Shubhangi Atre Poorey is dignity and grace personified. She is a class act. She is down-to-earth and lets her work do the talking.
As Angoori Bhabhi in &TV’s much-acclaimed show Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai, Shubhangi has set hearts rolling and has created a benchmark with respect to being professional and dedicated to work.
In an exclusive interview with IndianWikiMedia.com, Shubhangi chats her heart out… Excerpts:
Your dream run continues with Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai… How’s your journey been?
Angoori is a wonderful character to portray. The team is so very good to work with; I cannot ask for more. Only few actors get such an opportunity to play such characters in their life time. Such characters are not only enjoyable to play, but bring in a lot of variation. On TV, you get to see more of the saas-bahu stories with lot of crying. But in this show, you have entertainment, fun, romance and also the cheeky moments. I especially like the character of Angoori; she’s so very unpredictable, yet innocent. To sum it up playing Angoori is a ‘treat’ for me. I am enjoying myself to the fullest and am also trying to take the character to newer levels.
After starting your career in the drama zone, you have of late slipped quite well into the comedy genre and have made it your own. How different has the drama and comedy experience been for you?
As an actor, I have been really lucky that I have been getting variety of roles. People have always believed in me. I started my career with drama series, and then got into the negative girl role in Rajan Shahi’s Havan. Later, I slipped into the comedy genre.
As an actor, if you ask me about the difference in the genres of work, I can tell you that when you are the lead in a drama series, all the emotional outbursts make actors really tired. Actors tend to get emotionally and mentally exhausted. But in shows like Bhabhiji, if you see, work happens at a very fast pace. And we are always in a happy zone while shooting. So you never get to realize that you have been on your toes from morning to evening. On the other hand, when you shoot for drama series, we get to learn a lot because of the variety you get to portray. Also, such shows reach every home even in rural areas. In shows like Bhabhiji, it is a cult show. The male audiences who have usually kept away from TV watch our show. Even kids like our show. So if you ask me, both the experiences have been good. But yes, in comedy, you don’t get tired even when you are working all day. It is like a picnic working in a comedy show.
Which do you like the best?
I like both!! See, all are my kids and I cannot choose one from the other (smiles). Kasturi was my very first show, and I have learned at every step. I always wanted to be an actor. In these 10 years of work in the industry, I have got a lot of variety to portray. So I consider myself lucky. See, if a show runs for 7-8 years, an actor brings out all that is possible in that one character. However, for me, I have got to play various characters in these 10 years. I have grown as an actor; the added bonus has been the variety that I have got.
You have had a good career graph. Which do you consider as your best show so far?
My first show Kasturi, because I was very new and raw then. I did not even know how to stand in front of the camera. I learned a lot in that show. After Kasturi, it has to be Angoori Bhabhi for sure!!
Any regrets in life when it comes to your career options?
I have never planned in life. I have refused lot many shows. There was a phase where I was offered many negative roles, but I kept refusing them. That was when Chidiya Ghar happened. I have never regretted anything. I am very sportive in life. So I believe that whenever you put your hard work into anything, it will only be fruitful.
What has the role of Angoori Bhabhi given you? And how much have you given to the role?
The change has been huge!! I was actually waiting for a big show, when I got this challenge. It was like boarding a running train!! My family was totally against the idea of me taking up the role in Bhabhiji. You will not believe, I had two more shows in my hand when I got Bhabhiji. I had to choose one on the same day. I don’t know why, but I took Bhabhiji. I always listen to my heart; I had a gut feeling that I need to take it up. And my daughter wanted me to take Bhabhiji. Today, I am glad that I listened to my daughter (smiles).
Have the Shilpa Shinde controversies affected you at any time after getting into the role?
Never!! I have always focussed on my work. I never hear to what people say. I am very positive in life. Having said this, I am very emotional too. Yes, few incidents have affected me earlier. When I was doing Do Hanson Ka Jodaa, I had a major accident post which the show had to shut. There was a lot of negativity around, and people blamed me for the show’s closure. But it was a medical emergency; I had no other option but to take bed rest. After this incident, there was a huge change in me with respect to my attitude. I never listened to anyone’s comments. Instead, I started working on myself. Even today, I believe in that. I know that my identity is my work; I do my work with sincerity and honesty, and I see to it that I take other things lightly. I have my loyalty only and only for my work. I never want people to point fingers at my work. So I take care of all these things; I am a professional, I reach the set on time and give my best.
