‘Ashram’ provides an exciting insight into the Indian culture of idolatry, which allows the meteoric rise of several dodgy godmen. In this case, of course, Baba Nirala Kashipurwaale is elevated from the ranks of a lowly soothsayer to the top godman in India. However, it is a journey beset with debauchery and biases, as we learn that unholy people often preach holiness. Parinita Seth essays the role of Sadhvi Mata in the gripping series, and she recently sat down with Team Expresso to share her thoughts about the tale. Here’s what she had to say.
Expresso: How did you spend the lockdown period?
Parinita Seth: These are very unfortunate times, you see. I felt good that I could spend so much time at home. I have never cooked before, so in this period, I learned how to cook. I also started painting. Most importantly, I realized that the two primary things we need in life are family and love. I did some shots at home also, which was fun.
Expresso: What are the things you miss in this lockdown?
Parinita Seth: I miss meeting my friends. One thing about me is that I really love hugging my dear ones. So I have really missed the meeting and hugging my friends. Also, I miss going to restaurants and the gym. And yes, of course, I miss the everyday shooting life we had before.
Expresso: Your show Ashram, is now streaming on MX Player. Why did you say yes for the project?
Parinita Seth: First of all, it is a Prakash Jha production. It was a big opportunity for me to work with him. I loved the role that I was asked to play. I don’t think any actor will leave this kind of opportunity.
Expresso: Tell us something about your character.
Parinita Seth: Well, you see, the story is entirely fictional. It is about these preachers all around the world who start preaching and become popular very soon. I am playing a negative character for the first time. I really enjoyed my role, and I think web series is a great platform for actors these days.
Expresso: How did you groom yourself for this role?
Parinita Seth: Well, we had to speak in this complicated tongue-twister like Hindi. Prakash Sir took a lot of language classes for that. We spent around 4-5 hours every week to understand the characters and work on them.
Expresso: How was it working with Prakash Jha and Bobby Deol?
Parinita Seth: It was a delightful experience indeed. He is such an inspirational personality. We were shooting inside a palace in Ayodhya, and the temperature was around three degrees. Sir was always on his toes from morning to night. He knows how to handle so many people on set and make them work with a smile. Most importantly, he knows how to respect every person. Simply a fantastic personality!
Bobby Deol is an extraordinarily nice and soft-hearted person. Despite being such a great superstar, he is so humble. He would eat with us, joke with us, and we used to have such a great time with him. I remember he was quite unwell during the shoot but would never compromise on his work when he was called.
Expresso: What is your best memory of shooting Ashram?
Parinita Seth: I think every day was memorable. Prakash Sir is from Patna. So on the day of ‘Sankranti,’ he got us some traditional Bihari food. I think all of us had a great time that day.
Expresso: Tell us about your journey from television to film.
Parinita Seth: My journey started from being a model in ad films. Then I started working on television, where I did a lot of interesting roles. After that, I took a break post, which I did a couple of web series until recently when I did Prakash Sir’s Ashram.
Expresso: As an actor, what is the challenge of transformation from theatre to film and television?
Parinita Seth: Professionalism is what keeps changing. In theatres, you get several rehearsals, and therefore chances of making a mistake are less. Performing live in front of so many people is a great high in itself. TV is a vast medium, and you are devoting almost 17-18 hours a day, which gets very difficult.
Expresso: Out of the many characters you’ve played, which is closest to your heart?
Parinita Seth: I played the boss of an RJ in my first TV show, Dil Kya Chahta Hai on Star One. That was an exceptional one for me. I also loved my role in CID.
Expresso: If not an actress, what would you rather be?
Parinita Seth: I would be an image consultant as I love grooming people.
Expresso: What is your dream role?
Parinita Seth: I would love to do the kind of work Shabana Azmi does, especially the role she did in Masoom.
Expresso: How do you handle trolls?
Parinita Seth: It’s part and parcel of being in this industry. I enjoy some and ignore the ones that I don’t.
Expresso: What would you like to tell the audience about Ashram?
Parinita Seth: Well, I would really request everybody to watch this show. All of us have put in a lot of effort into making this, and the show is a real eye-opener.