It’s raining sequels for Sucheta Khanna. The actor, popularly known as Indumati from Sab TV’s “Lapataganj”, falls into the remote category of actors who successfully balance a raging career on TV and a foray into filmdom. While “Lapataganj” comes back for a second season this month, she will also be seen in the sequel to “Yamla Pagla Deewana”, which is releasing this Friday. In a telephonic interview, the actor who made comic female protagonists popular on television talks to us about “Yamla Pagla Deewana 2”, television and more. Excerpts:
You have been a consistent part of the “Yamla Pagla Deewana” franchise. Tell us a little bit about your role in the second movie and how the character has changed from the first one.
In the first movie I played a simple Punjabi girl, Poli, whose sole aim in life was to get married and go to Canada, whereas in the second movie I play a comic villain, Babli, to Johnny Lever’s Bunty. In this movie we try different getups to kill Sunny Deol but to no avail, especially because the moment my character sees him she falls in love with him. The only similarity is that in both movies the love, unfortunately, remains one-sided.
You have always stayed away from conventional women portrayals, both on film and television. Has there been any conscious effort to break the norm?
Not at all! I have never planned anything and I always go by instinct. Though times are changing now, the convention is that a heroine should only be in the 16 to 24 age bracket. I would love to do roles that are available to actors in Hollywood, where their films are not time and age-bound. But we are moving forward now, and I want to be part of this change and take up roles that are author-backed and character-oriented. In that respect, there has been some effort but largely it has always been about my instinct.
Since you have been mostly associated with comedy on film and television, do you think that the scope for women comedians is are now increasing in the country and do you think that there are perceptions about you making a big leap from a being a B grade television actor coming from lesser-known channel?
Yes, times are changing, but the fact remains that not many women choose comedy as a genre for the simple reason that comedy is not an easy craft. Whether it is films or television, comedy is all about technicality, timing and grasping the little nuances. But in television, one’s performance tends to be a little louder, a lot of gestures, dramatic expressions, widening one’s eyes, etc. The big screen itself is so encompassing, that there it all becomes about subtlety. As it is there is so much competition in our field, so I am personally quite happy with the little competition that I have in my genre as it enables me to not tax myself too much. The fact that I am associated with a smaller channel does not hinder me in any way because, I see the channel as a parent. Like a child is unfazed by the financial condition of the parents, it is the same for me, and I like to do my bit in taking the channel to higher echelons.
How do you strike a balance between films and television?
I would say that I have been very fortunate to have very understanding producers who always encourage me to take up film roles. Especially since these are big banners offering good roles, both the channel and the producers are always ready to adjust even if I am bound by a contract. I feel very blessed that way.
Finally, what will 2013 see Sucheta Khanna doing?
On the television front, I like to do only one show at a time so I will be seen in “Lapataganj: Ek Baar Phir”. Moreover Indumati’s character has been so popular that I want put all my effort to take that role forward. In films, “Yamla Pagla Deewana 3” has been announced, though the story has not yet been written. There is another movie that will go on the floors only early next year, so I can only talk about it then. Since film shooting is far less time-consuming than television, I am open to any other exciting role that comes my way.