When it comes to quality Indian television, Kitu Gidwani is among the most sought-after actors. Her repertoire includes some superlative projects on Doordarshan like Swabhimaan, Shaktimaan and Air Hostess among others. Of late, the actor has been active on the OTT with shows like Ghost Stories and Fittrat.
When asked about the difference between TV and OTT she said, “Since 2000, content on television has been a black hole and OTT has been kind of a resurgence. It has given creative people like me a voice. Hopefully, it will not go downhill like the television way and quality will remain good. Mostly because the audience has changed and they will not put up with nonsense anymore. Content from the West gives stiff competition to people here.”
Gidwani has always been looking for quirky and meaningful roles right through her career. Her latest venture, Potluck, on SonyLIV sees her playing an urban matriarch in a complicated situation with her family. “The best thing about the series is that it makes for light viewing and has a meaningful storyline. I loved working with the directors and the entire team. It was a fun ride,” she added.
Gidwani portrays a loving but overbearing mother in SonyLIV's Potluck. The show follows the antics of the Shastri family, whose oddball dynamics lead to a comedy of confusion. The show also features Jatin Sial, Cyrus Sahukar, Harman Singha and Sikha Talsania.
When asked about the quality of content available on web streaming platforms she said, “Makers are experimenting more. It is not just the young people but older players are also experimenting. We have a fresh breed of filmmakers in India, who are good. That has changed the dynamics. Since there is more competition, people like Balaji Telefilms are also experimenting with new content. When competition becomes stronger, you just have to up your game. There is no other way out.”
Gidwani has had a checkered journey. She found overnight fame with the character of Sweatlana in the serial Swabhimaan, which remains a cult role even today. “Initially, there was only Doordarshan. Then we had two Doordarshan channels. Then they added a few more regional language channels. This was followed by private players. We got the fame we did because everyone was a captive audience. That made the viewership bigger while people were allowed to concentrate on good content. But the saas-bahu saga changed everything. That brought the decline of television in India,” she added.
As someone who has been in the film and television industry for a long time, Gidwani believes different directors have a different styles of working. “The style is improvisational in Potluck, that is what excited me most about the shoot. The director gave us freedom. Everyone is looking for good content and a big budget or small budget doesn’t matter anymore. It is more about big viewership and that will only come if there is quality control on OTT.”
When quizzed about what gives her a high as an actor, she said, “For me, it is the script — the writing is the main thing. And then, of course, the other is peripheral, like the remuneration or the director, who is the showrunner or the producer? Of course, need to be reputed names and they have to be tried and tested, mostly. I think every actor looks for a good script. It really can make or break a project. Especially in this series, the chemistry was so fantastic. Half of us knew each other from before, and so the chemistry was amazing.”
Gidwani also believes she is done with stereotypical roles is looking for exciting ventures. “I don't do stereotypical roles anymore. I'm done with that. I do not like to be stereotyped because I want to use my talent. And I think I have a lot of it. So, I would love to have people cast me into different roles. In the last two years, I got a chance to play different characters. That's encouraging for an actor. I like serious things. I like comedy. I like detective, murder mystery, you know, different roles. Nobody would like to be typecast, as nobody would like to be in a factory and make the same product again. And so, it's the same concept that applies to actors,” she signs off.