi recommenced shooting for Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai under strict quarantine conditions, much to the delight of her army of fans and took time out from a challenging schedule for an interview. She spoke to Eastern Eye about her spectacular rise, co-star Mohsin Khan and future hopes. You have become massively successful at a very young age.
Have you had a chance to enjoy it?
I have always believed in living in present time and to enjoy whatever – big or small – I receive in life. The key to happiness according to me is not to expect big, but to make do with small joys of life. I don’t look forward or back, but live in the present.
How has the whole experience of being on this Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai journey been?
The experience has been really exciting. I have got to portray multiple shades of (my character) Naira, which is thrilling to me as an actor because you get to learn something each day and encounter new challenges regularly.
How is it working with ace producer Rajan Shahi and his Director’s Kut production house on the show?
Well, needless to say that he is the best in the industry. He is a superb orator, has immense faith in us and is just a wonderful person. It has been and will always be my pleasure to have had the opportunity to be a part of this beautiful show, and to work with someone like him.
How do you feel you have evolved as an actor over the years?
I think I have evolved a lot as an actor and that has only been possible with time. One gets to learn a lot with the projects that come to us. I have been playing Naira for the past four years now, and each year, each day is a learning phase for me, which only evolves me for the better.
What has been your most memorable part of this journey?
There have been countless memorable moments and if I start counting them, it will be impossible. I feel so blessed. Each phase has been memorable in its own way, so it is very difficult to point out the best one, impossible in fact.
What has it been like to be back on set in lockdown conditions created by the Covid-19 pandemic?
Our production house, and especially our producer Mr Rajan Shahi sir, has done the best to ensure the safety, and security of the entire cast and crew. I am really thankful to them. There can be no complaints whatsoever because the team has managed everything with utmost care and concern. We all are treated as one big family and taking all the necessary precautions.
The incredible chemistry with your co-star Mohsin Khan has been much talked about, but what do you like about him as an actor?
He is a great actor. From our first shot we both connected and maybe that’s why our jodi ‘Kaira’ is much loved and celebrated by the audience. His willpower, hard work and never ending streak to perform better than ever is what I like most about him. That motivates me also.
From where do you draw your inspirations as an actor?
I draw inspirations from people in real life. I am a decent observant and whoever I meet in real life, somewhere connects with me back when I shoot. That helps me to get inspired and perform better, I feel.
You have become a very accomplished actor at a young age. What is the secret of a great performance?
(Laughs) If I tell you, it will not be a secret. I think a few things are best kept under wraps.
What is the acting master plan and are you looking forward to taking on the challenge of cinema?
I feel that every opportunity is a great opportunity to explore. However, I am in a very happy space with Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai and would continue to keep our audience happy. That’s the plan for now and my focus.
What would be your dream role?
I think the aim should be to turn every role into a dream role, but action movies have always intrigued me. I would love to do some punching and kicking in a hard core action movie or maybe a superhero film with a lot of action scenes in it.
What do you enjoy watching?
Romantic comedies are always my go-to as an audience member. However, as I get time, I do watch the latest offerings so as to learn something and from an entertainment point of view.
What are your biggest passions away from work?
I love dancing. I think dancing is something which really makes me happy.
You seem to be making all the right moves, but what is the best advice you ever got?
‘Think, act and enjoy’ is the best advice I ever got. It applies to maximum things that I do. It is simply to ‘understand’ what you do, then ‘act’ accordingly and above and beyond anything, ‘enjoy’ it.
You have become successful, but remained humble. What is it that keeps you so grounded?
Thank you for saying that. A lot might contribute to this one I feel. Apart from my parents teaching, I think a lot of it has to do with a person’s vision and personality, and how they perceive things. Their willpower and decision-making shape their personality.
How much does your incredible fan base mean to you?
They just mean the ‘world’ to me. They are like a blessing.
You have an incredibly large fan base, but who are you a big fan of?
I am a big fan of Hrithik Roshan and I would love to do a movie with him someday in future.
If you could master something new, what would it be?
I would want to master the art of ‘reading minds’. I think that would be an amazing art to learn.
What inspires you?
A lot of things inspire me generally, but people and family would be at the top of that list.
Why do you love being an actor?
I love being an actor because it enables you to learn something new each day and have amazing new experiences.
Do you have a message for your fans?
Like I said, they mean the world to me. They are like family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for showering Naira and the show with so much love and respect. I will continue to keep you all happy always.
Producer’s eye view
Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai producer Rajan Shahi on the show’s lead star Shivangi Joshi…
“It has been a great association with Shivangi in Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai. She entered the show when it was going through a huge transition and people were sceptical about a new face entering the show.
In my first meeting, I remember her being extremely sincere and understanding about the big responsibility she was taking on. Her dedication, passion for work and hard work was so good on that first schedule that I called my team and said, we have a great actress, a wonderful human and a very positive person. She was willing to take things on her shoulder and make work a priority.
The first schedule was very tough and she didn’t complain once. It has now been more than four years working with Shivangi and I can say proudly her attitude has not changed at all. She has grown to become the biggest TV star, but her humanity, hard work, dedication and attitude towards the unit hasn’t changed at all. So, it’s been a great journey with her. When you have such a positive person it passes on to others.
She is a very evolving, intuitive, hardworking actress and will always go a long way. I am proud of her success and looking forward to creating more milestones with her.”