Princess of Telugu Television
Princess of Telugu Television. Gouri and Archana are the names, which always remind one about the gorgeous woman on Telugu television - Asmita...
Asmita Karnani is the most sought after name in Telugu TV industry today. In her career, spanning over 14 years, she has carved a niche for herself and language was hardly a barrier
Gouri and Archana are the names, which always remind one about the gorgeous woman on Telugu television - Asmita Karnani. She shares her journey of 14 years of being in the big world of the small screen.
When did the acting bug bite you?
It was a childhood passion. I was very much tantalised with the concept of dancing and modeling. I spent hours and hours standing before the mirror and checking out myself. I also knew that it would never happen because my whole family wouldn’t be comfortable with the notion. In college, I used to get modelling assignments and they made it very clear that this won’t be happening and asked me to forget my dreams.
Can you share about your childhood and college days?
I was born in Calcutta, after that we moved to Hyderabad, when I was a year-and-a-half and that too because of our family business that branched out to Hyderabad. My schooling and college has been in Hyderabad, so I consider myself a Hyderabadi more than anything else. I come from very conservative Marwadi family , but things have changed with time.
How did your journey in TV industry begin?
I started off with modelling and fashion shows. Actually, I won a contest and my pictures went to different agencies and Tollywood producers as well. Initially, I received more calls for modelling and advertisements. But, my parents were not comfortable with the idea. So, I started to persuade them and later I took small modelling assignments while doing my graduation. At the same time, I was getting offers from TV soaps and movies but keeping my parents in mind I decided venture into TV serials.
Did anyone reject you when they learned that you can’t speak Telugu?
Fortunately nothing of that sort happened. But earlier, when I was chosen for serials they used to mock me, which fortunately or unfortunately I could not understand because there was language issue of course. You can make out people are not really liking this. It’s not because you come from a different community but it is more to do with language. I took it up as a challenge; whenever someone tried to put me down, I try to come up with even more passion towards my work. I started to learn the language. The conscious effect to learn the language made me to perform well and also, I could silence the people who spoke against me.
You have been in the industry from 14 years and acted in 35 shows, so what changes do you see?
Earlier they were a set of rules and regulations. If you are playing the heroine there is a style, which is unalterable. Now things have changed for better. Audience’s perspective changed and so, qualitywise everything has gone up drastically - sets, technology and richness everything changed.
You have essayed a role of mother in serials very initially in your career. Why?
(Laughs) Many people ask me this question. I take pride in this. I look good in both mother and main lead roles. I never did just the mother role. There always has been one mother and one young role running simultaneously. I never take up a project where I’m directly shown as a mother. Somehow people remember me as mother. So I decided to only take age-wise characters. No more mother roles for me.
How do you manage so many shows at a time?
I don’t take up more than two shows. If you see my career graph, I have never done a lot of shows at same time. It’s always done 2-3 projects maximum. I don’t prefer working more than 20 days a month. Sometimes, suddenly you have to re-enter into a show, which you left long ago. So that is the only time when I have been in three shows.
Was there any character that you thought was the toughest?
Most of the heroine roles, till now, were pretty much on the same lines. When you portraying the role of a positive character, you don’t have to display lot of emotions. Right now in ‘Seetamahalakshmi’ where I’m playing hard core negative character, the role is a challenge for me as it is different from what I have been doing all these years.
You took a tough stand when a few guys harassed you and you became an idol for many other women too. I’ve done my bit. Whenever I go through such situations, I just cannot shut up and look the other way. That would be like killing something within me. If some situation is unfair towards me, I have to speak up.
That was not the first time it happened. Earlier too the same thing happened, but I could not react because I was shocked. However, I decided I will not keep quiet if it happens next time with me. And, when it happened for the second time, I took my phone to click the pictures but couldn’t. The third time, I took pictures and posted them on Facebook, which went viral and people learnt what actually happened. Many thought I was faking. But it doesn’t bother me.
Many Hindi serials are dubbed into Telugu. Can we say that Telugu TV industry doesn’t have scripts at all?
It just a mutual exchange. An actor from Hindi serial was telling me that most of the Hindi serials are copied from south Indian serials.
Films are crossing overseas but our soaps are still stuck up with Saas-Bahu drama. Don’t you think this style should be changed?
Absolutely! I am wishing and hoping someone comes and changes the trend, where women can be portrayed in much more stronger roles. Women today are strong enough, but still, our soaps project women in an unrealistic way. Coming up with hypothesis is not a big deal. It should be a hit with the audience also. And when that happens the others will follow it.
By Abhyudaya Karamchetu