She is beautiful and brazen in her demeanour. Her portrayal of Anika in TV’s popular show Ishqbaaaz has earned her sobriquet ‘reliable star’. With legions of global fans, Surbhi is a hotshot performer, slipping in & out of myriad avatars with ease and elan, entertaining masses, winning accolades and appreciation.
Surbhi’s tryst with fame began with her powerful enactment of a deaf & mute character in Zee TV’s Qubool Hai. That she is a force to reckon with, was apparent and evident. Now, as Anika, she has touched epic proportions of credibility and fame.
The diva, in a candid exclusive chat with IndianWikiMedia, talks her heart out and shares a slice of her life with her fans, via us. Must read excerpts from the tête-à-tête.
Tell us, how’s it been playing Anika so far? What attracted you the most about this role?
It has been a year and a half since I have been playing Anika. I am living the character. I think anybody who would have been in my place would have loved to enact it. She laughs, she has a weird vocabulary, she is blunt, she has a dark past. It is a combination of everything. I think as an actor it is very challenging to portray such a lively character.
Anika has multiple shades. Which one satisfies you the most as an actor in terms of performance?
I feel I am very weak at emotional scenes because it’s not my forte. In real life, I am a very jovial person. When I have to get into the space where I have to be Anika in a certain situation which I don’t relate to, it gets tough but now that I am living her life, they have become much easier to perform. I don’t enjoy emotional scenes. I like her happy side and making fun.
Fans’ love is like an energy bar for me. I also take criticism very well. I do try to work on some stuff that is not appreciated. Even if it is a smallest of thing
What has been the most challenging bit about Ishqbaaaz so far?
I am very happy and there are not too many challenges. I do feel there have been sequences which have been challenging to shoot like Anika and Shivaay usually throwing each other in the pool. At that point even if you have any health issue you have to perform as the script demands the same. There was a sequence wherein Daksh put me in a water cylinder. I was having fever and shot it in a hectic schedule. There have been some challenging shoot but it is okay because I know the end result is good because the daily’s popularity reflects that’s all is worth it. This week has been challenging as I had to change many avatars. Last week, I played the role of a dadi and last to last week I was into an avatar of Hyderabadi begum and I had to get the dialect. The best thing is that the makers are confident that I can pull off the characters. They have the trust, so it has been fun.
Was there a phase where you had a dislike for a particular track, and you did it because there was a requirement?
I won’t use the word dislike but as an actor you don’t connect with certain tracks. No matter what, we should connect convincingly to entertain the audience. We do have opinions and we share it too. Gul Khan as a producer will always take your inputs. We rate well, so this shows that we are in the right space.
So how have you evolved as an actress with this Anika journey?
The various moods of Anika and its depiction is riveting. My mom is always so shocked. She sometimes asks me from where I gained these acting. Very honestly, she always thought very low of me. When I used to go for auditions she used to say that this is not meant for you. Now, when she watches me as Anika she gets amazed. There are a lot of people who say that we watch the show for Anika. It is a proud feeling. I do work hard on my scenes. I have Lalit Mohan, who is directing me. He also directed me in Qubool Hai. I have a certain comfort level with him wherein he can shout at me and he can give me inputs. The team is very comfortable.
After playing Anika, I have become little selective. I just don’t want to do everything. I don’t want to be over exposed. I want to retain the freshness
You are a bahu who is very different in look, dress-up and also approach. Explain…
Sorry to my TV contemporaries that they don’t get to wear stylish clothes that I get to dress up in. I feel sorry for them that they have to wear simple sarees. I wear a mixture of everything. Her approach towards life is totally different. What I like about her is that she is independent, blunt, she doesn’t need her husband’s surname to survive and she is not dependent on him. She is equal to Shivaay. A lot of women connect to Anika. Now, women don’t relate to crying TV bahus. Everybody knows to fight for herself, nobody is weak. Anika is an example of women empowerment. Any of my contemporary would really want to play a character like Anika once in her life.
You have been winning appreciation for your role. How does it feel? Share any best compliment received so far?
