Television actress Sargun Mehta marked a very successful debut in Punjabi cinema with Angrej last year. Mehta is now set for her second innings with Love Punjab, which also features her Angrej co-star Amrinder Gill. In a free-wheeling chat with Rohini Nag, the actress discusses her career and more
From television to Punjabi cinema… what was the transition like for you?
Television is like a daily newspaper but films are like novels. The transition was very smooth. I knew the films’ writer Amberdeep Singh, with whom I was working on the show Comedy Circus. He recommended me for Angrej and I instantly bagged the film. The milestones in my journey as an actor, from TV to films, have been marked with personal growth.
You garnered huge appreciation for your first release, Angrej. How did things change for you after the film?
Things did not change, per say. When Angrej released, I was in Chandigarh and had planned to watch the film with my entire family and friends, a group of 70. We accidentally booked tickets for the wrong show, so my brother went online to book tickets for the correct one. To my surprise, the shows were housefull and we were unable to get tickets. I was disappointed that we couldn’t get tickets but then it sank in that it was a great achievement as it was my film that was running to packed houses. When we finally managed to book tickets, I watched the film with the audience.
I was so overwhelmed to see myself on the big screen that I couldn’t grasp the film. But everyone liked my work and the response was phenomenal. Even though my presence in the film was only post-interval, the audience really liked my work. Due to my television work, I already had a fan following but with my Punjabi film, the kind of appreciation I received was fabulous.
Typically, the struggle really begins with one’s second film. How tough was it to bag your next project?
I didn’t have to struggle as the entire team of Love Punjab is the same, except for the director. My television work had already put me on the map. Also, my performance in Angrej was appreciated and I received a very good response. The writer of the film is a very good friend and I was approached for this film. I loved the script and my character, and it was an instant ‘yes’ for me.
Tell us about Love Punjab, which is set to release soon.
What made you sign the flim?
The film is set to hit the screens on March 11 and centres on a family based in Canada. I play a married girl who is born and raised in Canada. The film talks about family values and family ties. I didn’t want to use a fake accent for my part even though my character was an NRI because Punjabis living abroad are totally conversant with the language and are very rooted to their culture. At home, they speak only in their mother tongue.
Don’t you want to do Hindi films?
I don’t want to restrict myself and if I get a good role or script, I would love to do it. I have been approached for many Hindi films but things haven’t fallen into place as I want something that would justify my presence. Punjabi is my native language, which is why I am comfortable doing Punjabi films. Other than that, other regional films do not interest me. I have been approached for Telugu and Tamil films but I don’t want to sign anything that wouldn’t add to my career graph. Having said that, I would love to do a film on the lines of Chokher Bali.
Are there any directors in particular whom you want to work with?
I am a diehard fan of Rajshri Films as I’ve grown up watching their films. I love Dharma (Productions) films too and I can relate to the kind of films they make. If given a chance, I would love to do a film like Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… or Kuch Kuch Hota Hai or Maine Pyar Kiya. But I have a certain responsibility towards my audience. I can’t let them down. I have to be extremely careful about the films I choose.
What’s next on your plate?
I have two more Punjabi films lined up but things are yet to be finalised. It would be appropriate to talk about them only after everything is signed and sealed. I don’t have any television commitments right now as it requires a lot of involvement in terms of time. Hence I am taking things as they come.