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Shruti Puranik: With this acting gig, getting time off is like finding water in a desert

Being an actor is no easy feat, says actress Shruti Puranik. The actress, who plays the role of Maina in the Invictus T Mediaworks’ show Dabangii: Mulgi Aayi Re Aayi, says that getting time off from a daily show is very difficult.

“Being from a small village in Maharashtra, I always cherish those moments with my family. But with this acting gig, getting time off is like finding water in a desert! Our schedules are so uncertain, and being in Mumbai away from home makes it even harder. But whenever I do get a break, I try to make the most of it by rushing back to my village and soaking in every moment with my loved ones. It’s all about finding that balance, you know?” she says.

Talking about night shoots, she says, “Being Maina in Dabangii, I remember that one night shoot we had! I’m not someone who’s crazy about night shifts, but I do enjoy them once in a while. There’s something about that ‘raat ka chai’ and some snacks that just hit different, you know? Since I’m more of a night person, I can handle it, but I always make sure to catch up on my sleep afterwards. Doing night shifts regularly can mess with your mental health, though. That’s why I practice Vipassana every day. It’s something I learned when I went there once, and it helps keep me mentally healthy, even with the crazy schedules.”

She adds that shooting in the summer can be very tough as well. “It’s no joke! The daily grind combined with the summer heat can take a toll on you. Sometimes, I feel like I could use an ice bath to cool down! But you know what helps me sustain? Lots of summer fruits, nimbu pani, and matke ka pani instead of fridge water. Keeping yourself hydrated is key, especially when you’re working in this scorching heat day in and day out,” she says.

However, work is workship for the actress. “You know, I don’t really see daily soaps as a hardship or have any negative thoughts about constant work and income. To me, an actor is an actor, and they can deliver their best performance no matter the platform. It might vary from person to person or even mood to mood. I’m not tied up in daily soaps too much; it’s only about 8 to 10 days for me. Alongside that, I’m always on the lookout for more opportunities in other platforms like films, web series, and ads. Last month, I did a web show called “Very Parivarik” with TVF. In the series, I portrayed the character of Surekha. Keep an eye out for its release; it will be out in a week or two on TVF. It’s all about keeping busy and exploring different avenues of the acting world,” she says.

However, she doesn’t believe in being labelled as a TV or film actor. “It’s not fair to label anyone as just a TV actor or to discriminate between film actors, theatre artists, or TV actors. Like I said before, an actor is an actor, and it’s all about being creative and artistic. There shouldn’t be any hierarchy or discrimination based on the platform an actor works on. Every actor deserves equal respect and appreciation for their craft. No actor is small or big; they’re all striving for the same thing: recognition and respect for their art. And you know what? I don’t even like the term “junior artist.” We should respect them just as much and call them actors too,” she says.

Ask her why she loves working on TV, and she says, “For an actor like me, the best part about working on television is the opportunity for regular practice, like ‘riyaz’ in music. Every day, you’re challenged to do something new and exciting with the scene. In television, you often get the script on the same day, so you have to memorise your lines, keep the mood of the scene in mind, and stay true to your character and background. Performing every day is like a great practice session, helping you become a pro in your craft. That’s why I believe we should take television seriously – as actors, makers, presenters, and even as the audience. It’s a platform where growth and improvement happen consistently.”

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