Neha Joshi is back on TV. The actor, who has been a part of several Marathi films and was last seen in Ek Mahanayak B.R. Ambedkar, will now be essaying the role of Yashoda in &TV’s Doosri Maa. In an exclusive interview with News18 Showsha, Neha opened up about playing a mother in two consecutive TV shows, and the fear of being type casted. She also spoke about getting married just a few weeks before the show aired, and how she’s managing the new beginnings in both her personal and professional front. Excerpts…
We have seen you in Marathi cinema, Marathi serials and then in the Hindi TV show, Ek Mahanayak B.R. Ambedkar. Now, you are back again in the Hindi serial with Doosri Maa. What motivated you to take up the show?
I consider myself fortunate to have worked in the Marathi industry and been part of some successful films and television shows. The reason for taking up Doosri Maa is the people around me and the strong character they have offered me to play. This is my second show with &TV and Imitiaz Ji. I previously collaborated with them on Ek Mahanayak- Dr B.R. Ambedkar. I played Bhimabai’s role, the young Ambedkar’s mother, played by Aayudh Bhanushali in the show. Our mother-son pair was widely appreciated. Our chemistry especially stood out, and people loved it. Therefore, when the story of Doosri Maa, which is again about a mother and son, was offered to me, I said yes in no time. However, in this show, the storyline is completely different, and so is the onscreen chemistry between the two.
We all know that shooting with children can prove tricky or difficult since they perform in their own way. What were the challenges, and the fun part of shooting with Aayudh Bhanushali, and how was it reuniting with him after Ek Mahanayak: B. R Ambedkar?
I never thought Aayudh and I would get an opportunity to work together again! We are quite happy and excited. We have always stayed in touch, even after our roles in our previous show were over. We made it a point to call, text, and meet each other whenever we could. Our bond has always been very close and special. He is more like a son to me. We care a lot about each other. So, when I got to know about reuniting again for Doosri Maa, I was on top of the moon and couldn’t have wished for a better co-star than Aayudh. We have always enjoyed our time together, and now we will spend plenty of time playing, conversing, and even rehearsing.
TV, generally, is more hectic, with regular shoot schedules and requires a very long-term commitment, as compared to films. You also need to stick to playing just one character. Did that bother you when you took up Doosri Maa? Also, why did you make the switch from Marathi films to Hindi TV shows?
I am very adaptable to any work commitment. Whenever I take on a new character, I give it my all. I believe nothing makes you feel stressed if you love what you do. Honestly, long shift hours don’t bother me as I enjoy my work completely. I am always eager to explore new opportunities or unique roles. For me, playing any character for an extended period allows you to experience a wide range of emotions. In terms of the future, I am open to any good opportunity in the Marathi and Hindi industries.
Playing a mom in two Hindi serials back-to-back, do you feel any pressure of being typecast?
For me what matters is the journey, portrayal, and personality of the character. A strong personality not only stands out but also helps an artist grow. I believe in portraying memorable, relatable characters who stand out, particularly in terms of personality and journey in the storyline. As an actor, I believe these are essential elements for creating a compelling onscreen persona. Yashoda’s character provides an excellent opportunity for me to explore and highlight various aspects of her personality. And, in my opinion, the audience has evolved, becoming more accepting of actors. Many actresses who previously played mothers’ characters are now playing main characters. There was a time when age and personality were obstacles, but times have changed. So, if I have to play another mother’s role, I’m fine with that.
Congratulations on your wedding. How did you balance the new beginnings in both your personal and professional life?
They say that finding the right life partner makes life easier, and something similar is happening in my case. Omkar is a wonderfully supportive husband. I remember being offered this show when we finalized our wedding dates and told that I had to shoot in Jaipur because the set was there. Though I was thrilled to be a part of the show, I was concerned about how everything would be handled, from show preparation to wedding preparation to immediate departure for another city. But he was the one who made me feel at ease. And to be honest, everything went so smoothly that I didn’t even realize anything. It’s been many years since we met, and we have stayed in a live-in for nearly eight months. So, we have spent a lot of time together. We both respect work. And coming from a demanding industry like showbiz, I think not just us, but any couple will understand this. I feel lucky to have him on my side as a support to manage everything together.
Finally, what has been the best part of shooting Doosri Maa so far?
We are shooting our show in Jaipur, and it’s been an incredible experience. Even though our shooting schedule keeps us busy, our team tries to get out and explore the pink city whenever possible. I enjoy food, and this city has some delectable delicacies that we all know and love, so I am enjoying that as well (laughs).