Sanaya Irani relates to the role she plays, of the chulbuli Chhanchhan, and never wants to do a negative role. She thinks that her co-star Farhan is still learning as an actor and connects to Chhanchhan’s life…personally speaking.
You are a dog trainer in the show, a unique profession; have you handled dogs before?
No, not as a profession, but I have dogs of my own, so I am used to being around them.
Is the story of Chhanchhan inspired by Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s movie Khoobsurat?
Actually, I have not seen Khoobsurat, so I do not know if there is anything similar between the movie and my TV show. I heard about it for the first time in the media, so I am not aware of it. I’ve spent my entire childhood in boarding schools, so never really got the chance to catch up on movies. Besides that, even when Vipul Shah gave me the brief, he did not mention any similarity. Nor did he ask me to emulate anyone.
Was the audition for the role difficult?
Chhanchhan is a bubbly and a rather normal girl. It was not the least bit difficult for me. It has been one of my best auditions and they liked it.
How similar or different is Chhanchhan from your previous character Khushi Kumar Gupta?
Both girls are very happy-go-lucky, but Khushi was a bizarre and goofy person. Chhanchhan, on the other hand, is a very today’s girl, who knows what she is doing. Khushi came from a very different background, while Chhanchhan comes from an entirely different set up. She is educated and her parents are extremely liberal, unlike Khushi’s.
So is Chhanchhan the preacher kind?
In fact, she is not the preacher kind at all, neither is she trying to change the world. She has her opinions and views about things. She is not a suppressed woman, unlike many of the leads in several shows. The show is about her journey from a liberal background to the conservative world. How she changes it or is drawn into it is what you have to wait and watch.
How do you rate Farhan Khan as an actor and co-star?
Farhan is new on a set like this. So obviously the nervousness will always be there. He was scared at the start, but the jitters have gone with time. He is growing as an actor.
Were you upset that Mohit Sehgal didn’t get the role of Manav?
Mohit was one of the 50 people who were called to audition for the show. For him it’s like any other audition. Four of my other friends also tried out for it, but no one talks about that. Just ‘coz Mohit is my boyfriend, the media is making a big hullaballoo of it all.
Do you feel the pressure of playing the title role?
No, not at all. If I felt any kind of pressure, I wouldn’t be doing the role at all.
After Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon? you were offered several shows – why did you pick Chhanchhan?
Many shows had come my way, but none of them worked out. Chhanchhan was a very different kind of role, something I could relate to, and so I took it. In addition to that, Vipul sir is an awesome writer – when he reads the script to you….anyone would get convinced.
What about Chhanchhan – the show – do you like most?
The fact that it’s a light-hearted story and very real. There is no melodrama and over-the-top crying and wailing happening. Every situation in the show seems real.
How similar or different are Sanaya Irani and Chhanchhan from each other?
Sanaya and Chhanchhan are very much alike. Like Chhanchhan, I come from a family that’s absolutely chilled out and liberal in thought. We both love dogs. Like Chhanchhan, I am very opinionated and don’t believe in following society’s rules. I never think about what people have to say, because my parents never taught me to live like that.
How did you react to your character name, Chhanchhan?
I liked it; the name has a catchy ring to it. I remember when I went home I had two offers and didn’t know which one to pick. So, my dad asked me what the character names were. He liked Chhanchhan almost instantly. In fact, now he wakes me up with the name Chhanchhan.
Chhanchhan has a huge cast…
I have shot only with my family and friends so far and they are simply great. I have a blast on the sets. I am especially fond of my onscreen mother – she is too cool.
Was it enriching to work with the versatile Supriya Pathak?
She is sweet and extremely talented. I didn’t really know much about her, neither had I seen her shows. Then one day I caught up with the Khichdi episodes and the movie. She really made me laugh and it’s been a delight to work with her.
What other shows do you watch besides your own?
Frankly, I do not get the time to watch anything. And when I do, I mostly catch up on international shows.
Was acting a natural choice of career for you?
I didn’t start my career at 18 or 19. I finished my graduation in B.Com first. It was during my MBA studies that I got into it. I started with commercials, then got sick of those. I found acting and expressing interesting, but I didn’t know Hindi very well. That was a huge setback for me, but I did it one step at a time.
Didn’t you find Chhanchhan rather repetitive?
In fact, it is very different from my previous characters. Gunjan from Miley Jab Hum Tum was a shy and reserved girl. Khushi from Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon was a complete goofball and Chhanchhan is a modern girl. I’ve almost done all kinds of roles, only thing left is to do a negative-shaded character. However, that I am not keen on doing.
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