I am getting compliment in terms of getting nominated at every award function. It is massive for me. The show being my first daily and getting nominated is itself a big victory for me. I am getting messages from all parts of the world from my fans through social media. I am overwhelmed. It also makes me work hard. Fans’ love is like an energy bar for me. I also take criticism very well. I do try to work on some stuff that is not appreciated. Even if it is a smallest of thing stating that I am not active on social media. It does affect me as I want to connect with my fans because whatever I am today is because of them.
The show in its own way is massive. It has a great fan following. I feel Ishqbaaaz has perfect casting. Everybody fits the bill. They are fabulous in their roles
Your major shows Qubool Hai and Ishqbaaaz have been immensely loved by the audience. Which of these two has proved pivotal for your career?
Qubool Hai was my first show as a parallel lead. It was totally a different character as I was playing a role of a deaf and mute person in the show. I had to express everything with my eyes, which is quite tough. I had to put in extra efforts for the role. I have had an amazing experience playing the character. Anika from Ishqbaaaz is super amazing. There’s such funny language that sometimes I start laughing reading my lines. Both characters have been wonderful. We have amazing writers like Harmeet and Divi Appu.
Are you selective about roles on television?
I have not got a chance to be selective with roles. After playing Anika, I have become little selective. I just don’t want to do everything. I don’t want to be over exposed. I want to retain the freshness that I have by just not doing every second thing on TV. I am a little picky and I think it is important. I am not dying right now as I have a lot of time to explore areas about me. I want to give time to myself. I don’t want to rush into everything. I think it will be a beautiful process to go slow. If I rush, I don’t think I will enjoy the journey and process.
When you look back at your journey in the industry, how do you feel about it? Any regrets so far?
There was a time when I was doing a mock shoot for Jamai Raja and I thought it would click but unfortunately, it did not because of some reasons. It would have been good if I had done Jamai Raja because it’s a good show and had a great run on TV. I think I have so much ahead in my life. I am so happy doing Ishqbaaaz. The show in its own way is massive. It has a great fan following. I feel Ishqbaaaz has perfect casting. Everybody fits the bill. They are fabulous in their roles.
Describe Surbhi Chandna in your own honest way…
Surbhi is very dedicated and hard working. I am passionate about whatever I put my foot in. I adore this quality of mine. I am a foodie. I love going out and trying different cuisines. I love my family and often enjoy my time with them. I stay away from negativity. I don’t think too much. I am a believer in God.
Is it regressive to project women on TV as kitchen queens and naagins and chudails?
I don’t think so as Naagin had an amazing run on TV. I think people want to watch different content. When you know that you are rating high and people are enjoying the content than what’s wrong in it. If any day I have to play a Naagin, I would be happily doing it if I am convinced with the role. It also depends on the actor. Mouni does it beautifully. She is flawless. I don’t think it is regressive. I think Ekta Kapoor is doing a great job by getting different content on TV. I feel certain section of TV viewers fail to understand the difference between reel and real. I feel to each his own.
How is Nakuul as a co-star? How has your experience been working with him?
I am blessed to be working with him. He is fun on the set. When he comes on the set, he is really Shivaay Singh Oberoi. He gives me that vibe which helps me enact Anika better. And when I meet him post shoot he is something else. He is a crazy guy who is not bothered about proper dressing. He is very comfortable to work with. There is no pretence or fakeness when we both perform together. I run away from scenes where I have to do overacting. He gets great food from home and I wish he remains my co-star for lifetime so that I can eat his home made food (smiles).
Do you mind going bold for a TV show?
I am not prepared right now. I come from a family who wouldn’t be so comfortable if I go bold. Whatever I am doing right now is bold enough for me.
Do controversies bother you now?
I have been lucky that I have not been around any controversy. I am a very simple girl. I know I am going to stay away from controversies.
When will Surbhi tie the knot?
Not anytime soon. I am too young. When you work and get immense love, you tend to become ambitious. I want to explore more so I think marriage can take a back seat right now. My parents have also not been pushy.
Finally, your message to your fans…
I would just say… keep loving me in the show. I will be my real self and keep entertaining. Thank you for showering me with so much love.