“Though I was funny since childhood, I never thought that I could adapt that into the roles that I played. The first 2 years of my acting career were completely focused on serious roles. No one remembers it. But “Paapa Pandu” happened just like that. Chandru sir said, “Get her onboard. She’ll take this role confidently.” I never knew I could handle a comedy sitcom’s lead character. It was a lot of struggle initially. I had no idea what to do because my co-lead, Chidanand, was very comical and he could mime well. I was not as confident mostly because of my stature.”

“People think it is comically approved to make fun of someone’s physical appearances and that is something that I do not approve of. I can make fun of myself, I don’t think it’s right on my part to make fun of someone else. I have read scripts where body shaming is a part of the comic. After a point I made sure I voiced out my opinions against it. I told them that nothing of my physical appearance is content material. After a time, I was done with such scripts and I straightforwardly told them that I wouldn’t be on board unless they change it. I mean, that’s how people are. If someone’s huge, they will make of them. If someone’s lean, they will fun of them too. This is how we’ve conditioned ourselves and our families. Like, my nicknames were “Dumchak” and “Dum”. When you say that to a kid, it might laugh at that moment. But it would be internalised by the kid. This starts at our homes and nowhere else. The line between advise and a comic is very thin when it comes to body shaming. I hope we get out of the body ridiculing comedy.”

Paapa Pandu

“The show was my life but there is a saturation point and we’d all reached there. Which is why they ended the show. I had closed myself up to the world for 3 months after because I needed a break. What I really miss is playing the role of ‘Srimathi’ and not being able to do ridiculous things to make people laugh.”

“I am at either end of the spectrum, I can be extremely happy or extremely sad. There is nothing halfway. I could be happy just by getting up in the morning. I am like that kid who is ready for an adventure every single day. The other days when I’m low, I feel like I’m resting to bounce back. I am Shalini”