Shubhaavi Choksey has been a part of the Indian TV industry since the revolution came on it in the early 2000s. She started her journey with Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, and most recently Shubhaavi Choksey was a part of Bade Achhe Lagte Hain 2.
Recently, Shubhaavi Choksey got into a conversation with Bollywood Bubble where she opened up on leaving the show. She also reflected on her journey in TV, making some surprising revelations. Shubhaavi Choksey discussed the friendships she built over the years, her equation with Ektaa R Kapoor and TV being called regressive.
Excerpts from the interview with Shubhaavi Choksey:
You have had an illustrious journey on Indian television, and even today you continue being as relevant. How has this journey been for you?
“Honestly, initially I was very lucky that I got Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. It was supposed to be a one month cameo, which got extended to 11 months. During this while, my character got changed from positive to negative and that worked for me. Then I took a sabbatical and came back with Bade Achhe Lagte Hain. Whenever opportunity has knocked on my door, it has all worked out for me.
Technically, my work time is only 5 to 6 years max. I have not worked more than that. I have taken a 2 year gap, a 5-and-a-half year gap, and then a year gap as well. I have always taken sabbaticals in between but whenever I made a comeback, the audience accepted me.”
Your roles over the years have been in a particular zone. Be it Kasautii Zindagii Kay or Bade Achhe Lagte Hain 2, your parts are quite in the gray area. They have a negative shade but they aren’t villainous. Do you see as an accomplishment to have made this niche for yourself or more like stereotyping?
“If you have to break a stereotype, only you could do it. Nobody else can do it for you. Fortunately or unfortunately, the memory span of the audience of looking at you in a certain way on screen can be changed. One role you do with a different look, in a different light, the audience’s perception changes as well. You just need that one role that can change your life.
As for me, I don’t regret anything. When I got TV offers, I was very thankful. Tv gave me monetary stability. I had lost my dad and needed a continued income. Though I wanted to do theatre, I still was happy that I was getting television and offers got increasing. I always got to work with actors and directors who helped me get better. So, I got to learn while getting paid for it.”
You have always had a very strong relationship with people you have worked with. How do you nurture those equations after a show gets over?
“For me, relationships are extremely important. Money and fame will come and go, but it’s the people who are important to me. I always have been surrounded by people who love me not for what I am on screen, but who I am in real life. Sakshi Tanwar and I speak to each other every year and its been 10-15 years. We met after a long time recently and we started from where we left off. Even Smriti Irani ma’am. I have learnt so much from her. It’s unreal.”
Bade Achhe Lagte Hain 2 was one of the most special shows in your career. How difficult did it get to say goodbye to it?
“Honestly, I believe there is a time for everything. My time with BALH was for one-and-a-half years and that was very difficult for me. I lived very far away from the set and my health had taken a toss, which had never happened on a show before. Nakuul Mehta and I were two people, I don’t know why, who would keep getting some kind of allergy often. So, physically it was a very difficult show for me. I kept getting really ill on and off.
But considering the people I had around me on set, it was quite fantastic. When you perform a scene with Nakuul, even if I would be very tired, I’d get charged up. It’s brilliant to work with him. And so is Disha Parmar. She is such a quiet girl but so sorted and warm. It’s amazing to meet a main lead like that. Even on Kasautii, we were all mad people. The core of our friendship is that we are with each other because of who we are.”
You started with an iconic show like Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi that brought about a revolution in Indian TV. Even today, your name is associated with shows that have evolved with the time and still maintained their iconic status. Does it fill you with a sense of pride?
“I am a 90s kid and growing up, I have seen the change happening in films all over the world, especially in Hindi films. I feel I was born at the right time to witness every change. The evolution of TV is also very amazing. When I started, we used to wear so much make up. But that has changed. The way of acting and performing has changed. First it was over the top, now it has become very natural. The language, costumes, camera work has changed and I love every bit of it.”
The change reflects in the characters as well, especially in the female characters…
“I feel people have these two very contradictory statements regarding TV. Some believe it has become regressive, some feel it has progressed. Whenever someone has used the former, I have always maintained that you are catering not only to the urban part of India. You have to reach each and every part. It’s very recent that rural parts of India have got full access to cable TV. You got to understand that you are catering to that part as well who want to either see what they have or what they dream about.
There are certain shows and certain scenes of some shows that have been regressive and that have annoyed me when I have seen it. But you have to cater to every audience. If you are seeing something regressive and saying it as is, than also have the courage to do something about it.”
You have a cameo in Bekaboo as well. Most of your landmark shows have come with Ektaa R Kapoor. How has that equation flourished on and off the screen?
“The first time I met and interacted with Ektaa Kapoor was during the narration of Kasautii Zindagii Kay in 2018. I have done 3 big shows with her before that, but then I would just go wish her on her birthday and then leave as I sleep very early. The first time I had a proper conversation with her was during Kasautii narration, and the third conversation happened during BALH narration. In between, we met once. So, I have met Ektaa a total of 4 times, out of which 3 were narrations.
But I feel so lucky that she always keeps me in mind. Even when I was on a break, she called me for Bade Achhe Lagte Hain 2. I feel there is some sort of connection between us and I will forever be indebted to her.”
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