I am playing a crazier version of myself: Mini Mathur

New avatar: Mini Mathur with Cyrus Sahukar in “Mind the Malhotras”

New avatar: Mini Mathur with Cyrus Sahukar in “Mind the Malhotras”  

Mini Mathur on her mega return to television with “Mind the Malhotras”

Those who grew up in the ‘90s, would remember Mini Mathur as one of the few popular female hosts when satellite television was in its nascent stage in India. From “Tol Mol Ke Bol” to being an MTV VJ, she did it all. Now Mini has ventured into acting with “Mind the Malhotras” on Amazon Prime where she is playing a wife, who along with her husband (played by Cyrus Sahukar), consults a therapist to save their boring marriage. Here she tells why she is back to acting, how it is different from hosting and her initial years in Delhi.


What intrigued you to return to small screen?

I get regular offers for acting but I was never interested in diversifying there because hosting is my first love. I was never sure about acting but this girl Shefali is crazy and I knew it will be so much fun to get into the shoes of this character. I gravitated towards it also because there is a small cast and you are spearheading the entire show. The character is so much close to me in reality that I was never under pressure to act. This does not mean I am playing myself but I am playing a crazier version of myself. I feel if it is not coming from within, it feels like playing a caricature but I understand Shefali’s sensibilities and I know where it is coming from.

What attracted you to do a situational comedy?

I loved the one-liner and when I got to know that Cyrus is doing the part of husband, I was sure that I can pull it off. Sometimes, you take a long time to understand the other person but that was not the case here as we know each other well. Comedy is a tough space and when you are shooting for thirty to forty days straight, you better get each other’s (comic) timing. It was easy for us to get there from the first day itself as we have the right chemistry on camera .

How things differ when you are acting and not hosting in front of camera?

I worked very hard as a TV host in bringing energy and spontaneity to the script. I used to keep yelling into the mic throughout the day! By the end of the day, you are all exhausted while hosting, but acting was very smooth for me. It was not easy in terms of portraying emotions but, in general, it was really soothing. When we are hosting, especially music shows like ‘Indian Idol’, you have to take care of music, people, real locations, which is very hectic but while shooting a series, the atmosphere is controlled.

We have had shows like “Sarabhai versus Sarabhai” which had a similar kind of feel. What makes this one different?

After a long time, there is a comedy that is dealing with real people and the reactions are very real. They have not been exaggerated to create humour. When we started television in early nineties, we had really quality programmes like ‘Hum Log’, ‘Khandan’, ‘Idhar Udhar’ which used to fill us with joy. The shows had a real impact on our life but slowly television became mass centric and the humour quotient was dumbed down. This show promises to take forward the legacy of good programming.

Do you think that OTT platforms are catering to the same audience which television catered to in its initial days?

In the initial years, the makers did not have the hurry to make the shows. They had longevity. Now everyone is making stuff not for fast viewing but appointment viewing. This is similar to the earlier days of television. Comedy with topicality is very essential. One joke can never have similar impact if it is told twice. Comedy has to be fresh and that is why it is a tough job to do. .

Being a mother yourself, how do you think the relationship between parents and children are changing and getting reflected in the stories these days?

Well, I can speak for this show. I certainly brought my own experiences to the table when we were reading it. The relationship is changing and that is beautifully taken care of in this series and it can actually help every age group to look at themselves and accept the weirdness that is creeping into our relationships. And yes, if you are already a parent, you understand the character better and bring a unique softness to it. The series is a slice of life experience and any person who has lived life can understand it.

The show has an urban feel to it...

The issues are very universal. This couple can come from Ludhiana, Meerut or Chandigarh. In the show, when the therapist asks what do you do for entertainment, the couple says that they watch TV (laughs). This is true for all. It is a reality that communication is going out of our relationships. It could have been given a very urban feel by making Shefali a very snooty woman but we have kept it very normal and that is why I think a lot of people can relate to the setting.

Since you are in Delhi, tell us how do you remember the initial professional days that you spent here?

I will always remain a Delhi girl at heart as I did my schooling and college here. I have been a lucky person to be in the television circle when all the good stuff was happening in Delhi. It was the starting point of television and Delhi was supposed to be the new centre. I know all about auditions and theatre circuit here. I was an advertising professional but television assignments fell into my lap. I never intended to be in the media but I did a game show, a travel show called ‘Namaste India’, first show on beauty called ‘Khoobsurat’.... I have been lucky to be at the crux of change in Delhi and I moved to Mumbai when the wave moved there.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 1:35:05 PM |

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