You will not believe, I had two more shows in my hand when I got Bhabhiji. I had to choose one on the same day. I don’t know why, but I took Bhabhiji. I always listen to my heart; I had a gut feeling that I need to take it up. And my daughter wanted me to take Bhabhiji. Today, I am glad that I listened to my daughter (smiles)
Shilpa has called you the replacement queen after you replaced her twice so far. So how do you address this?
Well, that is just a coincidence. When Shilpa left Chidiya Ghar, the producer thought that I should be stepping in. Post that, when I gave my look test, I did not even know that it was to replace Shilpa. When I got to know, I was very apprehensive and did not want to replace anyone. But people made me realize that the show must go on and someone has to take up the role. Lot of people were linked to the show and it had to go on. If I had not taken up the role, someone else would have. That was when I took it up as a challenge. Playing Angoori Bhabhi was a huge responsibility and I am thankful to Mr. And Mrs. Kohli (producers) for giving me this role. I had to prove myself and I am still doing it. As for Shilpa, I did not snatch the role from her; she was the one who left it. Someone had to take it up.
Have you come face to face with Shilpa till now? How will you react if you do so?
Never have we met after I took the role. She’s a good actor and I always wish her the best. Well, if I meet her, I will meet her nicely. I don’t think she should have any problem, or I should have any problem. We are all professionals at the end of the day. I don’t think there should be any negative feelings.
It’s been some time since you got into Bhabhiji. But don’t you think the talk of replacement keeps resurfacing from time to time?
Let’s face it; the curiosity element will always be there. Yes, I must have been asked such questions nearly 1000 times so far. But I have no problem with it. As I said, I did not snatch work; it just came to me. Replacements happen in TV and also in films. Nobody is indispensible. Frankly, there can be many replacements made ready for me too. The point here is that you should respect and value your work. I don’t feel good when I am answering such questions. Reporters wait for me to speak something controversial. I believe that whatever the dreams are of a person, they will become true with hard work. So live in the moment.
What’s the best part of playing Angoori Bhabhi?
Her innocence!!! When I was in school I was very innocent and nice. And when you learn new things in life, you start to imbibe new learnings and your purity changes with time. You tend to behave differently with every experience. You become manipulative, careful etc. In the case of Angoori, her innocence is very much alive. I can feel the purity in her. I love that a lot. I really hope that Angoori has a long journey and enjoys the love of people.
One needs to move on with positive attitude. You cannot stop midway in life; so it is important that you keep moving towards your goal. You should not have any grudges against anyone. Life is very unpredictable. So keep moving and be happy
There has been a lot talked and said by Shilpa against your producers. How do you find Mr. Sanjay and Benaifer?
They have been really supportive towards me!! The biggest plus for me is that I have never felt any pressure on me from day one. I would really want to take the name of my director here, Mr. Shashank Bali. I am really blessed to have got his support. This has been my seventh show. On TV, directors do not get much freedom; they are always under pressure to deliver. Bhabhiji being a big show and with such a big replacement on cards, Mr. Shashank always gave me the freedom to perform. I never felt that I had to prove a point to them. He used to give me a feeling that all is well and this allowed me to grow in the character. He used to always say, ‘Pakne do!! Aap pehle hi din daal chadake dus second main bol nahi sakte ki pak gayi…Kisi insaan ko ek character ke andar jaane main toda waqt lagta hai..’ So I am really thankful to him and the entire production team of Bhabhiji. This was a big replacement for them. Yes, all had their own pressures, but the best part was that they never threw the pressure on me. If I was under pressure, that would have certainly disturbed me as an actor. They gave me the chance to grow and blossom in the character and I am happy about it. Even today, I know that a lot of improvement can happen in the character. So I am trying my best.
You are a mother, wife and daughter-in-law. How do you effectively juggle between home and work, especially since you are the lead face of the show?
OMG!! It is a big task!! The guilt is always there that you cannot give ample time to your family and kid. Yes, but I always try to give quality time to my kid. There have been days when I have been really tired with the day’s work and when I get home, my daughter will be all ready to have a lot to share with me. She will go through her routine of talking and chatting with me. It happens, but I manage it somehow. My daughter was 8 months old when I resumed my career. So she also knows and is used to my routine now. Above all, she loves to watch me on screen. And she is my biggest critic. Other than this, I love to cook. So I take time out to cook for my family. I love to clean things around me. So whenever we get time off, I spend quality time with family. The show has two couples, so we get our off days. The whole pressure is not on one actor.
