There is a buzz in this industry for the much awaited TV serial Upanishad Ganga that will air from March 11th, every Sunday at 10 am. Produced by Chinmaya Mission, this Sunday morning serial promises to get the entire family together and entertain and educate them on our nation’s rich culture, heritage and history which are our pride. It has everything for everyone who is looking into meaningful cinema. Directed by the famous Chanakya of DD, Dr. Chandra Prakash Dwivedi, once again etches out a TV serial to remember.
The sutradhar of Upanishad Ganga, Seema Azmi, who is more famous as the hockey player from the film Chak De India, talks to us about this serial and her journey from Chak De till now.
- When were you approached for Upanishad Ganga?
I had just come to Bombay in 2006 after completing my training at National School of Drama in Delhi, from where I belong. I met Dr. Chandra Prakash Dwivedi, who called me for an audition for a sutradhar, at this magnificent set of Upanishad Ganga. And right then I knew I wanted to be a part of this fine serial where everything was perfectly organized. And soon all went well and I was selected to play the role. This infact, happened even before I started Chak De.
- What exactly is your character required to do in this serial?
I am playing the role of a sutradhar, that is of a narrator, who acts as the intermediary between the actors, story and the audience. Since Upanishad Ganga is made up of various stories of our predecessors that represent Indian culture and heritage, I guide the audience taking them through the story, directly talking to them.
- Since you are new in this industry, how do you find working with director Dr. Chandra Prakash Dwivedi?
Personally, I knew very little about Upanishad, I remember reading on them when I was really small. And about Dr. Chandra Prakash ji, I think not everyone can do what he has done. He got into the nitty gritties of each and everything that made up Upanishad Ganga. Even if a small object did not belong from that era it would be removed from the set. Nothing was compromised. So working with such a systematic and intellectual director was certainly a boon for me. Also, Chinmaya Mission, the production behind Upanishad Ganga, have worked tremendously to make this serial.
- What are your views on Upanishad Ganga?
Upanishad Ganga is very good to educate anyone about our vast history and culture. The whys and whats have all been answered interestingly in detail. It can also be a great documentary. Till today people talk about Chanakya, only because Chandra Prakash ji had dedicated himself totally into it. Upanishad Ganga too is going to be a cult. If you wish to know about the Upanishad you should watch this serial.
I think the audience will love this show instead, because I feel people are bored of watching the same old saas bahu stories. I’m sure they have matured and like to take something from everything they do. So Upanishad Ganga is a great platform for education along with entertainment. You read about Upanishads and forget it a while later. But when you watch it which has been made very carefully, keeping all the facts authentic and true, the audience will grasp it better. The parents too will find it helpful for their kids. This is one serial after a long time, that the entire family would love to watch every Sunday mornings!
- Upanishad Ganga is also being known as the most expensive show on television!
I’m not surprised. The moment I entered the sets, I knew this was something very great and prodigious. Right from the set to the costume, jewelry, make-up, objects and property, the study research that must’ve gone into its making, all seem very striking and huge! This is one serial that will be used and re used for references. Its like a video library!
- Any memorable experience that you take away with you from this serial?
Oh yes, the very first day turned out to be an experience for me! I was given 2 scripts much in advance and I somehow thought that the smaller one was for me! It was only a night before the outdoor shoot I confirmed about the script and it turned out I had to learn both of it! And to my horror, the other script was 5 pages long! I didn’t sleep a bit and the shoot was a nightmare! I went completely blank in front of the camera. Somehow we winded up with my scene and since then I check and re check before taking anything! Luckily for me, Dr. saab was very patient.
- Everyone knows you as the Chak De hockey girl. Tell us a little about your journey into this industry.
The beginning was very tough. My family did not want me to get into this industry. But I was secretly doing theatre and taking NSD training. At one point in time I was planning to even run away! But after clearing NSD in the first attempt, I told my parents and what followed was a big drama at home! My dad did not talk to me for 5 years. I came to Bombay anyway, worked in Deepa Mehta’s film, Water and then was called for an audition for Chak De and eventually got selected. Working with Shah Rukh Khan too was a very great experience. He is so sweet and friendly! We took early morning trainings for hockey which was very straining. But all the effort was met with sweet success of the film. I am very grateful for having my career started with a Shah Rukh Khan film! I have a few projects in hand that I am working on now. Mohalla Assi, Threat Detected, Bumper Draw and an English film, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are my upcoming films.
- Will we see you in glamorous roles now?
I would love to do glamorous roles. If the character requires it, I will not shy away from it. I know a lot of people say this, but I really mean it. I’d like to do total justice to my character. I am ready for it.