For over 570 episodes now, the hit family drama of Zee Kannada, Subbalakshmi Samsara has thoroughly entertained fans throughout the state. Deepa Bhaskar, who is a renowned theatre personality and also a dubbing artiste, stars as Subbalakshmi Gurumurthy. The story revolves around Subbalakshmi, who is a family-oriented devoted wife, exceptional mother and a really good friend. However, when she finds out that the husband, Gurumurthy, is having an affair with his secretary Shanaya, Subbi’s world is turned upside down.
Since then Subbalakshmi has strived to be self-reliant with a successful home-business but has never given up on her dream to reunite with her beloved husband one day. She believes in morals, values and is slightly conservative. In an EXCLUSIVE interview, she looks back at her journey and talks about her favourite co-stars.
Q. What does family mean to you in real life? How different is your onscreen character from your offscreen character?
A. If something like this were to happen in Deepa’s life, she would just say you know ‘Get out of my life!’ But Subbalakshmi fought for it. She asked Gurumurthy ‘Give me one good reason why I can’t be that Shanaya in your life? Why is it that you can’t love me like her in your life? Tell me what is it that I can do to be like her in your life so that you can love me?’ We are thinking about it from today’s point of view. But Subbalakshmi is like our typical grandmother or a mother who has strong values and believes in them staunchly. She believes in the institution of marriage.
Divorce is a painful process. Only the people going through it know the trauma that they are in. You have been loving someone sincerely and all of a sudden you realise that everything both of you had was fake. It’s a big tragedy that can befall anyone. Actually the fight should happen from both the ends to salvage the relationship. It shouldn’t be one-sided like in Subbalakshmi’s case where only she is fighting to save her marriage while her husband continues to cheat on her is a very tragic situation. But when the efforts are actually happening from both the sides, it is a beautiful place to be in. So you know, it is easy for Deepa (chuckles), but I think it is extremely difficult for Subbalakshmi.
Q. What message would you like to give all the fans of Subbalakshmi Samsara?
A. A big, big, BIG hug and thank you to all of them because they have really supported us and helped us achieve this milestone. What you should understand is that the minute the promos of Subbalakshmi Samsara were on, it was like a dead-end story. There is this loving wife, with a cute family and the husband has an affair.
The plot was already revealed in the trailer. So, what was going to happen further was the greatest challenge. Knowing the story, the way people have supported us is really commendable. Now, Subbalakshmi has become independent. Even Gurumurthy knows that she is capable enough to face life by herself.
I have met a lot of women who have told me that, they have actually started working like Subbalakshmi. They make masala powders for a living and are actually succeeding in it! It might be a small step as of now but they are confident that they will reach greater heights. They tell me they were inspired by Subbalakshmi.
When I realise that this is how much people care about my work, it motivates me to toil harder so that I can continue to lend support to my fans. It gives me immense joy. Actually, joy is too small a word for me to express how I really feel. I am elated!
Q. Subbalakshmi Samsara has crossed the 550 episode mark, how has your journey been so far?
A. This has exactly been like how life would be in a Samsara. There has been laughter and pain and the family has stood together through thick and thin. We have had all sorts of ups and downs and it’s nice that we have crossed this landmark and are making attempts to reach the next landmark. It feels great because in a family, pain is always distributed and the burden doesn’t just fall on one person.
Q. Who would you call your best friend on set and why?
A. As I said, it’s our Samsara, so just taking one person’s name would upset the other person. However, Gurumurthy and Shanaya are my best friends. And of course, I shouldn’t miss my director here who is our grandmother of the set. So you need to have a dadi, you need you have your children and together it becomes a Samsara. Having said that, there are characters who are Shanaya’s friends on screen but who are also my good friends. All my on-screen villains are my off-screen friends.
Q. What is your chemistry with Shanaya aka Samikshaa in real life?
A. Well, onscreen we are like a snake and a mongoose, but off-screen she goes ‘Deepakkaaaa’. She comes running to me and literally jumps on me. She is on my lap and I am feeding her all the time. Like I said, it is a Samsara where I have children and she is one of them. There’s one Atharva and then there is Samikshaa. She might be that sexy babe you’ll see onscreen but off screen she is a baby (chuckles). That’s how we are and it has been fantastic working with her. I can see how the actor in her has just grown exponentially and I really wish her well.
Q. Why did it not work out between Arun Prasad and Subbi, can you elaborate a little?
A. See it is very easy for us as city girls to think about the situation and you know just move on. But for Subbalakshmi moving on is the hardest thing. She is someone who believes that her husband is her life. So, all of a sudden for her to see and accept somebody else in that position is very difficult. She can be a mother, she can be a sister, she can be a daughter-in-law, she can be a daughter, she can be anything but she’s the solely the wife of Gurumurthy.
You might call that a typical mentality or you can even call her old-fashioned because this is what she believes. If you look at your grandmother or mother or even any relatives who are about fifty years or so, you would find them contemporary today but if you ask their ideas and thoughts, you might find it old school. But I would say it was this strong belief that kept their families going so far. And now she (Subbi) also believes that for the sake of Atharva, that is what is right. At least in her mind, her life is settling with Gurumurthy, so she is extremely happy. Arun Prasad is a very good friend.
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