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From Chhutki to Lalli


IN THE `80s, when a handful of Indian viewers were being schooled into TV soaps with Humlog on Doordarshan, Chhutki attracted instant interest. Long after Chhutki disappeared from small screen, the actress Lovleyn Mishra too melted back into her life, seldom seen on Doordarshan, rarely on big screen and mostly on stage. But come this 9 p.m. on Wednesday, yesteryears' Chhutki shall enter the orbit of satellite channels. This time, in the garb of Lalli.

Humlog days are gone

"Time has indeed changed from the days of Humlog. Those days, content was paid attention to. Now, the Indian middle-class is not what they were then. And so has been the content change," says Lovelyn. Though she will be now on the tube in a comedy with a rather eyebrow-raising name like Aao Bahen Chugli Karen on Sahara Manoranjan, the actress says, Indian TV viewers have moved from the comedies like Wagle Ki Duniya.

"I don't think that serial would have gained so much attention today. Even a typical middle class family has more than one breadwinner now. They can think of buying minimum luxuries of life these days. So Wagle's Duniya is no more theirs," says the actress. Not blaming the channels for rolling out what they are, the lady seems to be in tune with reality: "We have to understand that everything is ruled by the market. Nobody would buy your product if the advertisers feel that it won't sell. Finally, it is the audience that has to decide what they want to see."

Talking about Lalli's role, she says Lalli Yadav is a small town woman from Bihar who suddenly hits money and buys a flat in a posh society in South Mumbai. "She is a bit of a wannabe. So, she tries hard to get equal with other women of the society in dressing and talking. A typical country bumpkin with a Bihari accent, she harbours political ambition. The effect is hilarious," she says.

A take on society

Not labelling the serial as a spoof on the elite, she rather calls it "a take on the gossip mentality of people. Even the men in the serial are shown bitching, trying one-upmanship over the other."

Sure in mind that acting in front of camera has to be more matured in India, Lovelyn talks of a workshop she had attended during the shooting of the Hollywood production City of Joy. "The workshop was conducted by John Mackechnie during the shooting of film where I was playing the role of Shanta. Though I was there as a glorified junior artiste, yet I was made to feel sure about my role. I realised then how in Hollywood, even a little thing done looks so authentic," she says. Herein, she gives example of Satyajit Ray who insisted on making a sketch of each film frames. "This way, everyone knew how to look, where to stand and what to do," she says. Heavily into theatre, Lovelyn is working in a new play for Prithvi Theatre's Festival in November.

"Last October, I acted in Vikram Kapadia's play `Black With Equal' in Delhi. Since it is a big cast, no one is interested in sponsoring the play again," she says, not with a smile this time.

SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY

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