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The new and improved Kavyanjali!

By Srabanti Chakrabarti
May 23, 2006 14:22 IST
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AnitaBalaji Telefilms has this incredible capacity of turning an obscure serial into a mega hit. Unfortunately, the reverse has also been proved true with Kavyanjali.
One of the biggest launches of 2004, the serial made big news by being the comeback vehicle of Amrita Singh, Vidya Sinha and Natassha -- who, by the way, has reverted to her original name, Anita Hasnandani.

Unfortunately, the television ratings did not provide much support to the serial initially. The death of the male protagonist Eijaaz Khan (Kkavya) made things worse. But with the entry of Iqbal Khan as Shourya and a change in the storyline, the serial has made up for lost ground and is on the road to recovery.
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The set -- Nanda House, built in Klix and Nixon studios in Mumbai -- is abuzz with activity for the day's shooting. Posh glass, steel interiors and a plush sofa greet you the moment you enter the living room of the sets. The shooting schedule for the day had been postponed to 2:30 pm for a media meet.
The first to arrive was Anita Hasnandani. So why did she change her name? Dressed in a light pink sari with a violet border, Anita replies instantly, "My real name is Anita. In all the 13 films I have done down South, I have been credited as Anita. And most of them were hits. When I started in Bollywood, I felt I needed a new identity; so I changed my name to Natassha. But after a few years and discussions with Shobha Aunty (Kapoor) and Ekta, I decided to go back to my original name."
Iqbal KhanQuiz her on Kavyanjali, and the actress adjusts her hair before answering, "It's been a year since Kavya's death. Anjali (Anita's name in the serial) has become a stronger person. She is performing Kavya's duties in the family and is looking after the family business as well. It's the perfect match of a modern woman, who is also traditional."
Is she enjoying the small screen after her brief affair with the big screen? Anita, who has done films like Yeh Dil, Krishna Cottage and Koi Aap Sa, answers, "Of course. It has been an extremely enriching experience working for this serial. Right from day one, I have enjoyed the atmosphere and the role that I have been playing. Working in a Balaji production is a family affair. Shobha Aunty is like my mom and Jeetu Uncle like my dad. When Ekta decides on a role for me, I don't question her. Because I know she will not cast me in anything that does not suit me."

Iqbal Khan joined Anita on a chair next to the sofa soon. Sporting a grey suit and a designer stubble, Khan was looking the handsome young man he is. "I am just 20-episodes old in this serial. Currently it is a very slow and gentle climb for my character, but I know that moving forward it will be a steep and fast climb. I am happy that I came into the serial after Kavya's death!"
Ask Iqbal why he says, "The Indian audience wouldn't have taken much time to blame me for his death! And I don't want my character to have negative shades."
He plays a charmer who is fun loving and nice, but who, when it comes to business, is ruthless.
After Iqbal, it is time to meet our good old Kitty from Karamchand. Susmita Mukherjee, who plays Romilla in Kavyanjali, is looking her usual funny self in a bright red salwar kameez. Even after more than two decades of Karamchand, the first questions to be directed her is about the old detective serial. "That was a legend. We used to solve such complex problems so simply on screen that the audience could relate to it. I don't think there is any crime serial that has even come close to Karamchand," she says.
Vidya Sinha (Dida), Rajeev Paul (due to enter the serial in a negative role) and the other artistes are all moving around the large living room, preparing for the shots. But with the media around, the overall mood is of relaxation.
Sandeep Baswana (better known as the current Sahil in Kyun Ki…) is smoking in the backdrop. He plays Shlok in Kavyanjali. He joined the show in September last year after taking a one-and-half year break. "I was very tired after working constantly for three-and-a-half years. I needed a break desperately and that is what I took," says the Haryanvi actor.
The newlook Kavyanjali is aired on Star Plus at 9.30 pm, Monday through Thursday.
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Srabanti Chakrabarti