Samridhii Shukla made her debut with Saavi Ki Savaari in the titular role of Saavi. The show had a beautiful and meaningful run of one year, and has now come to a close. Samridhii opens up exclusively to us about her journey playing Saavi and the wonderful run of the show!
Could you briefly tell us about your journey to becoming an actor and bagging Saavi Ki Savaari?
So I would say that the journey of me becoming an actor started early on because I was always very inspired and interested by whatever my dad, my uncle and grandmother did as actors and voice actors. So I started pretty young. I have done things before but luckily Saavi Ki Savaari was the first thing to be put out there. There was a web series I have done before this, and a Kannada movie I had done, but both released after this so that way, timeline wise, Saavi Ki Savaari has been my first work as an actor which has gone out. When I came to know about Saavi Ki Svaari’s audition I was very excited because it’s a very different role, a female who is not your regular television girl. She is taking care of the family solely and singlehandedly and she is in a male dominated industry which is driving a rickshaw but she is not changed by the environment. She keeps her core values very strong. She keeps her respect for elders and ethics and values in life very strong. And she tries to navigate through everything that comes her way. And I think that’s the most admirable quality and when I came to know about it; I just couldn’t wait to do this role. I think any girl would be lucky enough to have this role as their first television role as the main lead and I’m extremely grateful.
You have been driving Chatri Prasad since episode 1 like a pro! Did you undergo any specific training for driving an auto- How did you build that confidence for driving Chatri Prasad?
Of course, I went under training for a couple of days to learn how to ride our Chatriprasad. So near my house, there’s an isolated lane and thanks to our production and everyone, they used to send this rickshaw driver who used to come every morning with the rickshaw. We did it for a week – 10 days but I learnt everything in a day or two. I think it’s pretty easy to learn how to ride a rickshaw. Just so I have that ease, comfort and that flamboyance when doing it, they asked me to do it for so long and also they just wanted to be 100% sure that I know how to do it. But riding Chatriprasad has helped me develop another skill. So I’m really glad they thought that they should actually teach me how to do this because I don’t think it would have been the same if I hadn’t learnt and I would have cheated throughout the way.
Your scenes with Indira ma’am (Vedika) always came across as natural and heart-warming. How do you feel about having been part of a more progressive saas-bahu portrayal?
One thing that I’m most happy about is in fact the portrayal of the saas-bahu relationship that is not stereotypical, it is not negative, it promotes a good thinking that a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law could have a good camaraderie and become each other’s’ best friends. I don’t think that’s been covered across television and I feel so grateful for that because we’re also promoting this message that you could be friends. It doesn’t always have to be that strict or in some cases toxic. Especially Indira ma’am, I would love to appreciate that lady. From day 1 to the last day, she’s always been there for me personally or as an actor, she carries so much grace and she has so much of talent. She is a senior and great actor, it’s always such a treat to watch her, and be in scenes with her. One of my absolute favourite chemistries is with her because she eases you up and she does that to you. She has that feeling which makes the other person feel comfortable with them. Indira ma’am is a sweetheart and she’s such a great talent to work with. I’m so grateful I got work with her.
Even after entering Dalmia house which has all the luxuries and comforts, Saavi still remained simple. For example, she rejected having a smartphone; she did not dress in designer wear. How do you feel Saavi pulled off a simple lifestyle in a complex and modern world?
I think it shows real grit and character of Saavi that she did not get intimidated by the luxuries of the Dalmia house and the members of the family. It also shows that she’s so ethically strong-whatever she believes in stands true even till the last episode. So if she feels like she doesn’t want to use a smartphone then she would not without a reason. If she feels like she doesn’t want to dress up like the others and wear jewels, she will not. And she was still the best character of Saavi Ki Savaari, so it shows that you don’t have to be decorated and have the best of the best things or have the best of the best luxuries. What really matters is what’s in your heart, what jewels do you carry in your heart and Saavi was a perfect example of that.
You and Farman Haider (Nityam) have great chemistry on-screen, what has the experience been like working with Farman?
Farman is amazing to work with. He is so humble, he is a great friend. He is also my senior and also there’s also so much to learn from him. He’s one of the most humble and down to earth people on set. It’s always good to work with him; even scenes with him come out so well because he’s very accommodating, he’s very welcoming because it was my first show. He is a great professional and I’m so sure he has a great, great future ahead of him. And I wish him nothing but the best of the best!
Were there any particular scenes or sequences on the show that you found quite challenging?
I remember this one time I had to do a scene which was the alter ego scene, and that was something I found quite challenging because that was something very new to me. And I didn’t understand the concept of that first, but thankfully our director Mangesh sir and Farman eased me up, because that was a scene with Farman and our director also really helped me. So it really helped me understand, it took a little time but they were patient, they’ve always been patient, then I pulled it off.
