Balika Vadhu is a very grounded and earthy show: Neha Marda!
In the recent Golden Petal Award Function, Balika Vadhu bagged the maximum number of awards. Even after three years, it still continues to feature in the Top Ten Shows of the weekly TRP chart.
Rangmunch.TV spoke to Neha Marda, as she shared her journey and experience of being a part of Balika Vadhu and playing the role of Gehna.
Rangmunch: Knowing that you are still very young and the role of Gehna is very de-glamourised, what prompted you to take it up?
Neha: Balika Vadhu is a very grounded and earthy show. In this industry nothing is glamourised or de-glamourised.The moment we step in here, our identities are revealed to the audience. We all are here to act and our potential as an actor is what matters. My idea here is not to be a ramp model or to endorse something, but to enact a character and convince the audience of what I am not. When the character of Gehna was introduced in the show, she was 15 years old, who due to poverty, ends up marrying a 55 year old man and experiences sexual harassment. The Character was challenging for me and hence I decided to play the role of Gehna and in turn declined two lead shows. It is great to know that Balika Vadhu is still very popular and loved by the viewers. So I guess my decision was the right one.
Rangmunch: You have been playing Gehna for over 3 years now. Which has been your most difficult scene till date?
Neha: The initial stage of the show was the most challenging bit. Now I have gotten so used to playing Gehna that its become easier to comprehend the character. More than the writers, I know how Gehna will react to a certain situation because I live the character day in and day out. But as I said, the starting point was difficult. Gehna being forced to consummate on her first night of marriage and then reflecing the subsequent pain and trauma both mentally and physically therafter was tough. Her walk, her talk, her behavior the next morning was very difficult to enact.
Rangmunch: What kind of rapport do you share with Satyajit who plays your onscreen husband?
Neha: I will be very frank. What you see on screen is what exist off screen too. We don’t interact much.We meet and do our scenes. We greet each other at the start of the shoot and say bye when the scene is over. Satyajit is an amazing actor to work with but since he is very senior to me, the friend chemistry didn’t work. (smiles)
Rangmunch: Are you a Director’s actor ?
Neha: Completely. I become aimless if my Director doesn’t guide me. I am a dancer too but I can never be a choreographer for the simple reason that while I can copy somebody’s dance moves, I cannot create them myself. Similarly I also need help and guidance from my Director. I can read a scene but cannot portray it unless I’m told how to go about it. Gehna is completely my Director’s baby. He nutured her to make her be what she is today.
Rangmunch: Who is that one person you are very close to on the set?
Neha: With Anandi aka Pratyusha. We instantly became good friends the moment we met each other on the sets of Balika Vadhu as the age difference was not much. Moreover we both are from Kolkata and could speak in Bengali, which further got us closer. Another person is Sumitra aka Smita Bansal. She has been an amazing friend and philosopher. She has always been there to guide me. Infact Partyusha came later but Smita stood by me and supported me from day one.
Rangmunch: In a nutshell, what would you say about ‘Gehna’ the character?
Neha: In a typical Saas Bahu show, the leads are shown to be extremely nice and sweet, but Gehna is not so. Frankly speaking, she is a very normal girl with grey shades. Nobody in this world is Black or White. Gehna is today’s girl who is demanding yet understanding. She too complains. She is selfish yet selfless when it comes to her family. She will stand up for her rights and bow down gracefully if she is wrong. Gehna is a complete family girl who desires the love of her husband. Unlike the lead character, Gehna is neither too sweet nor too spicy. She is more like the evening snacks which you can enjoy even at breakfast as well as for dinner.
Niharika Vidya Sagar