24 diary: Sapna Pabbi on playing Kiran Rathod

posted by Anuja Gondhalekar, last updated on November 18th, 2013 at 4:15 pm

On being part of such a big project

I was very happy when I bagged the project but I was a little unsure about it because I was not aware of the scale of the show. Then I started reading up on it, did some research and finally the details became clear, and I realized how huge a project this is, being helmed by Anil Kapoor and Abhinay Deo. So I was very very thrilled to be a part of it.

On preparing for the character of Kiran

After reading the script, I got some ideas about the character of Kiran should be, I created an image in my head. But Abhinay sir told me not to have a character sketch in mind, he was there to develop the character according to his vision. He said ‘Let me handle the character, you just understand the situations that Kiran is in. So I left everything to him and focused on learning my lines and delivering what he wanted.

On bringing out her ‘Indianness’ for the role

I’m from London, so my Hindi is not very sharp, but I still tried to prepare as much as possible for the role. I started taking trains, I even asked my neighbour to talk to me in Hindi so I could pick up on the language. Now even after I’m done shooting, she won’t stop talking to me in Hindi! But I guess it all worked out because those who know me-my friends, family and the team, can pick up a hint of the accent when they see me on screen. But the normal audience is surprised to know that I’m not from here. 

On doing physically challenging scenes for 24

I loved the action scenes! I’m very athletic and have been a gymnast, so I really like doing all the physical stuff. I used to be really excited when Allan sir (the action director) used to come on the set and have a little smile on his face because I knew that I would get to do some action that day.  The team knew I was excited about all the risky stuff so they wanted me to do it also, but they also used to say ‘We can’t risk you getting hurt’ too. There was one scene when I had to jump on top of Qureshi when he’s trying to kill my mom, and when I watched that scene during the dubbing, I found it so funny because I looked like a ninja, and I remember he threw me off and I went flying on the set! Good fun. 

On her most memorable scene

The most memorable scene has to be my first scene. It was the first day of shoot and we were doing the scene where I have an argument with my father. That was also my audition scene, and I had done it a few times before. I was very nervous because I had to be bang on, I could’ve been in trouble if I messed up. But thankfully I got it right and everyone on set gave a little clap which said, “Yay! You got it!” Even the dialogue supervisor came up to me and said ‘I never tell people that they did well, but you did good” It means a lot when you’re not from here and are under so much pressure.

On bonding with the young cast

The four of us in the younger cast got along very well and became really good friends because all of us have the same vision, all of us are fighting to succeed, so we understand each other and are completely honest with each other. I’ve heard stories about actresses not getting along but Aradhana (Janhvi) is so awesome! Even with Priyansh (Rohit), we used to ask each other how our scene was, and give honest feedback. 

On learning from the experienced cast

Tisca ma’am is so focused and professional, she has amazing attention to detail. I got to learn so much from her. Anil sir is surprisingly warm and chilled out, considering the kind of work he’s done. He used to ask me to focus on a particular scene in a very fatherly way. He is so full of energy that he used to sometimes jump around on set and when we giggled, he used to say ‘You guys are young, you should be the ones doing it.’ It’s great that 24 has such class actors. And oh, I’ve asked Mandira to adopt me as a younger sister because she’s totally cool and awesome, and she’s considering doing it. Both of us are Punjabi and she’s never treated me like a newcomer. She used to come up to me and say ‘I’ve got kadhi chawal for lunch so hurry up!’

On what she’s learnt from 24

When we were shooting, I was so focused on getting the job done that I didn’t think about what reaction we’ll get. I wasn’t prepared for all the lovely messages that I have gotten from the audience, so they have been a little hard to digest. Apart from all the visibility that 24 has given me, apart from all the doors it’ll hopefully open for me, I have learnt a lot from the show. It taught me how to hold myself, how to prepare for a scene, I’ve learnt so much from Abhinay sir, Rensil sir. I’m blessed and grateful for this opportunity and wish to use all this knowledge in my career and show the team that I’ve put this experience to good use. I would love for Abhinay sir to come up to me one day and say ‘You did well.’ 

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