Actor Soha Ali Khan returns to the screen with Kaun Banegi Sikharwati after a three-year hiatus. In the series, she shares the screen space with Naseeruddin Shah, Lara Dutta, Anya Singh and Kritika Kamra. “I wasn’t sure about the dynamics of working with three other women in the same frame,” she said indianexpress.com, talking about the series. However, she shared that her experience was “relaxed and laid-back” because all of her female co-stars were “safe and confident about their personalities.”
While Soha plays Gayatri, Lara plays her older sister Devyani. “Lara has seen so much success and has so much experience, but she has no air at all. In fact, if we needed anything on set, we’d shoot the gun off her shoulder and she’d get a lot of things done for us,” Soha said of Lara, adding that working with her, Kritika and Anya was “a fun experience.” experience.” Kritika and Anya play Kamini and Uma respectively.
In the series, Soha’s Gayatri is a yogini. The actor says that, unlike Gayatri, she is “a creature of comfortable possessions”. As the conversation continued, we asked Soha if playing Gayatri was easy as she comes from a royal background herself. “I’m trying really hard to think how it can help me, but I’m having a hard time because I don’t know what people expect from us when we visit our palaces…” she chuckled.
“Every time I visit Pataudi, I take my chef from Mumbai with me. Here he calls me Didi, there he calls me Soha Bia. He calls Kunal as bhaiyya, and Mia there. So things change when you step into Pataudi. Other than the innate sense of sophistication I have, I don’t know much. I love the world (of Shikharwati). I felt at ease in a palace, with beautiful costumes and airs and graces that you should have as a princess. It was not a foreign world to me,” Soha explained, adding that in her personal life she is also part of the modern world. “I juggle between two worlds. There is a world that is a little old and a world that is modern. Those things look good in Pataudi, not Mumbai. So you have to adapt to time and place. That is the rule of evolution.”
As she called Pataudi, we asked her to share her fondest memories of the place. The actor said that Pataudi Palace is a place for her to relax. “The architecture, the landscapes, the gardens that my mother created, just visually, it’s relaxing to go there. You just feel, after the crowds, the insecurities and the competitiveness of a city life like Mumbai, you just go there, take a deep breath and you feel relieved in so many ways,” Soha said.
But for her, Pataudi is more than just a place. It is a memory of her father, her childhood and a way to find her inner peace. “I just love the open spaces, the greenery. I somehow feel closer to my father when I’m there. I go to his grave and spend time with him. It’s his house. So that connection is there. So many memories growing up. I remember the time when there was no electricity and we had been there as children. We used to sleep outside, under macchardani (mosquito net). Now we have AC, but then there was no AC and no cell phones. So it was a complete turn off. I remember being excited when I saw the first fax machine. Even the first AC. Now it has some modern amenities. But it still has an old-fashioned charm,” she said.
“We play cricket, do organic farming. Inaaya (Soha’s 4-year-old daughter) also goes there and plants something. Grabs potatoes, carrots and stuff. We make a salad of cucumbers, carrots, which she grew and harvested herself. There are peacocks and adopted dogs, sometimes snakes… so it’s like being in the middle of nature,” she concluded.
Kaun Banegi Sikharwati can be seen on ZEE5 from 7 January. The show also stars Naseeruddin Shah and Raghubir Yadav.