The actor says that after being in the show for four years, playing Sumitra comes naturally to her
Smita Bansal is one happy lady – and why not? She deserves to be. She is one of the four actors of Balika Vadhu who have been a part of the super-successful television show from its first to its 1000th episode – the other three being Satyajit Sharma, Anup Soni and Surekha Sikri. “Four years is a long time,” she says. “We’ve seen lots of ups and downs. It’s been an overwhelming experience. I have grown as an actor with the character. Playing Sumitra (Bhairon Singh) now comes naturally to me.” That doesn’t mean she doesn’t work on it. “All of us still work hard on every scene. We give all of them equal importance, even if we are only required to stand quietly in the background. It’s been a fabulous journey.”
So fabulous that Smita is absolutely sure that no one would ever want to quit the show. “Unless there’s a major reason, no one will want to quit. Like Neha (Marda, who played Gehna), who had no option. She was getting married and shifting to Patna. We miss Vibha (Anand, who played Sugna) and Neha the most,” she says. “I shared a protective relationship with Avika (Gor, who played the child Anandi) because of our comparative ages. I feel proud when I see Avika. She is a fabulous actor and very professional. Pratyusha (Banerjee, who plays the adult Anandi) and I are more like friends. All of them were raw when they came in. We’ve been giving them tipni (advice).”
Smita recalls the time when she entered the industry, about 12 years ago. “When I was new, I wasn’t bothered about what work I did, just that I got work. My only criteria was, ‘What will I be wearing?’. I hail from a Marwari family in Jaipur and my parents were very particular I should not wear anything revealing on screen. If it’s sari or salwar kameez, it’s fine. I did several shows, but I never really acted. I had a good command over Hindi, so I would just memorise the dialogues and recite them. I work much more now. I have grown with Balika Vadhu. The popularity I’ve got now, I did not have at that time.”
She credits the writers of the show with its success.“The writing team is the most important part of the show. I am completely convinced with the script. There are no black and white characters, only grey ones. Next are the directors. Actors are doing more on the show because of them.” Then there are the social issues that Balika Vadhu deals with. “Child marriage and widow remarriage are two issues we’ve shown. It feels good. I am not saying I am a social worker, but if I can contribute somehow to society,then why not?”
Balika Vadhu is significant for Smita, as it was her first show after she gave birth to her daughter eight years ago. “When Staasha was born, I didn’t work for four years. I never thought I would return to acting and had told my husband that too. I never thought I’ll come back with Balika Vadhu. But that’s what happened.” How does she manage work and motherhood? “I am a very good mother. I am low on patience, so I am strict. I also pamper her,but I don’t just go and buy her everything she wants. I think I balance it well.Everyone who meets her says she is a well-mannered kid.”
Now that she has returned to work, it doesn’t mean she’ll consider other shows…not yet. “I am Balika Vadhu – obsessed,” she laughs.