Surekha Sikri has given mother-in-law a new meaning
Television is replete with snarling mothers-in-law. But since Surekha Sikri has taken stage, as the hard-nosed Dadi-sa in “Ballika Vadhu”, others seem to be innocuous, overdressed ladies. Result, the series has become the number one show on TV.
“Right people have always noticed my work, but this is the first time that the masses are appreciating my work,” says Sikri.
Among these right people, Shyam Benegal tops her list.She won her second National Award for the best actress in a supporting role for Benegal’s “Mammo.” “He draws the maximum out of me.” She also got her National Award for “Tamas”, but after the touching performance, she was hardly seen on the small screen. “When television lost touch with literature and inanity descended, I decided to avoid the medium, but I couldn’t say no to “Ballika Vadhu”, because after a long time I got a script where I could showcase my potential as an actor.”
An NSD graduate, Sikri holds opportunity is a big word in the entertainment medium. “Your talent is useless, unless you get a role. The bottom line is, script is the backbone of any performance. I can make a character layered, only if script gives me an opportunity to be vulnerable and arrogant at the same time. I am fortunate that I got to play all I wanted in theatre; otherwise it is quite frustrating for an actor. The advantage with actors is they never age. Stars fizzle out within a few years.” Sikri holds that what makes Dadi-sa special is, it is not an out-and-out negative character. “She has a viewpoint. It may be old fashioned, but she is protective of her sons, and at times, even daughters-in-law. It makes her real. I am not from Rajasthan, but over the years I have seen and read about such characters. It helped me as an actor because such people and their behaviour are there in your sub-conscience.”
As for how much she associates with Dadi-sa, Sikri says: “I love to play characters which are true to themselves. It helps me in making them convincing. Beyond that, it is all script.” As always, the industry is now after her to cash in the popularity, but Sikri says: knows the tricks of the trade too well.ANUJ KUMAR