Actress Pallavi Joshi, widely known for her television shows like Antakshari, Aarohan, Alpviram, Talash, etc, is extremely selective about the roles she plays. Shes no longer fond of today’s daily soaps, as she feels there’s no quality content left in them. In an interview with Nation Next, Pallavi Joshi speaks about her first ever television daily soap – Meri Awaaz Hi Pehchaan Hai’ (which brought her back to television after almost a decade), Marathi Cinema and the huge remuneration gap among the male and female actors.
You had returned to television in a daily soap – Meri Awaaz Hi Pehchaan Hai – on &TV after a long hiatus. Would you call it as your comeback
Not really, because I’m not planning to do any more television. I signed Meri Awaaz Hi Pehchaan Hai? because I liked the story and because it was a finite show. I knew that the commitment was not going to stretch beyond four to five months. I hate doing daily soaps. I had stopped working in between because I didn’t want to do television, as I wasn’t getting good offers. I invested my time in my family rather than doing any bad show.
Hows your experience of working in the daily soap Meri Awaaz Hi Pehchaan Hai after working in weekly shows like Aarohan, Alpviram, Talash, Imtihaan, etc? What has changed in the television industry since the 90s
Working in a daily soap is a terrible experience! We don’t have stories anymore unlike we had in the 90s. The format has changed completely. We don’t look forward to working on literature or focusing on great story telling, or authors whose books can be adapted. Any character can suddenly turn into a naagin (female snake) or a dayan (witch) in a daily show! When we did weekly shows, we had a time frame with a definite story line, which we were extremely happy with.
You said that daily soaps are not your cup of tea. What made you go ahead with Meri Awaaz Hi Pehchaan Hai?
It was the only daily soap that I’ve done in my life because the story fascinated me. I loved my character. I could see a flow of characters. Most importantly, it had a beginning and an end unlike today’s daily soaps; rather serials, which keep revolving around something that doesn’t make sense. Today, everything changes as per the audiences taste. New storylines are brought in. I was hopeful that such kind of a thing wouldn’t happen with the show I was working in, because I was told that the people involved didn’t care for ratings (TRPs). They just wanted to make a project, which would be remembered for generations to come. Unfortunately, when we were at the fag end of the show, we too started doing the same thing.
For a fastidious actress like you, this is the most opportune time in Marathi cinema and TV, as very interesting projects are being made in both the industries. Still we don’t see you doing any Marathi serials or films after your last film Rita. Why?
I did a Marathi movie ?Prem Mhanje Prem Mhanje Prem Asta’ in 2013 with Mrinal Kulkarni. It’s not that I wasn’t offered films; it’s just a matter of choice. I’m selective because if I’ve done a movie like Rita, I don’t want to redo a similar movie. When you perform well, people want to cast you in the same role multiple times. That I can’t do.
You had once pointed out that women actors are not safe while working. As an executive member of the CINTAA (Cine and Television ArtistsAssociation), what are you doing for the womens safety during work hours
Not just female actors, even male actors should be safeguarded during working hours. There are no concrete steps that one can take to ensure womens safety but we have taken producers in our loop. Only members can work in the shoot. We ensure weekly visits to the sets to cross check every member with their identity card. If any untoward incident happens, CINTAA takes the responsibility.
You said that you wouldn’t work with the best of directors if you were being paid peanuts. We can see that the erstwhile male dominated TV industry has now become women-centric with the pivotal characters being women. Are women still paid peanuts in television industry?
Women are not paid peanuts anymore but are certainly not paid as much as men are in the Hindi TV industry. There’s still a lot of difference in Sakshi Tanwars remuneration and the remuneration of male actors like Ram Kapoor and Ronit Roys remuneration. Marathi movie stars are still paid peanuts more so because of the low production budget. Lets not talk about Marathi stars because they are treated like lepers! A Hindi industry actor, for instance, at Balaji Telefilms Limited, gets paid anywhere between 17-18 lacs per episode.
Even Bollywood is opening up to women-centric films like Queen, Highway etc. Has the remuneration for women increased there also?
Not yet. Have you ever seen Kangana Ranaut or Deepika Padukone charging 30-40 crores per movie?
While your film Budhha in a traffic jam (directed by your husband Vivek Agnihotri) got a standing ovation at Mumbai International Film Festival, it didn’t do well commercially. Haven?t the times changed in Indian cinema?
The film was just being screened during the afternoon hours in a lot of theatres. It was a very small release; you can’t compare it with a Bollywood blockbuster! A typical Salman Khan film would be released in 4000 prints across India unlike ours, which had just 150 print releases. We were no way in that league. Whatever box office collections we had acquired over the weekend for the afternoon show were very good. We didn’t have box office success on our mind when we released the film. We screened our film in all the IITs, IIMs and other premier institutes even before it’s release. The idea was to reach out to as many people as possible just to make them aware of the evil happenings around them in the society. We shot the film in 2011 but because of the producers indifferent approach towards the film, we had to release it in 2016 by fielding in more investors. Sooraj Barjatya was supposed to get involved with us for the film but because of the movies bold content, he couldn’t release it under Rajshri Productions. Had Rajshri Productions released the film, a wrong message would have been passed to its viewers.
Umesh Yadav teases teammate Shubham Gill with epic Tinder billboards in Nagpur
Indian cricketer Umesh Yadav had a ‘field day’ teasing his team member Shubham Gill after Tinder – a popular dating app – showed a photo of a girl with a placard on large billboards in Nagpur that read, “Shubman idhar toh dekh lo” (Shubman, have a look here).” Tinder was quick to capitalise on the joke and turn it into hoardings in Nagpur ahead of India first Test match vs Australia.
Taking to twitter, Yadav wrote, “Poora Nagpur bol raha hai, Shubman Gill ab toh dekh le.”
— Umesh Yaadav (@y_umesh) February 3, 2023
During India’s T20 match in Ahmedabad, a picture of a female fan holding a placard that read ‘Tinder, Shubman se match kara do” (Tinder, match me with Shubman)’ had gone viral.
The Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) would host the opening Test of the four-game Border Gavaskar Trophy from February 9 to 13 at Jamtha in Nagpur.
PM Modi world’s most popular leader: Survey
A US-based firm Morning Consult released a list of world leaders trending on the basis of their approval ratings among 22 nations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the most popular leader in the world with an approval rating of over 75% thus leaving behind US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
All 31 days in January 2023 in Nagpur observed to be polluted, reveals study
As per the recent survey of Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, the entire month of January (all 31 days) in Nagpur this year saw tremendously high levels of Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2).
The survey that released pictures of the same showed increased levels of SO2 and NO2 not just in Nagpur but in cities including Chandrapur, Gondia and Amravati. Environmental experts have said that the matter was worrying from the point of view of the health of the residents as the pollution index in Nagpur saw an increase in all the three months of winter.
Not just in January this year but 28 out of 30 days in November last year as well as 30 out of 31 days in December last year showed poor air quality. Environmental expert Professor Suresh Chopani said an action plan, to avoid respiratory issues, under National Clean Air Programme would be strictly implemented.