It is not everyday that you get around to talking with a celebrity who is your namesake, even has the same initials but I did manage to get around to talking to Surbhi Chandna, who is total fun to converse to.
While we were at it, we managed to talk about her latest win at ATVA awards, her sizzling chemistry with co-star Nakuul Mehta and the colourful consummation scene that looked nothing short of painting.
During the conversation, we also broached on the upcoming vanvaas track that has become the talk of the town already.
Excerpts from the interview.
How will you describe your journey of Anika so far?
It is beautiful yar…It is a beautifully sketched character. It is one character that has all these ups, downs and all kinds of emotions. I think as an actor it has been a very big challenge to play Anika.
I never expected that I would have to pull off all the comedy and also be serious, to be sombre or to be someone that has not such a good past.
So all kinds of emotions I had to emote. There was a phase where SSO used to manhandle me but that was also out of love, that is how he is and how she has made him fall in love with her.
The whole journey is beautiful. As an actor, I have quite enjoyed it as I got to play so many emotions on screen.
What has been your favourite track from the journey of Ishqbaaaz?
If I had to pick, then I like the track where I lose my memory. Of course, it was more that SSO and I as a team pretended that I have lost my memory.
Then there was this track where Anika came to the realisation that she has fallen in love with SSO. Anika has never been in love, she does never felt that kind of emotion but then she fell in love with SSO.
In fact I was watching this episode only yesterday. So there is this whole scene, where she hides as she cannot see SSO eye to eye and also if he even touches her, she breaks down because she realises how can she be in love with this person.
I think we have had some very good track. We have had these rom-com tracks like there was one where we had a baby come in. I used to love when Tia was around and there were Tia-Anika scenes. Our show has been beautiful that way.
Anything about the Anika-Shivaay relationship that you would want to change?
Of course in the initial phase where Shivaay manhandles me, that I may want to change but now the journey is so beautiful.
The progression has been phenomenal. How these characters have fallen in love, stand by each other, protect each other. Duniya gayi tel lene pehle ek dusre ko protect karte hai.
They don’t even think about themselves. So, there is nothing that I would want to change about them as it is the equation that works and get us best Jodi awards.
What according to you is the raaz for this sizzling chemistry that is getting you so many awards?
I don’t know. We are still trying to figure out, which is again very nice. I think when you know what works then the magic goes. The magic is when you have no clue on why it is working. It is mysterious.
Also we understand our characters so well. We have also now come to stage where in we know when he is giving me a line and how I have to emotionally emote.
Both Nakuul and I are very emotionally connected to our characters and the pair. I am very emotional about Shivika.
So when I play scenes with SSO, magic just happens. I like it that ways. I don’t know what works. However, whatever we do, I feel it, we take our time to find the root to perform it. So we achieve that realism. I think why people are able to connect to us is because we are real. We don’t go overboard with our acting. We keep it very subtle and guess that translates on television and looks pretty.
There are also those Anika dialogues that we have gotten use to like 2 Rupees?
(Laughs) So in real life as Surbhi, I am not at all like that. Yeah I am very mastikhor. I have been friends with my dialogue writers Divi and Aprajita for quite some time.
I have done a show earlier with them too which is called Qubool Hai and now we are doing Ishqbaaaz and we also party together.
So they have picked some instances of my language but they deserve the full credit to incorporate that into the character. There are so many words that they have added to my vocabulary such as michmichi, tadibaaz that I had not even heard before.
So we say these words like tai tai phis but then we use those within a dialogue. Even today I was doing this emotional scene with Daadi and I was telling her that koi bhi mushkil aayegi to hum uski tai tai phis kar denge. It is her vocab but the way she mentions, it feels so real. So I give them full credit, they invent so many of such words.
Even people when they come to take selfies with me, they always request to say some of these dialogues.
I like how they have made it, also I try to keep it real when I say those words. It is not very easy to use these words in a sentence like that as they can end up looking very odd or even funny.
