Now I have accepted that Sita is my second name: Dipika Chikhlia Topiwala

Yogesh Mishra |
Dipika Chikhlia Topiwala is best known for portraying the character of Sita Ji in Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan TV series. She has recently started a production house under the name of DCT Movies and made the TV series “Dhartiputra Nandini,” in which she is also playing a vital role. This serial has completed 200 episodes, and on the occasion, she celebrated a grand party on the set with the cast, crew, and media. At this grand celebration, a new poster for the serial was also launched. In an exclusive interview with Yogesh Mishra, she spoke about the success of her first project as a producer, her visit to Ayodhya Ram Janmbhoomi on January 22, her future plans, and more.

Congratulations on completing 200 episodes of your TV series, Dhartiputra Nandini. How has the journey been so far?
This is my first project as a producer. I’m fortunate to have had this success. We have completed 200 episodes. I have been very fortunate to have an excellent team. All my actors are very good.
What is the next benchmark-500 or 1000 episodes?
For a producer, the sky is the limit. Sometimes you don’t know; it can be 1000 or 2000 episodes; anything can happen. I don’t want to ask God for any particular number because he might have something better for me.
Transforming your image from a mythological character like Sita in Ramayan to playing in a social drama like Dhartiputra Nandini. What would you prefer to be called, like, Sita or Dipika?
I have lost that identity of Dipika or Sita; today, if you call me Sita Ji, I will turn my face. So, I’m synonymous with Sita, so it doesn’t disturb me anymore. Earlier, I used to feel, “Oh, I’m not Sita, I am Dipika!” but now I don’t feel so. Now if you call me Sita Ji, then I’m fine. Now I have accepted that Sita is my second name.
You got the name, fame, and almost everything from the mythological TV series Ramayan by playing Sita, but when it came to producing a TV series, you started with a social drama. Any comment?
I pitched a story to Nazara TV, and as soon as the story got over, I got okay from them. So, really, I didn’t get time to think about whether I should go for mythological Aerion or social drama. I went there with a story; that’s it. But when development started in the storyline, I said then that, whatever we do, I want Ayodhya as a backdrop, and I want Ramji somewhere in my story. How it will happen will depend on the writer, but I want at least a Ram Darbar in my house and try to show that this is the family that believes in Ram Ji; even I can accept that too. Right from the beginning, it was very clear that I wanted Ram Ji and Ayodhya somewhere in my serial. Even people were happy and said, Yes, yes, if you are there in the serial, then Ram Ji will just be there somewhere in this project. So, this is how we kept Ayodhya as the backdrop of the story and moved ahead.
You have been to Ayodhya Temple on January 22, 2024, on the inauguration day and even prior. What difference do you feel about the Ayodhya after and before January 22nd?
When I went earlier, Ram Ji was in the tent. When I saw Ram Ji, I had tears in my eyes. No one was allowed to go inside the tent, but I requested to go inside, and even people requested that “she is Sita Ji, at least let her go inside”. Then Pandit Ji allowed me to come inside. This way, I went to Garbhgrih when Ramji was in the tent. There was a small idol of Ram Lalla there, but it was so impactful that I can’t explain my feelings. Because only Ramji is everything in my life, when I saw him, I was literally crying and my body was shaking. That was my emotional bond with Ramji. When I went on January 22, the ambiance there was absolutely different. The way our Prime Minister came out of the temple and the way helicopters started showering flowers on the temple were mind-blowing. Thousands of people were there, and everybody was crying. Hardly 10–15 people may not have tears in their eyes, but everyone was crying. When you are connected that way, only then do such feelings come. The kind of weather, discussions, and flower showering we saw there were unbelievable and unforgettable. When I visited the temple, it was a magical experience to see Lord Ram in temple.
For building the Ayodhya temple, was political willpower required or something else?
I think something else was required. It was not about politics. Such subjects are connected to the heart. If it were not connected to our hearts, it would have been a political issue even today. Because political issues used to go on, but this was not that. I heard that every brick and piece of money used there are gone from each village in India. It is built on everyone’s collective contribution. Even on January 22, whoever was called there, they all came from their own expenses. It was not a government-sponsored program.
The actual revolution for Ayodhya Temple started in the 1980s and 1990s. During that time, the Ramayan serial was on air on the Doordarshan TV channel. Do you think the telecast of the Ramayan serial also gave a boost to this Ram Mandir revolution in other ways?
Ramanand Sagar ji didn’t make Ramayan serial to change the situation in Ayodhya. He made this from the heart to make us aware of Ramayan. Since people are not habitually reading books, audio-visual is the best medium that really attracts people. His thought process was that if this story is on electronic media, then it will reach everyone easily, and more and more people will come to know about the Ramayan’s story. But yes, because of this awareness, it might help the Ayodhya revolution.
After the completion of ‘Dhartiputra Nandini’, do you have any plans to start any project based on any part, sequence, or character of Ramayan?
I don’t know. I may start any such project. There are already many serials and films under production that are based on Ramayan. I am not sure, but I may think of making a serial Ramayan from Sita’s point of view.
What next after Dhartiputra Nandini from your production house?
At the moment, I have only Dhartiputra Nandini, but I would like to pitch more shows to the channels. Let’s see what avenues can be opened.
Do you have any film projects right now?
As an actor, I’m doing one film where I play Shivaji’s mother, Jijabai. My husband’s role is played by Arun Govil. I’m doing one more film where Arun Govil plays the role of my husband. Whenever it happens, I will definitely let you know.
Any message for the audience on the completion of 200 episodes of Dhartiputra Nandini?
I’d like to express my heartfelt love to everyone in the audience. I have tried my level best to make a good TV serial. I hope you will love it more and more. Just keep on loving us. My serial is there on Nazara TV at 8.30 p.m. Please keep on watching it. Give me more and more love so that I can bring you more and more good projects.