What are the things or factors that inspire you in life?
One needs to move on with positive attitude. You cannot stop midway in life; so it is important that you keep moving towards your goal. You should not have any grudges against anyone. Life is very unpredictable. So keep moving and be happy.
The ratings have gone down a bit. What’s the reason?
There are a lot of factors. See, IPL was on and that was when our ratings got low. Also, many watch our repeat telecast. Also, Bhabhiji have lot of net-watchers.
With Bhabhiji, you won’t believe that we get appreciated wherever we go. Recently, Tajdaar Amrohiji, son of Kamal Amrohiji had come to the set and he appreciated our show so much. In fact, he remembered every scene and was narrating it to us. We recently went to Delhi, and many politicians talked to us. Mr. Digvijay Singh came up to us and said that he watches our show daily. So people of all walks of life have been connected towards this show. This is a game-changing show. I don’t think ratings play a big role for this show. This is a show which has connected with audiences, with each and every character getting popular. Yes, ups and downs in ratings keep happening. But we have a positive attitude towards the show even now. We are trying our best and hope and wish that we bounce back.
I want to do good work until my last breath. ‘Roll, camera and action’ is food for my soul. So I need to keep entertaining people
How is your offscreen rapport with Aasifji, Rohitashvji and Saumya?
Amazing!! All are good and friendly. I don’t have words to describe Aashifji and Rohitashvji. There is so much to learn from them. All of them call me by the name ‘Maa Annapurna’. I love to cook food for them and get it on the set. They love my ‘daal bhaji’ and request me to bring it regularly.
You have played the gharelu avatars in your last few outings? Do you think you desperately need to go in for an image makeover by opting something different in your next? Or are you satisfied and happy in your own zone?
I would love to do bold characters. I think my face is very Indian. But if I get, I will definitely do it.
The recent trend is of the digital space. Do you think you will want to work on such concepts?
Yes, I would love to!! We are actors, it does not matter which medium we are performing on. Wherever I will get the best opportunity, I will go there.
You said your daughter is your biggest critic. So you need to choose the best roles for yourself right?
True. Today’s kids are very smart. My daughter is in the 7th standard now. She watches all the English programs. In fact, she has been telling me to try something new (laughs).
Do you think the future is all about the bold content that is available on digital space now?
See, when television came, we thought newspapers will come to a stop. But even now, newspapers are in demand. Nothing will overpower anything. It is a demand and supply thing. Audience loved Saathiya so much. If the taste of viewers change, producers will also change their taste. All segments will be catered to. Personally, I don’t enjoy watching movies in my mobile. I like to see it on the big screen. So it depends on the individual.
How do you think TV can benefit in this situation?
The content needs to get better. More the competition, better is the quality. This is very good for TV in fact. Programs according to the taste will be made.
You have been a person who has always kept a low profile with media. Why is it so?
There is no spice in my life (laughs). Except work, I have nothing to talk about. My life is very simple. I come here, do my work and go back home. I don’t have any night life. I don’t have breakups (laughs). For me, my work should speak.
How are you in real life?
I have always been a prankster from childhood. I have bunked college. Even now, I and my daughter have lot of fun. We even go out on a girl’s day out. With my husband, ours was a love marriage and I know him from my 10th standard. So we are more of friends. So life is fun.
What is the secret behind your successful married life?
Well, it has been 14 years now. Our mantra has been very simple. We don’t put in lot of expectations in relationship. Everyone needs a companion. We are social animals; we cannot stay alone. The ease should be there in a relationship. I and my husband are more of friends. I was very young when I got married. My professor had told me be like a friend; the day you become husband and wife, there will be problems. Today, we have lot of stress factors. We both have fought a lot too. But we put everything behind and start the next day fresh. Every person should have at least one relationship which is placed much above the ego. Companionship is a give and take relationship. We do quite a lot of compromises in every relationship. You need to be patient and resolve matters if you have any.
What are your future goals in life?
I want to do good work until my last breath. ‘Roll, camera and action’ is food for my soul. So I need to keep entertaining people.