Saavi Ki Savaari has enjoyed a great audience worldwide, what do you think it is about the show that won over people?
I think what won people over is how we showed the best of both worlds, the Goyals and the Dalmias. Usually what happens is when a girl gets married, she goes to her sasural and then you don’t show her maayka much. But here we had drama on both sides and we showed how a girl from a small family could go into a big family and she is independent, she does not want any favours. She will not bend by any rules that Nityam has put. She puts her foot down whenever she wants to and she doesn’t want a penny from the family. She had to get married because of the Panditji but she doesn’t want a penny from the family and she’s very clear about that. So she will go and make her own money and I think that shows so much of integrity and so much of honesty in Saavi’s character. She also did not lose her authenticity, how she was – the simplicity, the innocence that she had, along with the smartness and the spunk, I think that’s what people must have liked about Saavi.
What are some of the things that Samridhii has learned from Saavi?
I think one thing that I have learned from Saavi is definitely that no matter what the situation is, you’ll always have solution. And if you believe in yourself, you say “wahi ho jo sahi ho” (Whatever happens, happens for the best). So sometimes even in my life, I don’t know which turn things might go, I tell myself “wahi ho jo sahi ho”, meaning whatever happens will be right and the best for me. And I go ahead from that, that’s one thing that I’m taking away from this show.
Shooting the final episodes would have been emotional, what would you like to share about the experience of working with all your co-actors and crew members?
After getting to know about the show closing, the shooting of the final episodes became personally very difficult for me. I think from all the cast members, I was the only one who cried the most because it was my first show, I’m not used to this kind of separation and it was really difficult for me, because it becomes your life. You’re working for 12 hours and you spend so much time here than anywhere else so it becomes your family. And after getting to know that the show is closing down, every scene that I used to do with anybody, in whatever location, I used to go back and think “oh my God, this is Nityam’s room, we have done so and so scenes here, this is the hall, over here this scene happened, the kitchen, here that scene happened.” So I have core memories and they used to keep revisiting me all the time.
Saavi has done it all, but is there any type of role you would like to do next?
Saavi has done it all and I’m really grateful for playing Saavi and to the audience for letting me play Saavi for so long. I don’t have any particular type of role I would like to do next but I think what I look at is the story. If I like the story, I try my best to kind of wish for the role to come to me. And let’s see what comes my way next.
What are some of the things you do to keep that calmness and peace amidst busy schedules, social media, and the constant rat race of the world?
Some of the things that I do to keep the calmness and peace, I think is sometimes what humbles me the most is to remember that I’m not the most important person in the world. It’s very easy when you’re so occupied with work, so many back-to-back scenes, and you’re working so hard, it’s of course very challenging. But if you feel like you’re the most important person in the world and nothing can work without you, there’s this kind of unfriendliness and this air about you that comes. And a) I don’t want to be that, b) I think of all the other people who are working more than me and are tirelessly working and have a smile on their face.
If I speak about my own set, I remember the spotboys, they would run around every day, and their work is to bring tea, coffee, 40-50 times a day. Running around, giving it to him, her. Suppose I say I want chai and the other one says after half an hour they want chai, so they’ll prepare it for them also. And they used to always do it with a smile and plus they used to come before the artists and they used to go after the artists. So you can probably say if we were working for 12 hours, they were working for 14 hours or 13 hours. I mean if they can do all this work, and all this work with a smile on their face, the least we can do, and the least I can do, is just be humble about this great opportunity I’ve been given and plus there’s so much recognition whereas they don’t even get recognition or appreciation a lot of times for their hard work. But we do get appreciation, we do get recognition, so I feel like we should be so grateful, we should not complain about anything. I don’t like complaining, I think I’m blessed that I’ve been given such a big role, that I have these kinds of challenges. I would rather have a challenging life than have something mundane so I’m really happy about my life.
Finally, a message for all your and Saavi Ki Savaari’s fans worldwide
I think after the show going off-air, everyone has been really sad about it. I would just say that, “wahi ho jo sahi ho”, maybe this was best for us, and as long as our show ran, it was number one, it was in your hearts. The show ran really well content-wise so I think let’s take it positively. Let’s think if at any point of time, the show was not doing well, things would have gotten sour. But the beauty of our show is we started on a good note and we’ve ended on a good note. So we’ve ended on a high. Another good thing is, the reason for our show going off-air has nothing to do with the show, it’s a corporate call because Colors wants to close the slot of 6 p.m. They don’t want any show coming at 6 p.m. So we’re at least grateful for the fact that there’s no reason that they would have replaced us. They don’t want to replace us, it’s just a corporate call that they don’t want to continue the slot anymore. These kinds of things happen and this is not in our hands, but what was in our hands was while we working for the show and we did our best, and you gave us all the love we deserved and more. And the journey was beautiful, and this is not the end. We will all be back soon.