Pratima Kannan is a popular Indian actor who has worked in TV serials like Bhabi Ji Ghar Par Hai, Pratigya, Ishq Ka Rang Safed, Udaan and Siya Ke Raam. She has also done popular Hindi films like Dabangg 3, No Entry, Badlapur, Bunty Aur Babli, Gadar and Fiza.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
You play Helen (Vibhuti’s mother) in popular sitcom Bhabi Ji Ghar Par Hai. You are known for playing strong and negative characters. How was your experience working in a comedy show?
“It was great. Honestly, even I was surprised when I was offered this comedy role. Actors are mostly stereotyped in a certain category and then they are not offered a variety of roles. But it was a big thing for me when this character was offered to me. I feel that every actor can do all kinds of roles. It just depends on the other person if he is willing to take the risk while casting a particular actor. Binaifer Kohli gave me chance to do something different and people loved my character.”
How much do you enjoy playing this character?
I enjoy it a lot because I am very different in real life. The whole team was very supportive.
What kind of challenges do you face while working during the Covid-19 pandemic?
We just have to take precautions. I feel that wearing masks is one good habit we all have picked up. Even after the pandemic, we should continue wearing masks as it protects us from pollution as well. I have become used to it.
When I first stepped out to work after the lockdown, there was a mental tension. But when I reached the set and saw how good arrangements the producer had made to ensure everyone’s safety, it calmed me down. Also, it is our responsibility to stay protected so that we don’t become the carriers of the virus and infect others.
A lot of artists and technicians from the industry lost their work in the last one year. Did the industry came together and stayed united to help each other out?
The industry has been supportive. If you look at it, even the producers are not at fault that people lost their work. People provided help in all kinds. The big actors, producers etc provided food, monetary or medical help to those who lost their jobs. They did as much as they could. But the daily expenses are a lot more than that.
You have been a part of many great films. Is there any film or character that is close to your heart?
I play every character with all my heart. I still remember all my roles from the time I used to do theatre. Every character that I have played is close to my heart. Even the character of Helen Mishra that I am playing in Bhabi Ji Ghar Par Hai is a memorable role for me.
The OTT platform is at boom. What do you have to say about that?
It is a very good platform, especially for male actors. The male actors didn’t have any significant role in TV serials. They didn’t get a chance to showcase their talent. So, it is good for them.
You have been a part of this industry for a long time. how do you feel when you look back at your journey?
My journey has been very good. Whenever I look back, I see my career graph moving upwards only. I earned name and fame. I got good work. I got love and support from fans and producers as well. When I came in 1995, I got my first show with Balaji Telefilms. My first show was Ithihaas. I still remember that character.
Do you have plans to retire?
I want to die while working. It is my dream to die while working on sets.
You worked in the 2019 film Dabangg 3 as well. How was your experience working with Salman Khan?
I have worked with Salman Khan before also. I did a film with him called ‘No Entry’. I played Boman Irani’s wife in that film. He used to love my character. After that film, I always wondered that Salman never remembered me. But when I got the call for Dabangg 3, I was told Salman Khan specifically recommended my name since I worked with him in ‘No Entry’ also. Salman had apparently told his team that I would be the perfect fit for the role in Dabangg 3. I felt really good hearing this.
Salman greeted me humbly. It didn’t feel like we were meeting after so many years. He also introduced me to Prabhudeva and appreciated my work. So, even though I played a small role in ‘No Entry’, it feels good to know that a big star still remembers me for it.
He used to bring home-cooked food on the sets and offered me to join him. All the actors used to sit together and eat. Even in between the shots, Salman used to sit with the rest of us, instead of going back to his vanity van. When I work in TV serials these days, I see these young actors going back to their vanity vans in between every shot. But Salman being a superstar stayed with us. I guess we all should learn this from him.