Actress Shriya Pilgaonkar is garnering praise for her performance in the web series The Broken News, which began streaming on Zee5 on June 10. Directed by Vinay Waikul, it also stars Sonali Bendre and Jaideep Ahlawat. The Free Press Journal caught up with the actress for an exclusive interaction.
Opening up about her experience playing the role of Radha Bhargava in The Broken News, she shares, “It was a creatively fulfilling experience with a good and fun bunch of actors. I’m playing a news producer, and certain things my character does are really exciting in the show. It is about what goes behind your daily news. It is a relevant story, and it was very fascinating. Also, the director encouraged us to ask questions and to give our opinions, which is why I say it was creatively fulfilling. Also, it feels great to headline projects.”
When asked if she shares any similarities with Radha, Shriya says, “Both of us are very passionate about what we do. And if we believe in something, we will fight for it. I think Radha has a way of convincing people, and I think even I might be good at convincing people sometimes. But otherwise, Radha is quite different because she’s somebody who doesn’t like too many people. She’s an introvert and doesn’t have too many friends. So as a personality, she’s quite different from who I am.”
Elaborating about her role in the show, Shriya shares, “Radha is a brave, fearless, and rebellious news producer at Aawaz Bharti. Her boss is Amina, played by Sonali Bendre. My character will do whatever it takes for her story to come out. She is also somebody who understands that she needs to give her stories that leverage and that platform that is powerful enough to get her stories out. Radha makes certain decisions that she may or may not be proud of but she is discovering herself in this industry. Parallelly, we also see Radha investigating the death of her journalist friend, so there is one larger arch and track in the show. And of course, as seen in the trailer, we also see how Radha also has an equation with Dipankar, Jaideep's character.”
When asked if playing Radha was taxing for her, considering the show is a news drama, Shriya explains, “Well, not taxing but we had long days at the shoot and the scenes themselves were heavy but I think the stress that perhaps news producers, reports, journalists, or anyone working behind the scenes go through, we've shown that in a real way. So to be honest, even when we had hectic days on the shoot, it helped me in my character. There were some taxing days as emotionally we've seen Radha go through a lot in the show with respect to her job. But in a way, it did help my character.”
Shriya was all praise for co-star Sonali. “She plays my boss Amina. I absolutely love Sonali. I have so much respect for her. I just love her attitude towards life and the way she carries herself. It was very important for Radha and Amina to have working chemistry and a certain equation. They are two strong women who have so much love for each other. They see themselves in each other, but they can also have healthy disagreements. There are many things they don’t agree with, yet their equation has been shown very well. It has been written very well by the writers, and I enjoyed creating that with Sonali. She is a very sweet person and is such a good and happy energy on set,” she gushes.
One wonders if Sonali was nervous during the shoot. Especially because she's facing the camera after many years. Shriya reveals, “She was nervous only on the first day and she was quite vocal about it. I like that she's very honest. But I think every actor on the first day of a new project feels nervous. But she's an absolute pro. She was always so well prepared and sometimes having nervous energy is very important for an actor which is why I feel like if you don't feel nervous sometimes, that might not always be a good thing. But I think she was always very open about what she was feeling.”
Shriya is elated that she got to share screen space with Jaideep.“I'm lucky to have got to work with Jaideep because he's one of the finest actors we have today. During several scenes that I was doing with him, I would catch myself just observing him and I had to remind myself - 'wait you are also in the scene'. So I think it's always inspiring when you get to work with people who have so much experience because there's so much to learn and observe. Earlier, I was just a fan but now I'm a friend who's also a fan.”
Lately, the audience has seen the actress in some powerful roles. Shriya played a lawyer in Guilty Minds and a journalist in The Broken News. We quiz her if it a conscious decision to play such kinds of roles. “For me, the script is very important and I actually want to explore different genres. I don't want to give people a chance to stereotype me which is why I'm picking parts that are versatile and that help me explore myself as an actor. For me, Sweety Gupta in Mirzapur changed my career. The critical appreciation and love that I got for Kashaf Quaze in Guilty Minds were so important for me and it was something that truly boosted my confidence. This is a new phase in my career, that's how I see it. I feel I'm being trusted with some incredibly written parts and that is a good feeling. But a good script is important for me and to do parts that have a certain emotional resonance and that also leave an impact,” she says.
Elaborating further, she adds, “But moving forward, I have recently shot for a rom-com film. I will also be seen as a sex worker in one of my upcoming projects. So I feel I want to do different characters and different genres because that's what I also enjoy as an audience. It's sometimes possible that people can label you very quickly and I don't want that to happen.”
On a parting note, she reveals the reaction of her parents, Sachin Pilgaonkar and Supriya Pilgaonkar, when they saw the trailer of The Broken News. “Oh, they really enjoyed it. They really can’t wait to watch it. They know how much hard work has gone behind when I play these parts. I like to keep it a surprise even to them because I want them to be objective when they’re watching it. They can see that you know my character has done some jhol based on the trailer (laughs). They were also happy with the response to Guilty Minds because I feel when people message them, it makes them proud,” she concludes.