New Delhi: Padma Shri recipient Sarita Joshi is a celebrated stage, television and film actress. The veteran of Gujarati theatre and Marathi theatre and Marathi cinema, believes that “Hard work, honesty and punctuality, these three things which should always be maintained in life, because lethargy is something that will not work, and always remember that time is money.”
Joshi, who turns 79 next month, is widely remembered for her role in the Star Plus hit dramedy ‘Baa Bahoo Aur Baby’, for which she won many awards.
Excerpts from her interview:
Q: Please tell us about your beginnings with Gujarati and Marathi theatre.
A: I was in a school in Baroda and my first stage performance there was a play where Shanta Devi Maharani gave me a prize for it. I guess I was noticed there. There was an opening in a traditional play which had film actors like Ashraf Khan, Sharda and that is where I started as a child artist – I was 7 years old then. My family had come under hard times and needed money, so I continued to work with all the big stars of the times. Later, I joined Kala Kendra and did some plays with some more famous people; following which I joined the Indian National Theatre. I worked with Praveen Joshi for 19 years and also married him. I did film thereafter, good ones like ‘Gangubai’ where I was felicitated in Washington and I received many honors from the Gujarat and Maharashtra governments.
Q: Please tell us about your latest play with Zee Theatre ‘Saku Bai’ and your role.
A: Sakubai is typical of the maids of Mumbai where husbands and wives work. And now during lockdown people have realised how ‘Sakubai’ helped run the house and how important she is to a family. ‘Sakubai’ is my second one-woman show – I evolved as a woman in the show – from a child to a woman and to an older woman, a grandmother who laughs her troubles away.
Q: How does your engagement with theatre impact your acting on television and in films
A: Those of us who do theatre, we have a lot of confidence and also know a bit of technology. I have worked with directors like Praveen Joshi and Satyadev Dubey, who had a different styles of storytelling and hence I have learnt to act in my own natural way, whichever medium I am given. For television and films, the voice and throw have to be restricted while for the stage it has to be loud, so we learn to adapt with every different platform we work on.
Q: You’re a Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee as well as a Padma Shri recipient. How motivating are awards for you
A: We work with full honesty, hard work, and determination and we learn a lot from everything around. When my kids were small and my husband expired, that time theatre was like bread and butter for me. For me, acting is spiritual, honest, and my bread and butter; all these three things are very important for me and that is the reason I thought of earning through theatre. My awards came because of my approach and attitude to my work. For me, an award is equal to earning respect. I received the Padma Shri, because of the people. I never feel proud but feel happy and say Thank you God for making me reach such heights of success.
Q: As a veteran actor, what is your advice to younger actors
A: Hard work, honesty and punctuality, these three things should always be maintained in life because lethargy is something that will not work, and always remember that time is money. And whatever you do, keep society in mind, give something in return to society, keep a larger perspective in whatever you do.