She slips her slim frame elegantly into the grey sofa with a radiant smile. That’s Sakshi Tanwar, who won the hearts of millions as the most popular bahu on shows such as Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki and Bade Achhe Lagte Hain. Though she made her Bollywood debut long ago with films such as O Re Manva, Coffee House and Bawra Mann, her role opposite Aamir Khan in Dangal is creating a lot of buzz. The actress has played a mother umpteen times, and in Dangal also she plays Daya Phogat, the mother of wrestling champions Geeta and Babita Kumar Phogat. “I have played a mother all my life. I have even turned a grandmother in Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki. So it was nothing new,” she says.
About playing Aamir’s wife in Dangal, Sakshi says she was plain lucky. “I got a call from Mukesh Chhabra’s casting agency. I thought they were making fun of me. He told me it’s a great role and a good biopic. I was invited to meet Aamir Khan. I went to his office and enacted a couple of scenes. In one scene, I said, ‘Mhari chhori chhoron se kam hai ke’. Two days later it was in the papers that I was playing the role. I was surprised,” she says.
It is rumoured Aamir’s mother—who watches a lot of TV soaps—insisted he sign Sakshi. “I didn’t know that but came to know through one of his interviews,” explains Sakshi. “I’m glad that she watches TV and loves my work.”
Sakshi didn’t do any homework for the role. “I went by the script and instructions director Nitesh Tiwari gave me. He was thorough with his script and was crystal clear about what he wanted. I knew him from my Bade Achhe Lagte Hain time. I met Mrs Daya Phogat recently during her daughter Geeta’s wedding. She is a very lovely woman.”
“The girls who play my daughters in the film, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra, Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar were fantastic. They had so much confidence and knew their character like the back of their hands. They could just emote with their eyes.”
Sakshi hasn’t made any plans about Bollywood. “I take each day as it comes and I’m enjoying the moment. My language teacher Smitaji gave me great training. She gave me extra time and the perfect briefings. No one can say I’m not from that village. The only thing I plan in life is my travels. I’m planning to go to the Northeast for my birthday next month. I love being in nature.”
But she’s not fond of adventure sports. “I have vertigo. The only adventure I have attempted is scuba diving in 2014.”
Apart from TV, Sakshi will be working on a web series with Ram Kapoor. “People say they loved us in our earlier shows. It’s a 14-episode infinite mini series. I also completed the second season of Anil Kapoor’s 24 recently.”
About working with Anil Kapoor and Aamir, she says, “Despite having achieved so much success and experience, they work so hard on their roles. They don’t have to prove themselves, yet they are passionate about their work,”she says.