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 Family affair

Yet another soap opera hits the small screen. Yet another family drama unfolds its tale.

Kutumb is all set to entice viewers into its fold. Whats it about Balaji Telefilms and their penchant for family dramas that they keep churning out one after the other? Viewers seem to be hooked on to the shenanigans of these joint family sagas with their manipulative mothers-in law and daughters-in-law apart from the other members of the family chipping in with their bit of connivance or magnanimity as the case may be. Ekta Kapoor seems to have an uncanny understanding of the viewers psyche or how else does one explain the success of each one of the teleserials conceived by her?

The latest from the Balaji camp to go on air is Kutumb, yet another family drama as the name suggests. The serial, being telecast on Sony Television, revolves around the wealthy Mittal family. The scion of the family, Pratham, is a Casanova who is in the habit of changing girlfriends at the drop of a hat. Into his college walks in Gauri who detests spoilt brats like Pratham. One reason for her contempt for Pratham is that he was responsible for driving her best friend to attempt suicide.

Prathams attempt at wooing her ends in Gauri humiliating him in public. Scorned and humiliated, Pratham vows revenge. Pratham marries Gauri to teach her a lesson! Rejected by the Mittals and married to a man who hates her, Gauri chalks her own path. How this couple turn hatred into love is what Kutumb is all about.


Source: Thanks to Telelife.




Meet Hiten and Gauri
Hiten a commerce graduate from Jaihind College, Mumbai, has always been interested in acting. While in college he worked with the theatre group, Ankur. Moving from college plays to the ramp was easy for Hiten. Ad films followed and made him a familiar face. Among his more recent ad films are Savlon, Close-up and Breeze.

Ad films were fun but then it isnt a regular source of income, points out Hiten. I was always interested in acting, so when Balaji Telefilms advertised for new faces for their serials I sent in my photographs. I was one amongst hundreds of others who were auditioned and lucky to be selected, recalls Hiten. Thats how I got my first break in a small role in Ghar Ek Mandir.

Gauri hails from a family with an army background. So she has spent her entire childhood in Kashmir and Udhampur. After her 12th, she joined the Ace Academy for Modelling in Pune just for the heck of it during her vacation. Modelling for ramp shows followed and led to her taking part in the Miss India beauty contest in 1998. At that time acting was the last thing on my mind. But after one and a half years of modelling, I realised it wasnt my scene at all.

The atmosphere and lifestyle in the modelling world just didnt go with my upbringing and values so I wanted to opt out of it. Thats when the role of Noor Jehan was offered to me and I took it on, says Gauri.

The Small Beginning
Hiten has had good roles in the other serials that followed like Kabhi Sauten Kabhi Saheli and Kahin Kissi Roz.. But this is the first time that I play the main lead. What I am really happy about is the fact that I have a role with varying shades. I play a negative character in the beginning and then as the story progresses, go on to become a positive character.

It is this couple that hate each other, who watch the complete disintegration of their family, and then as the story goes on, they get together to reunite the family, explains Hiten.

For Gauri, Noor Jehan came at a time when she was looking for a change from the modelling scene. I had never done theatre or any acting in my school days but I began to enjoy acting while doing Noor Jehan. Both my roles in Noor Jehan and Kutumb are very close to the real me. I am very strong headed and believe in my principles.

The Breezy encounter
Gauri and Hiten first met each other during an ad film. Little did they know then that the two would be starring opposite each other in a teleserial in lead roles. Recalls Hiten that it was an ad for Breeze that they had done together. We had met then and so you can say we knew each other from before.

We were in Hyderabad for 2-3 days to shoot that ad. Thats when the two of us met. But I dont talk much and I spent much of my time reading a book. But Hiten is a nice guy to work with and I am comfortable with him, says Gauri.

With Balajis Blessings
Hitens association with Balaji goes back a long way to his acting debut in Balajis most successful teleserial Ghar Ek Mandir. Ghar Ek Mandir was followed by Kabhi Sauten Kabhi Saheli, Kahin Kissi Roz and now Kutumb. Working with Balajis Kutumb family is like one happy family says Hiten. The work atmosphere is very good. We have a lot of fun on the sets. Balaji is a very profess-ional company to work with. Ekta amazes me. I dont know how she does it but she actually knows everything that is happening on the sets.

She is aware of the script and can catch on when something which was in the script is not adhered to. There are times when she loses her cool but I think it is fair enough. She is the producer and if things are going wrong she has every right to pull up the concerned person. I am very thankful to Balaji for giving me a chance.

Gauri had a nodding acquaintance with Ekta because they had a common friend. I had met Ekta a couple of times and she had talked about working together but somehow they never materialised until Kutumb happened. I absolutely agree with Hiten when he says that Balaji is a very professional place to work with. They are hard taskmasters but thorough professionals.

I am enjoying working with the unit of Kutumb. Otherwise, I am a very reserved person and sit reading a book on the sets. People think I am a snob but thats the way I am and not about to change for anybody, says Gauri firmly.

Current Affairs
Hiten is looking forward to his career as a television actor at least for a year before he can think of making a move to films. I would like to work in films but a little later. Presently I am enjoying my work in television. Hiten is also enjoying his recognition as a TV star.

People do recognise me specially after Kahin Kisi Roz. Some people even call me by the character I play ... Nakul. But there isnt much scope for people to see me really. For a morning shift I am out of the house by 7 a.m. and return way past midnight. On days when I am not shooting I try to catch up on my sleep or else go party with my friends.

Gauri moved to Mumbai two years ago, while her family lives in Pune. So the little time she gets from shooting she prefers to spend it with her family and friends back home.

Their own Kutumb
Hiten is one of three brothers and lives with his parents in Borivili, a suburb of Mumbai. He has no sisters. And is quick to point out that he doesnt consider all women as his sisters though! On second thoughts he is willing to concede that except for one he doesnt mind the rest of women kind being his sisters. His brothers are talented dancers and are freelance dancers with part of Shiamak Davars troupe and also dance in choreographer Raju Khans team.

Gauri is the second of three siblings. She has an elder brother who is a petro-chemical engineer and a younger sister who is studying medicine. She is the only one in the family with acting to her credentials.

The Celluloid Dreams
Some day Hiten would like to work in films made by Ram Gopal Varma and Shyam Benegal. Refreshingly, Hiten does not want to be a romantic hero in Hindi films. I would like to play good character roles no matter how small but if it is a good role I would be interested in doing it. I have nothing against the song and dance routine but character roles are what I enjoy. Not that I cant dance, I can shake a leg too, says Hiten.

Surprisingly Gauri is not keen to join films. As of now I dont want to work in films. I am comfortable with television which itself leaves me with very little time for my family and friends. But if something really interesting comes along may be I will consider it.

As of now both Hiten and Gauri are tied to their Kutumb, and like all other soaps, it might be a long time before they are able to leave this family fold and move on with their dreams.


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