Very few television actresses enjoy the popularity Shweta Tiwari does, even after two decades in the industry. She has starred in top Ekta Kapoor shows, participated in dance reality shows, won Bigg Boss Season 4, and continues to reinvent herself in different characters.
She has also handled two nasty separations with grace, never failing as a mother to her teenage daughter Palak and now her toddler son Reyansh.
Currently featuring as a middle-aged woman alongside Varun Badola in Mere Dad Ki Dulhan, the actress spoke to us about her career choices and how she is too busy to make time for a show like Bigg Boss.
Are you happy to finally star in an age appropriate role in Mere Dad Ki Dulhan?
One thing unique about this TV industry is that your age doesn’t matter. You look more or less the same at every age – be it 20 or 80. I never had to bring about much of a change in my looks while playing an older character. But yes, I did have to change mannerisms and behaviour according to the character, but other than that, I have never had to alter my looks much.
You play Guneet Sikka in Mere Dad Ki Dulhan, a Punjabi woman in Delhi. How did you prepare?
They told me what the character is like, that she is a woman from Delhi. Talks in the local slang. I haven’t been able to ace it yet, I wished someone taught me how to talk like that. She is not sophisticated, she talks like a local woman whose English is not good. She also walks and talks differently.
The show is also about single parenthood. Did that help you connect to it as a single mother in real life?
It’s not necessary for me to connect to a character, it’s important for me to understand it. I am an actor, I get into the skin of the character and perform accordingly. Audiences need to connect to it. That’s my job, I get paid for that.
Is there any role that you won't do?
I have played a Naagin, a Mahabhasmpari, done negative roles, played a prostitute. I have played a mother, a bahu, everything. But how many characters are written these days that I would want to do? Every role has a limitation, it stops somewhere. What all can I become? I cannot become a fly. Makkhi toh nahi ban sakti. There, you got your answer.
Is there a dearth of well-written age appropriate roles for actresses in television?
That’s true for those women who do not want to break their image and are scared of trying something different. How do I get opportunities? You have to want to explore more and not stick to an image. Shah Rukh Khan did a film like Fan, Ranveer Singh has done so many characters, how do they get those roles? Because they are willing to experiment.
When I did Begusarai, I was told that you are doing a negative role of a prostitute, wearing skimpy clothes and shooting intimate scenes, you will not get roles anymore. No one will call you to dance at weddings anymore. I said, should I let go of a good role because of that?
How many actresses can actually pull off the role of a 'nachaniya' (dancer) onscreen? I am still going to weddings and performing at functions. It’s another matter that I do not like doing that anymore, because I do not like leaving my kid at home and going to weddings.
You continue to work despite ups and downs in personal life...
My career has given me a lot, I don’t let that be affected by my personal problems. The audience doesn’t care that you are unable to perform because you are upset. There is no sympathy there. My acting has got nothing to do with my personal life.
Are you following Bigg Boss 13?
I have friends in Bigg Boss, but where do I get the time to watch the show? I am shooting all day. I spend two hours in commuting each day, and then shoot for 12 hours. After 14 hours of working, I need time to take care of my child. Bigg Boss ke liye time kahan hai?
People who have two hours to spare can watch the show and enjoy it. The show has no content, it’s watched just for enjoyment. I’m very busy and that’s a good thing. I don’t miss Bigg Boss.