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Rupali Ganguly: “Anupamaa Has Changed My Life.”

The Great  Indian Soap Trick, reeling under  the  crippling Covid crisis that  closed down the entertainment industry, not to mention the abject mediocrity that has crept into fictional content on Indian television, has  suddenly received   a  huge  boost.

Anupamaa  a serial  about a workingclass Gujarati housewife who comes into her own,is breaking  all records with TRPs that Indian fictional content on television stopped dreaming about  ever since  outlandish tales  of  nags and nagins  dressed  in  expensive  saree and jewellery cooking up  lethal dishes in their ballroom-sized rasodi(kitchen) , took over the home medium.

“It’s  a journey  back to  reality for  the  Indian soap,” says Rupali Ganguly, the pretty  43-year old  actress  who plays the eponymous  part  in Anupamaa. “No doubt Anupamaa has changed  my life. I am still reeling  under the impact.Where  is  the  time  to feel like  a queen?”  she laughs when I  call her the Queen  of  Indian television. “Every day we’re rushing against time  to complete episodes which  during these Covid times  is  not an easy task.”

Rupali and the large  Anupamaa team are following all  the Covid guidelines. “But we spend so much time together that we forget  about Covid once we  are on the set  every morning. I spend more time with  the  cast  and crew  of Anupamaa than I do with my own family.”

Rupaali who is  the  daughter  of   the late  and great  filmmaker Anil  Ganguly , says  she was  initially apprehensive  about shooting  during the Covid. “I’ve a 7 year old son and  and an old mother-in-law at  home. But the producer Rajan Shahi to whom,  along with director  Romesh Kalra, I give  all  the credit for  the  success of Anupamaa insisted  on  having me  on board.”

 Shahi and  Rupali had  worked  together  many years  ago. “I was  part of Rajan Sir’s serial Dil Hai Ki Manta  Nahin  in  1999. I was  very young , very impulsive.  During those days I  preferred taking  a holiday rather than shotting to meet deadlines.  So when Anupamaa  came to me  Rajan sir kept asking me , ‘Tum waisi toh abb nahin ho na?’  I told him I’m still the same  though  far more disciplined and focused on  my work.”

Shooting  Anupamaa throughout the day gives Rupali no  time to enjoy its success. “How do  I know  how much it’s been appreciated when I don’t even  have time for my  husband and son?  Soon they  won’t recognize me! But I’m not complaining. The success of Anupamaa was expected. The  director  Romesh Sir(Kalra)  spares no efforts to make  every episode authentic and  appealing. My character  speaks, dresses and behaves  like  an  ordinary housewife. Even the sarees that you see me wearing are  all sootee(cotton). These details from the workinglass have  been appreciated by the  audience. They had  not seen  a serial about their own  life for  along time.”

While  her screen husband is  a  bit of an insensitive cad,  Rupali’s  real-life husband Ashwin Verma is  the epitome of  spousal  support.

Says Rupali emotionally, “If it wasn’t for Ashwin I wouldn’t be shooting for this serial. It was he who urged me to  go out and do Anupamaa while he  set aside his own work to look after  our son and our home.I consider myself blessed  in every way.”

Rupali’s only regret?  “I wish my father  was here to see Anupamaa. He made such memorable films about strong women  characters  like Kora Kagaz, Tapasya and Humkadam. In fact Anupamaa reminds me of his  Humkadam. My father never  got his due recognition. He  would have been  been so proud of me had he seen Anupama

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