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'I will definitely be compared to Rupa Ganguly'
July 08, 2008 11:44 IST

Anita Hassdandani is one busy lady. The actress, who made her television debut in the highly successful Kabhia Sautan Kabhie Saheli, is all set to play Draupadi in the brand new mythological serial Kahaani Hamaaray Mahaabhaarat Ki.

Most popular for her role as Anjali in Kavyanjali, Anita has also dabbled in south Indian films. This is not all. More action is in store for Anita as she is one of the participants of the desi version of the popular reality show Fear Factor, which is hosted by the Khiladi himself, Akshay Kumar [Images].

Read on as the actress tells Rajul Hegde about Draupadi and what scared her the most about Akshay Kumar. Excerpts:

How did you get the role of Draupadi?

When I was shooting for Fear Factor Khatron Ke Khiladi in South Africa, I got a call from Balaji Telefilms [Get Quote]. They wanted to know whether I would be interested in Draupadi's role. I said yes immediatedly. Later on, I was little scared because the new Mahabhaarat is modern complete with a new format and contemporary looks. And here I was playing Draupadi! I had butterflies in my stomach.

What attracted you to Mahabhaarat?

It's challenging, intense, complex and nothing like the regular soaps. It was different and difficult for me to portray Draupadi.

What kind of research did you do after you came to know that you are portraying one of the important characters in Mahabhaarat?

I didn't have much time to prepare. I started shooting within few days after returning from South Africa. I have gone through some CD's of B R Chopra's Mahabharat to acquaint myself with the character. I have also been reading up on the subject. Plus, those around me know about Mahabharat and my character, so I am getting to know from them too.

Gauri Pradhan [Images] was also short-listed for Draupadi's role though she lost out to you. Any comments?

As far as I know, the producers were looking for a fresh face for Draupadi's role. It's news to me that Gauri Pradhan and I were short-listed. The production house will be able to give you the right answer as to why they selected me.

Do you have jitters about playing Draupadi?

Yes, I am very scared. I will definitely be compared to Rupa Ganguly (she acted as Draupadi in B R Chopra's Mahabharat). She created history by portraying the character. It's going to be difficult for me to reach to her level. I will be happy if I reach one tenth of her level. I am really working hard and have put in my best. I hope people will accept me as Draupadi.

Tell us about your costume and look.

Manish Malhotra [fashion designer] chose the colour red for me. Bharat and Dorris have worked on my make-up and hairstyle. I was told not to cut my hair after they selected me for this role.

Do you think this new Mahabhaarat can create the magic of B R Chopra's Mahabharat?

This show is going to a big challenge for the channel, production house and the actors. Everyone has worked hard. I hope all the hard work pays off.

Why have you stayed away from soaps?

I was busy doing south films after Kavyanjali and I requested the production house to reduce my track in Kyunki. Plus, I had to go to South Africa for Fear Factor.

Catch Kahaani Hamaaray Mahaabhaarat Ki every Monday to Thursday on 9X at 9 pm.

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