Mumbai: One of television’s popular soaps, Diya Aur Baati Hum just completed three years and from the looks of it, continues to maintain its fan-following. Protagonist Deepika Singh or Sandhya as she’s called on the show, says it feels like just yesterday, when it was her first day on the sets. Ask her what keeps her going even after three years and she says, “It’s my first show and I feel like I am learning something new every day. I never feel like I have perfected a character, so I am never bored of playing Sandhya. Every day is a whole new experience.”
What Deepika likes about her character is the fact that she gets to play two very different personalities on the same show that of a bahu in a traditional household on one hand, and that of an IPS officer on the other. The transformation made her a tad jittery, she admits. “When I signed the show, I was told that the IPS track would start after 100 episodes. But while I was prepared for it, I don’t think the audience was. They loved me as a bahu, which is why I played that character for almost two years before making the shift. Then when it was time to switch over to the tough cop role, I was apprehensive about how the audience would react. Besides, I was slightly overweight then. My husband who was then the director of the show told me that he would not use a body double for me and that I have to find a way to lose weight on my own. So I started dieting. Rigorous diets coupled with hectic shoot schedules resulted in me fainting on the sets,” she recalls.
The actress recently got married to Rohit Raj Goyal, who quit as the director of DABH. Now that she’s married, Deepika is playing dual roles again that of a wife and a television actor. How is she juggling these roles? “Since my husband belongs to the same industry, he and his family understand the work pressure and long hours of shoot. I shoot for close to 12 hours everyday. For me work is priority and my mother-in-law understands that. On festivals like Teej and Raksha Bandhan, I am never at home. At the most I can squeeze in half an hour, so my mother-in-law goes out of her way to adjust things to my schedule — even if that means having a puja at 5.30 in the morning, so I can participate.”
A while ago, there was a buzz in the industry about Raj favouring Deepika, over the other actors of DABH. Deepika however dismisses the buzz. “We did not make our relationship public till the time Raj decided to quit the show because of these talks. I didn’t mind people talking about me but why drag Raj into this? The show has been doing so well and I’ve put in so much effort into it. It does hurt when people say such things, because there is no truth to it.”
Not one to take accusations lightly, the actress had also filed a case against a website for alleging that she turned up drunk at an awards function. “I had filed a case because it’s not just about me but my family’s reputation too. I am not just an actor, but a wife and a daughter-in-law. I was performing a stunt on a bike (at the said awards function). How could I have done that drunk?” Unapologetic (and dramatic) about her gaze, the actress makes no bones about confessing, “Meri aankhen nashili hai (my eyes are intoxicating). If people talk to me for long they feel sleepy and I have always taken that as a compliment. People should clarify with me before writing such things. Sometimes, such rumours can hurt.”