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She has them in splits

SAVITHA GAUTAM

"I am not enamoured by the silver screen," declares Bhavana Balsaver. Sounds strange... coming from the daughter of an actress of yesteryear. But that's how Shubha Khote's talented "chip off the old block" is.

Chirpy even at 10 p.m., Bhavana is a familiar face for those who enjoy sitcoms. The "chachi" of Anand Mahendroo's "Dekh Bhai Dekh" is in the city now to regale Chennai-ites with two English plays, "Bachelor's Wives" and "Let's Do It", directed by Shubha Khote.

For the aspiring fashion designer, acting "was an accident. I was a replacement in one of my mother's plays. I am an introvert. I never realised that I could communicate with an audience. Of course, I would like to enact a variety of characters," states the articulate actress.

Following "Dekh Bhai Dekhi", Bhavana was seen in many a teleserial, including "Zabaan Sambhal Ke", the Hindi version of "Mind Your Language", and more recently "Jane Kahan Mera Jigar Gaye Ji". Says she, " I consider myself fortunate that I came in at a time when TV was just blooming." But she decries the quality of serials today. "There are no retakes, and always we are running out of time. It is strenuous and monotonous. Which is why I am not doing too many serials these days. Also there are hardly any challenging roles that come by." Comedy comes naturally to her. "Yes, but doing comedy is tough. What matters most in comedy is timing. You either have it or you don't. Also, when I meet people, I elicit a positive response from them; they always come up to me with a smile. It makes me feel good."

So how does it feel to be directed by her mother? "Actually, when we are on stage or on the sets, for that matter, we are just co-artistes."

"Mom, being an actress herself, is able to explain and act out emotions to the crew. Actually, it is like a big family," she explains on Khote's role as director. Bhavana was seen earlier in Chennai in Shatrughan Sinha's play "Pati Patni Aur Mein". "He is really a very simple and sweet person. I am glad I got to work with him," she says about Sinha.

A little known fact about Bhavana is that she writes... poetry and even scripts. "It's a spur of a moment outpouring of thoughts. Then I forget what I write. You know, I write on anything available... a boarding card, paper napkin or just a slip of paper. Actually mom has patiently collected all that I've written," she says.

Role models? "Amitabh Bachchan. In fact, if there is somebody who has inspired me, it is Amitabh." The other favourites for this film buff include Sridevi, "who is convincing in any role she does", Julia Roberts and Robert Downing Jr.

Does she watch TV? "I love American and British sitcoms and Indian game shows. I religiously watched KBC for obvious reasons. "Friends" is something I love to watch." Another passion for Bhavana, a trained jazz ballet dancer, is dogs, and she has five of them! What about direction? "Maybe some day. I take one day at a time," is her attitude to life.

("Bachelor's Wives" and "Let's Do It" are being staged today and tomorrow at the Music Academy, at 7.00 p.m.)

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