Actress Anjali Tatrari instantly managed to bring a smile to the face of viewers sitting at home in the lockdown in 2020, who were watching her television show Mere Dad Ki Dulhan every evening. Her performance as Niya Sharma, the young daughter who is waiting to take flight to achieve her dreams and at the same time is rooted to her home to take care of her impulsive, widowed father, was much appreciated. Her happy self as Niya, sometimes mischievous and at times vulnerable but always sensitive to the world around her, made Anjali Tatrari the sweetheart of the nation.
When FilmiBeat spoke to Anjali Tatrari in an exclusive video chat, we realised she is pretty much that person in real life, too! Very likeable and comfortable in her skin. Excerpts from a candid tête-à-tête with Anjali Tatrari ahead of her show Sargam Ki Sadhe Satii, where she also talks about her journey to Mumbai, her first show Mere Dad Ki Dulhan and how Niya Sharma will always be her favourite character, her beautiful equation with onscreen dad Varun Badola, and her own father who she feels is still with her every moment. She is also grateful for the love and blessings she has received from her fans.
You belong to Uttarakhand. Tell us about your journey to Mumbai.
I am from Pithoragarh. It's a very beautiful hill station and till eighth standard, I studied there. Post that, due to some personal reasons, shifted to Bombay...Mumbai (I love calling it Bombay, ya!). While studying in Mumbai, I did not really have acting in my head. But since I was a child, I was a little more inclined towards dancing, dressing up, etc. Always fascinated with it but I never really had acting in mind. Post college I gave my CA (chartered accountancy) entrance exam and realised that this is not what I am going to do. This is not making me happy. And since I had participated in skit competitions as a child, I thought I wanna try out acting. So, I started giving auditions and I realised that this really makes me happy. The audition journey - it never felt like I was struggling or the entire routine did not feel like a routine. I loved getting back again and going for auditions even after being rejected! So, then I obviously cracked projects and since then it's going smooth and I've never been happier than this!
You were also a fashion blogger. How did that come about?
I was in college and I was doing a part-time job to cover my own expenses. Since I like fashion so much, I didn't want those expenses to go to my mom. So, I decided to work part-time and was also blogging part-time.
Your sense of style reflected in Mere Dad Ki Dulhan and it was nice.
Yeah, carrying off something which is comfortable. I don't really follow the trend as such. I mix and match things as long as I am looking nice.
Tell us about Sargam Ki Sadhe Satii, your new show.
It's a completely different show from what I have done before. It's a sitcom (situational comedy). So, the timing, the pace, all of that is a must and since I haven't done anything like this before, it's quite challenging. But it's so much fun! I think nothing will open you up more as an actor than such a show because of the comic timing and the facial expressions needed. The show is very well written and I am currently enjoying doing it.
So, it's like 'Sadhe Satii' meaning seven-and-a-half men, and you! How're you managing it, on the show and in real-life?
It's both on and off air. Because 'Sadhe Satii' meri on-air bhi chal rahi hai aur off-air bhi, set pe! I am the only female in the show, so I am the centre of attraction for these guys (co-actors) and their pranks on the sets.
What is the concept of Sargam Ki Sadhe Satii?
So the whole concept of the show is that in Sargam's life, everything is around the time 7:30. In the show, I was born around 7:30, I had my school timings around 7:30, and even my wedding muhurat was at 7:30, and at the wedding, instead of the usual saat pheras, we take sadhe saat pheras. And then my marital home happens to have 7½ men in the family and I am the only female. So the show is about all these hilarious situations that they go through in a day and yet stick together by the end of the day. Kaafi relatable hai (it's very relatable) if you're staying in a joint family, where a lot of these sadhe sati moments happen and yet the family is together. In Sargam, we have a beautiful message to be given at the end of each episode. So far it's good, whatever I have shot. It's coming on February 22 and I am very excited.
All the best to you. It seems like one of those positive daily shows with a message in the end, a show which the whole family can sit together and watch.
Yeah. Post COVID, everything has become so stressful for everybody. And due to the pandemic, all people hear about is some news that they don't want to hear. So that's the initiative we have taken to make people smile.
Let's talk about Mere Dad Ki Dulhan. After that show, you are like the sweetheart of the nation. How does it feel to be one?
(Smiling) Honestly, I'd never imagined I would receive so much love! Limited, of course, but an abundance of love from my fan following. Those guys are so sweet. I wanted to be an actor but I had never thought it would be so beautiful to receive so much love and blessings from people who have never met you, who don't even know you personally. There have been times when I am feeling low and then there's this message from someone or the other that really makes your day. It's beautiful...the love and people acknowledging your work. That way I have been very lucky.
Mere Dad Ki Dulhan was an amazing father-daughter story. You had said that in real-life also Varun Badola is like a father figure to you... Say something about your equation with him.
I actually never imagined that we would get this close. In fact, I remember the very first day (of shoot), I told him, "Aap bahot tantrums throw kar rahe ho. I mean I know you're Varun Badola, but...(laughs)". Though he had not done anything like that - he was very sweet right from the day we met for our mock shoot. But in jest I told him, "You know you were actually showing off that you are Varun Badola". This is how our conversation started. Imagine!
He was so protective of me and he still is. He makes sure that I am at home on time, even though we are not shooting together. I still have to drop him a message saying I am home. He keeps checking on me. He is the one person I know is always there whenever I need him. And he has never pretended or faked that because, you can fake it once or twice but not for the entire journey that we were together in Mere Dad Ki Dulhan or even post that.
He was the happiest to know that I have cracked this show (Sargam Ki Sadhe Satii) post MDKD. He still cares for me the way he did. There were no pretensions between us. We bonded gradually and bonded pretty well. He is a very good-hearted man. I have learnt so much from him because he is so versatile. He is multi-talented - he is an actor, a cricketer, director, he sings so well...
Do you think this is like a godsend? Because, if you're comfortable talking about it...you lost your father when you were just four years old. So do you think this is like a very nice coincidence that you got Mere Dad Ki Dulhan and then you have someone like a father figure? Of course, no one can replace your father.
That's there but no one will ever replace my father. I still so strongly feel my dad's presence. I feel that anything that happens to me - my journey's been so smooth so far - and kabhi bhi mera kaam jo jaldi ho jata hai, I feel it's because of my dad. Before stepping out of my house, I remember my dad. Before giving a shot, I remember my dad. It's difficult to say...I was very small and don't have too many memories of my dad. But whatever memories are there, I strongly remember them. I don't know how because I was just four, but I still remember the time spent with my father. But again, I really respect Varun sir for whatever he's done and keeps doing. He's not my father but he's my Dadda (from the show) for sure!
That's so sweet. So is there a sequel to Mere Dad Ki Dulhan? Because the end was left open where you (Niya) are going to the US. Is there a sequel to show your love story?
No. I would love to do a sequel, because I had a great journey on the show. It was amazing but I think it ended at the right time because, quality over quantity for sure. There is a scope for another season but I am not really sure about this. The producer's would know about it. But I'd love to do it (with a twinkle in her eye). Because I've started my journey with it and I obviously have a soft corner for it and there'll always be. Niya is always gonna be my favourite character.