Urvashi Sharma (name changed to Raina Joshi) is best remembered for her debut film, Naqaab (2007), starring Akshaye Khanna and Bobby Deol. She gave up acting after her marriage to actor-producer Sachiin Joshi.
Now, she is set to make a comeback with her first television serial, Ek Maa Jo Lakhon Ke Liye Bani Amma.
Urvashi plays the title role of Amma in this period drama set between 1950-1980.
The serial explores the journey of a single mother, who becomes a female don, through the five decades after her husband deserts her in the wake of Partition.
Amma, which is being shot at Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad, will premiere on June 25 at 10.30 pm on Zee TV.
Urvashi discusses her comeback with Rediff’s contributor Rajul Hegde.
What made you decide to resume your acting career?
The fabulous script, the storyline and the way the show has been shot. They aren’t shooting it like a daily soap but like a movie.
It’s an author backed role. In films, women don’t get the opportunity to explore themselves, but TV does offer a lot of scope.
TV is female-centric while Bollywood is male-dominated.
The most important factor is that it’s not a saas-bahu (mother-in-law and daughter-in-law) saga. It is a story of an ordinary woman who is faced with demanding circumstances, how she tackles what comes her way and becomes a godmother for everyone.
What’s the challenging part of this assignment?
Since we are shooting in Hyderabad, the first thing that came to my mind was my two-and-a-half year old daughter, Samaira.
Being the youngest in the family, she is pampered a lot. She calls herself Princess Kuku and believes that she is God’s gift to mankind (laughs).
To bring her to Hyderabad and give her the same comfort she has at home (in Mumbai) was a big challenge.
She loves cars and helicopters, not Barbie dolls or kitchen sets. I have made all possible arrangements so that she doesn’t get bored in our Hyderabad home. My mother takes care of her when I am shooting.
How did you prepare for this role?
I have spoken to a few Muslim women, observed their body language, the way they dress and talk. For the rest, I have followed the script.
Initially, my character is soft; later, after she becomes powerful, her tone changes.
Did the show interest you more because you are a mother now?
Yes, definitely. Motherhood is amazing. Kids bring joy in your life. Motherhood changes you completely — you become more sensitive, sensible, loving and caring. Actually, you love your mother when you become a mother.
There is a buzz that the story is based on the life of the famous godmother, Jenabai Daruwali.
There were many other women like Jenabai that people don’t know (about) because they weren’t publicised.
It could be the story of any woman who is trying to survive with her child after husband deserts her post Partition.
Is it true that you are using your own jewellery for the show? What is the best thing about your look?
Yes, I am using my gold jewellery as I am allergic to artificial jewellery. I had rashes all over my body on the second day.
I never wore this kind of jewellery because I wear diamonds and precious stones in real life. Now I have no choice but to buy gold jewellery, but it will add to my collection (smiles).
My look has been styled by Ajay Kumar (who has designed the costumes for Ramleela, Bajirao Mastaniand Phantom). He is very talented and I am happy with my look.
I wear a salwar-kameez with a dupatta covering my head, which is quite different from what I wear in real life — I prefer Western outfits.
The best thing about my look is that it will hide all the flab (smiles).
Will your character, Zeenat, create an impact in the minds of viewers?
Definitely. Every young girl will feel that she should grow up and be like Zeenat.
Every woman will consider her as a role model; she will be an inspiration to all women.