Nigar Khan in a new avatar

Nigar Khan is seen sporting a traditional look for the first time in Mitwa Phool Kamal Ke, which premiered last week. We caught up with Khan, whose character Rajbala has gray shades to it, as she talked about her new show dealing with women’s issues, her traditional getup and shooting in the heat of Banaras.
Tell us about your character.
Rajbala is the eldest bahu of the Chaudhary family. I play Nirmal Chaudhary’s wife. She is a typical rural girl who likes to follow rituals, never questioning whether they are right or wrong. She does this out of respect for her elders and to make her in-laws happy. She knows she is pretty and she takes care of that her husband doesn’t go anywhere else. She keeps him under her pallu. Also, she’s very proud of herself as she is the only bahu who has a son. She uses this power over the others. Though she is not negative, she tends to take advantage of this situation.

How are you preparing for the role?
I had to work on my dialect; my Hindi is very khalit Hindi. We are not just focusing on one story from one village. Instead, we have taken aspects of all Uttar Pradesh villages. Including all these, we have worked them into our dialect. It is very interesting to hear. I have never heard a mother being called ‘matai’ on any show. Hamari is called ‘hamai’; it sounds very nice. I had to work on it; read the script at home. We also attended a 5-day workshop where we worked on scenes and our chemistry. Our characters are all very well-written and our director Arvind Babbal is making sure he extracts good performances from us.

What was it like shooting in Banaras and what is your take on women’s issues?
Frankly speaking, I was very shocked when I came to know that they consider women inferior. In these villages, women are not even allowed to touch or talk to their husbands. As an urban girl, when I came to know about this I was like ‘what!’ It was a total culture shock for me. When I traveled through Banaras by road, I wouldn’t dare go alone anywhere; not even to the toilet.
They have such a strong hold over women over there. I could not stand in front of them and say, ‘forget it; I’m going to do what I want’. I was so scared that I did not even think of carrying a pair of jeans. India needs to grow but the people over there do not want growth. They are happy in their own world. It is dreadful. It was about 45 degrees and I had to dress like a Xmas tree. It was really difficult. I remembered Amitabh Bachchan’s dialogue from Aakhri Rasta. He used to wear a quilt through out the movie, even when the shot was over, even though it was hot. He had said ‘agar main sochta nahi toh mujhe garmi lagti nahi’. I thought about that and continued shooting. Now, I’m more comfortable.

Tell us about your look.
It’s very different; I’m sure my fans will like it. When I first saw myself in the mirror I was like ‘Oh my god’! I am glad that I am doing this and getting to wear such traditional clothes.

What was your experience on Comedy Circus like?
It just happened; I didn’t even know I could do comedy! Doing standup is a different ballgame altogether. When they approached me, I was shocked. I did one episode for them and they liked it. Then they offered me the reality show. I am glad I did it because it gave me a reason to wake up in the morning and try something new. It was an awesome experience and I am missing it now. I was always charged up. I didn’t just play Nigar there; I was a host of characters. I got great feedback, was declared best jodi four times and finally won the contest.

Report By: Sonali Joshi

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