Telugu television serials rule the roost as one of the favourite home entertainments and according to statistics it is the fiction programming that enjoys TRPs. And to deliver the daily serial day after day to the waiting audience the cast works seven days of the week. “Unless you have interest and enjoy your work, you will not be able to work in this field,” says Ashika Padukone, who plays Avani, the much-loved lead character in in Star Maa’s serial ‘Kathalo Rajakumari’.
It is interesting how Ashika comes all the way from Bengaluru every alternate week to act in the serial. And it is a packed schedule when the actors shoot continuously for 12 hours and sometimes more. Yet, another television actress, who comes from Kannada land and has made her way into hearts of people is Aishwarya, the playful, mischievous Gauri, the lead character in the serial ‘Agni Saakshi’. She too travels to Hyderabad every alternate week and works nonstop minus a break, not even for festivals. I enjoy working, and the only thing I miss is seeing my family especially during festivals when I miss them the most,” she shares.
I had no plan to get into acting. I did theatre classes with the famous Vijayanagara Bimba when I was in my 10th class. I love to do classical dance, but I couldn’t get any formal training. I was studying BBA from Maharani College in Bengaluru when I was offered a role to act in television serials and I never stopped. I acted in Kannada serials like ‘Punarvivaha’ and ‘Kulavadhu’ when I was spotted by MAA team. There was a time when I was also acting in a Tamil serial, and I had no time for a break. In the beginning it was difficult. Now, I am used to it.
I love my work and my role. Gauri is a confident girl, who fights for justice. She is fearless, modern and fun loving and is not afraid to question the hero’s family’s orthodox ways. I like the scenes that show her doing naughty things. I have fun doing those scenes. I also learnt speaking in Telugu by speaking to everyone on sets.
While in school I was always drawn to extracurricular activities. I would participate in dance, singing…my father always reminded me about how these are hobbies and I should concentrate on studies. So, I never thought of acting. However, I learnt dance and Hindustani music. When I was doing engineering, my uncle from television field heard of a role and asked me to attend auditions. That is how I landed my first role. After I finished engineering I was offered yet another role, and I had a job in Accenture. My choice was to take up acting.
Today, I am working only in one serial ‘Kathalo Rajakumari’, and I shoot in Hyderabad, go back to my city, chill, enjoy and travel. But, if I am offered a good role anywhere that I cannot refuse I wouldn’t mind working through the month. I enjoy acting. There is something new that I can look forward to every day. There is so much to learn. I cannot imagine myself to be working in a 9-6 job in the software field. I am sure I would have felt like I was missing something in life had I chosen job over acting.
Avani is a well-loved character. She is a good-natured girl, who always thinks about making others happy. She does not mind sacrificing to help others. We do not find such people in today’s world. In the beginning it was difficult to follow Telugu, but today I can speak well. We have no timings to work. Once we began at 12 in the afternoon and worked till early next morning. My eyes were so red that I could no longer cry. Sometimes I don’t realise if its Saturday or Sunday when on shoot. If you love your work, you don’t mind the hard work.