Kiran Kumar and Shubhangi make for an unusual ‘lead couple’ on television. At a time when young guns are hogging the prime time on TV, here’s a pair that defying the ‘lead’ picture, bringing to the table a much seasoned approach. In a candid chat, onscreen man and wife Govardhan Mehta and Ila Govardhan Mehta of Sanyukt talk to us about work, relationships and more.
Were you surprised when you were offered the role of a lead couple on a TV show?
Kiran: I loved the concept so much that I said yes instantly without thinking about anything else. I am an actor and I’m always ready for an interesting role. So there was no apprehension of any kind when they came to me with the idea.
Shubhangi: Not really. As an actor we are always aiming to do something different and substantial. The storyline was very powerful so the moment they approached me, I knew I had to say yes. Then the opportunity of working with an amazing actor like Kiranji was something I didn’t want to lose out on either. Things fell in place and here we are playing husband wife in the show.
Has anyone told you that you remind one of Baghban couple Amitabh and Hema?
Kiran: The comparison is very flattering but ours is a completely different take on the subject even though the protagonists of the show are a senior couple. I personally loved the movie Baghban a lot and would love to do a similar concept.
Shubhangi: Amitji and Hemaji did a wonderful job in Baghban. The film happens to be my favourite so, it’s really a heart warming feeling when you say we remind you of the couple.
You’ve both done a film together, so working once again as co-stars would’ve come easily?
Shubhangi: Yes, we worked together in Aakashvani. Kiranji is a veteran actor, a very courteous co-actor and there is so much to learn from him. So getting to work with him again has been a wonderful experience.
Kiran: Yes, she is a pleasure to work with.
Does filming romantic scenes get awkward at any point for you?
Shubhangi: It was not at all awkward because first of all, the scenes are endearing and far from uncomfortable. For our first romantic scene, Kiranji took my permission to hug me. He’s that much of a gentleman!
Kiran: Not at all, there is nothing to be awkward about. The scenes are heart-warming, if anything.
A lot is being said about your onscreen chemistry. Are you happy with the results?
Shubhangi: Being immersed in our characters is the key to making our on-screen chemistry appear real. To feel the emotions of the character we play is the only way to make audiences believe your performance. And that seems to be working in our favour. People are liking Ila and Govardhan as a couple. We are obviously happy with the results.
Kiran: Our chemistry works as Govardhan and Ila and not as Kiran and Shubhangi. Being true to the moment and dedication towards our characters makes the audiences believe in our characters. I have been getting very encouraging feedback from people so yes, I am happy with the response.
Who would you call a better co-star?
Shubhangi: Kiranji is a better actor and a wonderful co-star any day. He infuses life into my performance.
Kiran: I think Shubhangi is a better actor and co-star. She makes working with her so easy. AI am glad they cast her as my better half in the show.
Have you ever ended up laughing while filming a scene?
Shubhangi: There is so much dedication and seriousness in our scenes that it does not seem funny. It’s unthinkable for us to laugh while delivering a scene.
Kiran: Most of our scenes are dramatic and serious. We don’t end up laughing.
Are re-takes common for you?
Shubhangi: Of course they do we are human after all. I take more re-takes.
Kiran: Shubhangi will answer that better (laughs) because takes retakes than me.
Your favourite corner on the set?
Kiran: Banquet hall.
Your favourite food on the set?
Shubhangi: Home cooked food.
Kiran: Home cooked food.
Your 2 am buddy on the set?
Shubhangi: My pillow.
Kiran: Our director Prince.
Things you cannot do without on the set?
Shubhangi: My spectacles and mobile phone.
Kiran: My one man army (driver, cook, valet, manager) - Jaykumar.
Your favourite line on the set?
Shubhangi: Pack up.
Kiran: Jay Sai Raam.
Your stress buster on the set?
Shubhangi: Music is my stress buster.
Kiran: My little bag of convenience in which I have everything stuffed.
Shubhangi: Shah Rukh Khan.
Kiran: My wife.
Your first crush?
Shubhangi: My husband.
Kiran: My wife.
Your wildest fantasy?
Shubhangi: In the valleys of Kashmir.
Kiran: In the exotic Caribbean Islands, sipping a mojito.