Their off-screen equation may have encountered several outrageous rumours over the years but luckily, their magical chemistry on the screen has stayed unaffected by the muck. Anas Rashid and Deepika Singh can easily be called the perfect on screen pair on the tube. As Suraj and Sandhya on Diya Aur Baati Hum, the sizzling jodi has successfully ruled the marquee as the most happening couple on television and is still going strong. In a candid conversation, the pair tells us what keeps them going. Excerpts:
How did you guys break the ice the first time on set?
Anas: I took the initiative to break the ice with her. She was very new and hence shivering on the sets; her nervousness was very visible. I went to her and held her hand. And then I whispered ‘I am with you don’t worry Diya bati, hum sath sath hai’ in her ears. The lines made her laugh instantly and then she was cool. That’s how we got talking.
Deepika: I met him during the audition and thought, gosh! He is so handsome and nice. I was like, ‘Kitna handsome hero mila hai mujhe; how lucky am I!’
Was it ever awkward filming the romantic scenes?
Anas: It was difficult for her given her shy nature. I was a mushtanda (strong guy) who had romanced many women on screen, so it wasn’t awkward for me. While doing such scenes, it’s important to share a certain comfort level with your co-star. But that happens over time. So she took her own sweet time to warm up to me.
Deepika: Yes, it was awkward for me. I am the type who has never even danced in the presence of her parents even though I am a trained dancer; I was that shy. Romancing on screen was something I had never imagined even in my wildest dream. I was very nervous filming all those romantic scenes. I didn’t even watch Titanic because it had a love-making scene! So you can easily imagine how tough it was for me to romance on screen.
So, what makes your on screen chemistry work?
Anas: We have immense faith on each other. I guess that makes our chemistry work. It’s just the eyes that say, ‘How dare you touch me?’ But luckily we share good vibes and are comfortable with each other so chemistry happens pretty effortlessly
Deepika: Anas and I are an interesting casting and the credit for that goes to the production house. The Suraj-Sandhya chemistry is very magical by God’s grace. I somehow feel we were destined to play these larger than life characters and we were also destined to have a great chemistry.
Who is a better co-star among the two of you?
Anas: I think she is a better co-star. She is very amiable and dedicated. She makes working together so easy.
Deepika: I think success is always a team effort. Anas has a huge role in that. Without his involvement, this magic was impossible. So, the credit goes to both of us for being good and delivering the best.
How many times have you burst out laughing while filming a scene?
Anas: I think all the time. How else do I calm my nerves! Whenever I feel uncomfortable, I just burst out laughing.
Deepika: So many times! I end up laughing because we are not the people we portray on the screen. So we laugh at ourselves, for the way we act.
Which one of you takes more re-takes?
Anas: I never count my retakes. It depends; there are a few scenes that are done in just one take and then there are those that take too many retakes. To avoid retakes, it’s better to do more rehearsals.
Deepika: Retakes are a chance to do better, for me, so I love them. However, since it’s a daily show, we can’t afford to take many retakes, so we try our best to do the scene in just one take.
Is there any particular scene that’s made its way to your heart?
Anas: I still remember that scene with Bhabo where she is angry with me and I go to her with rabdi and apologise. That was a emotional maa-beta scene and so, it’s kind of special.
Deepika: Sandhya’s character has made its way to my heart. I love each moment of essaying her on the screen. The character is very inspirational. I also love the way I transformed my body for the mission Mahabali track where I had to do some heavy-duty action sequences. As a child I hated participating in sports thinking, who would work so hard and here I was doing all that action myself. It was an amazing experience I will cherish all my life.
Any scene that’s made you go ‘I wish I had done it better’?
Anas: After watching every scene I feel I could have done it better.
Deepika: I always think that. In daily soaps, you just get a script and you have to instantly get out of your vanity and perform. On an average, we have to do eight to nine scenes in a day, so there is lot of pressure. We don’t really get time to understand the scene. I always think if I had more time at hand I would have done it in a different way.
One thing you like and dislike about each other?
Anas: Deepika is very passionate and sincere as an actor. I really like that about her. The only thing I dislike about her is her inability to control her laughter. She just keeps laughing and I get irritated and yell, ‘bas karo yaar!’
Deepika: I like the way he portrays his character Suraj. Honestly, I don’t have any rights to dislike him because we are working in a professional field. We have to accept the person as they are. He is not my friend or boyfriend where I can have the liberty of disliking him. I don’t see anybody’s weakness. At the end of the day, we have to do our job.
Any interesting fan comments on your jodi that have caught your eye?
Anas: So many, actually. They call us ‘Surya’ I find that cute.
Deepika: It’s a long list. In fact, they feel I am married to him! They think I am his real wife. I find it amusing and special.
Rapid Fire questions
Your favourite corner on the set?
Anas: My makeup room.
Deepika: My make makeup room because I prepare myself for the scenes there.
Your favourite food on the set?
Anas: Ghar ka khaana.
Deepika: Tea. I drink lot of tea.
Your 2 am buddy on the set?
Deepika: Kanika Maheshwari.
Things you cannot do without on the set?
Anas: I cannot do without my boy. He is my lifeline on the sets.
Deepika: Peace of mind and script.
Your favourite line on the set?
Anas: Itne paise mein itnaich milenga!
Deepika: Kar lo na yaar!
Your stress buster on the set?
Anas: Shouting at everybody.
Deepika: Kanika and Bhabho.
Your wildest fantasy?
Anas: Having my honeymoon in the air, travelling from one continent to another.
Deepika: My wildest fantasy is to be with Rohit (Raj Goyal, husband) in a bikini.
Your dream date?
Anas: Salma Hayek.
Deepika: It’s going to happen soon! Candle light dinner by the sea in Goa, wearing a long gown, with Rohit. It’s very filmy!
Your first crush?
Deepika: My classmate in 7th grade.I didn’t even know I had a
crush on him.