Dipika Chikhlia is known for her outstanding performance in Ramanand Sagar’s hit television series Ramayan. She played the character of Sita and the impact of this TV serial was in such a way that people started believing that she is a real Sita of Ramayan era. Despite of telling people that she is not real Sita, people used to touch her feet. This could be an extraordinary incident in the history of Indian television industry. After a gap of almost 22 years, she is back to the silver screen. In an exclusive interview with Yogesh Mishra she revealed about her upcoming Hindi film Gaalib, few unbelievable real life incidents that has happened during 90s, experience in politics and more…
This is your comeback in the film industry so what are your current projects / films?
I have just started working again. I did one Gujrati Serial. That was my first comeback venture. Currently I am doing a Hindi film Gaalib which is about a Muslim terrorist family. Also I am doing a Gujrati film Nat Samrat.
What difference did you find in your upcoming film Gaalib?
I am playing the role of a Muslim lady who is mother of a terrorist. Speaking Urdu and wearing burkhaa, almost everything is different.
Any special comment on Gaalib?
My both films Gaalib (Hindi) and Nat Samrat (Gujrati) are very special for me. It is a comeback on the big screen for me. I would like people to love me again like the way they loved me in Ramayan. Please watch both my films and welcome me back in the industry and to the world of acting.
Can you share any extreme incident during that period when your stardom was on peak?
I was very young that time during Ramayan TV serial. People used to touch my feet. I will not mention the name. I had gone to Delhi to do a show for a renowned person. His grandparents did sashtang pranaam. That time I was having lunch. Immediately I kept my plate there and got up. I was embraced. People who are even elder than my parents are doing sasthang pranaam to me. I hold them and allowed them to sit. I felt guilty. First time in my life I felt ashamed. Finally I dared to say that I am not Sita. I am an actor. She said 'yes I know you are not Sita. You are an actor. We see you in TV. But you tell me, there are lot of girls in India but why you only got this role'. I was shocked to listen her logic. I could not say anything after that but that conversation left a big impact on my life. That time I realised that I need to respect this role and the image because people don’t look at me as a Deepika, they look at me as a Sita and I have responsibility towards those fans of mine.
That means you lost the freedom to live your personal life the way you want. So how did you manage that situation?
I used to take care of my dressings. Whenever I used to go in public or any function that time I used to wear saree. Wherever there was a possibility of having camera, that time I wear only saree.
Means, you were compelled to live your life the way people expected you to live. Is it?
I did not mind because I loved wearing saree. Even today I love wearing saree. I am fond of saree. I never felt the pressure that people want to see me in saree only. In-fact I enjoyed wearing it because I personally liked it.
Did you ever try to relate yourself with real Sita (of Ramayan) or tried to follow her ideology?
No. Never. Because Sita was very strong person. You can not relate with any such character because they are very different.
People knew it very well that you are not the real Sita of Ramayan era yet why was it not possible for people to believe that you are not real Sita?
Because television impacted people in a big way. If you watch anything regularly then that starts changing your mindset. Religion is attached with your emotions and especially when you play a character that people like and want to see then that has a greater impact. Such epic characters are never seen in real. We can only imagine the face of Ram and Sita but Ramanand Sagar has given a face. After watching almost 4 years on TV, people started believing that the face of Ram and Sita was like this.
How comfortable or discomfortable you feel while playing non-epic characters which is just opposite to your real life image?
I know only one thing that I am an actor. I have never fooled myself that I am Sita.
It's your comeback in the film industry after almost 22 years. What are your expectations now?
I am looking at meaningful roles and meaningful cinema. I just want to go with the flow. I never had any specific desire that I want to do this and that. Whatever films have come to me, I am just doing that. I don’t have any strategy as such but definitely i would like to do something different.
Are you still in touch with your co-actors from Ramayan serial?
Only Arvind Trivedi (who played the role of Ravan) and Sunil Lahiri (who played the role of Laxman) are in touch.
How much do you believe in the ideology of Hinduism?
I believe too much in Hinduism. I am a Hindu. I believe in my own religion. I also believe in secularism.
How was your experience in politics?
I had very good experience in politics. But I think I could not do that much as I had to. I think that timing was little wrong. I got married in the same year when I joined politics. I met many big leaders and had good interactions with them.
Who influenced you to join politics?
My father and Arvind Trivedi (who played the character of Ravan in Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan).
Any dream role that you would like to play?
I want to do a strong role. I want to play the character like Jhansi Ki Raani, Jijabai or something like that.
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