Mumbai, Jan 11: Is acting in television serials an easy career choice for small town girls? No, say Sneha Wagh and Aastha Chaudhary, adding it comes with many hurdles as they are often stopped and questioned by their families.
But once they take the plunge, these girls' determination impress producers and they even connect with viewers, industry insiders say.
For Alwar (Rajasthan) girl Aastha, convincing her parents was a tough task.
"It took me six months to convince my parents. They were so shocked. But finally they agreed. I said give me a few months, otherwise I will take up a job. But now they are happy," said the 27-year-old, who featured in "Aise Karo Naa Vidaa" as the lead.
Born and brought up in Kalyan in Maharashtra's Thane district, "Jyoti" fame Sneha Wagh too shocked her parents when she announced her decision to become an actress.
"My dad was against it, but when he saw my work, he was proud of me. My mom supported me and stood by me," she said.
Girls in general face opposition from parents when they make acting a career choice. Delhi girl Neetu, who featured in "Laagi Tujhse Lagan", too had to combat this.
"I come from a very conservative family. My dad is very strict," said the 24-year-old.
"So you can imagine what a big fight it was to enter the industry. I used to go for modelling and anchoring in Delhi, where I auditioned for a TV show.
I got selected. I didn't know how to convince my dad. I cried for 3-4 days... didn't eat," she added.
She took up a job with Kingfisher Airlines to move to Mumbai and to achieve her dream of becoming an actress.
"When I came here, I got my first show. The day he saw me on Zee TV, my father told me to fulfil my dreams. Now more than my mom, my dad supports me," she said.
But once they take the plunge, the girls work with full force.
High on grit, these girls also find an easy connect with viewers, say industry pundits.
"I meet like 60-70 girls every month. Most of them are from small towns like Agra, Indore and Faridabad. People find it easier to relate to them as bahus (daughters-in-law), daughters and sisters on television," said Mukesh Chabra, who is involved in the casting for Balaji Telefilms.
Their dedication motivates producer Yash Patnaik to cast them in his show.
Maker of TV shows like "Junoon-Aisi Nafrat Toh Kaisa Ishq", Patnaik said:
"We give preference to people coming all the way from other cities. It's about their determination. If someone can travel so much and struggle so much, it shows their determination."
Another good thing about them is that they add different flavour to the characters they step in.
"To be honest, I am not making a show for Mumbai audience. I am making a show for pan-India. If I can get people from Bihar, West Bengal and all, they will be bringing something more with them. Their way of talking and acting will add to my characters," he said.
Pointing to another plus point in them, acting guru Vinod Tharani said it's a "myth that small town girls are not open".
"They are as open as girls from Mumbai. They are willing to do intimate scenes. Even if they might not be comfortable, they know this is a part of their profession and they accept it," he added.
Neetu seconds him, saying: "I don't have any problems in shooting these scenes. You also know parents are more intelligent than us. So I am ok with that. There is no problem with showing kissing scenes, but you need to see how it is presented."
However, everything is not so hunky-dory for them as they live under constant pressure of proving that their decision was right.
"All parents think that the minute their children land in Mumbai, they will get work. But it is not so, they have to struggle, so more than teaching them, I give them the strength to survive in the industry," said Tharani, who has coached actors like Deepika Padukone and Amy Jackson.
(Anjuri Nayar can be contacted at email@example.com)