But I try to own them and say. I think it is important and I am trying to do that to the best I can.
There are so many people now re-entering the show, so where do you think the track for Ishqbaaaz is now progressing?
I think it is heading in the right direction now. This is why people had put in their trust to the show. Honestly we are now heading into the vanvaas track as it is very evident.
The new promos are out. Ram Sita’s Vanvaas is what we are playing around. It is a separation track. It is full of emotion and a lot of drama.
Seperation as in Shivay Anika separating?
No no. That is not going to happen (laughs). No, Shivika won’t separate. Shivika will leave the house as Shivaay being the great wall of sacrifice will take matters in his own hands.
So in vanvaas will Lakshman also go with you or will it be Bharat accompanying?
Bharat won’t go but he will try and bring us back. Lakshman won’t go for sure. I don’t know we are still trying to crack a story.
We are filming the episodes where we shall be leaving the house. So let’s see but yeah we are leading to the vanvaas tack as predicted by Svetlana about Lanka ko aag lagegi. So the track looks very promising.
So till now what has been the most difficult to shoot… was it the consummation track with all the paint…..?
Don’t even get me there yaar. The only thing that I remember now is what I had to go through after the whole shoot. I lost a lot of hair but the visual was so stunning.
I have not seen something like this on television. I seriously feel that I am very blessed. So the complements that I have been getting including that from my mom were that it did not look vulgar or cheap rather it looked sensuous, it looked sexy and it looked that the two people were in love. It was not like the typical consummation scene on television.
We wanted to achieve something and we managed to achieve that. It was a difficult shoot and yes I lost a lot of hair but it was totally worth it as we got so many compliments for that.
As Shivaay Anika also we had to progress and through that consummation that journey looked so complete.
Tell us one thing about Anika that you truly love and one thing that you truly hate?
Well I am not sure that a character like Anika exists. Of course, she does in form of her fun antics being blunt, being bold but scarifying everything for husband… sure people do that when they are in love. We are living in an era where I think that people don’t do that anymore as we keep hearing about so many divorces.
Both these characters have such a beautiful love that they share. Anika has gone through so much, like the initial manhandling by Shivaay and has very tactually handled the situation.
So I think these are some very beautiful things about Anika. I keep getting tweets that how people like the character, they look up to her and she is an inspiration.
I also like the fact that she is so blunt and stands up for what she believes in life. She does not shy away from standing up for anybody.
If there is a family matter, she will not be a typical bahu that will sit quietly in the corner. She will speak her mind ; She is sweet, funny, loving.
People have been able to connect with the character because it is such a real character. I don’t think I dislike anything about her. Yeah, she cries too much that I don’t like.
Apart from Nakuul, who do you get along the most on the sets?
We all get along really well with each other. We eat our lunches together. I have the girls with me, Mansi, Shrenu, Reyhna, now Neha is back, Navina is back too.
Navina is such a nice vibe to have. I was the most excited when I got to know that Navina was getting back. She has been such a help throughout the journey.
Being so old in the industry, she is one person who has always been supportive. She will tell what kind of makeup works. Even working as contemporises, there is completion as well as she was also paired opposite Shivaay and so was I but she as a person is total opposite of her character on screen.
She will guide you, she will be there for you, she will hear you out and she is such a nice soul. So I am very happy to have her back on set.
Neha has been like a baby doll for me. Today we met after so long. She has been like a sister.
So I have all the three girls Shrenu, Mansi, Reyhna. Similarly me, Leenesh, Kunal have bonded so well with SSO.
There is also Siraj who plays my father in law Shakti, he is such a fun on sets. Hence you will see a lot of my posts saying that Ishqbaaaz is one set where the energy is just right.
There is no sh*t happening, so there is only work and then post work there is only fun. I was telling them also when they were congratulating me for the win that we are blessed with the right kind of people. I think people will want to be on a set like this.