Neha Joshi is a popular face in the entertainment industry and is known for her versatile roles in several Hindi and Marathi cinemas and television shows. Her compelling performances and versatility through impactful and diverse roles have earned her acclaim and a dedicated fan following. She is now all set to portray Krishna Devi Vajpayee’s role in &TV’s new show, ‘Atal’, based on the untold aspects of late Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s childhood. The actor gets up, close and personal, discussing her role, challenges, and other parts of her acting career.
1. Tell us about your character in ‘Atal’.
My role is that of young Atal’s mother, Krishna Devi Vajpayee. She is an extraordinary woman with unwavering dedication. Despite her profound passion for history and politics, she gracefully transitioned into a devoted supporter of her husband, Vajpayee Ji. Her life’s mission is to maintain harmony within her family, standing firmly behind her husband’s choices. With a rock-solid resolve and deep religious conviction, she silently opposes British colonial rule, fervently desiring India’s liberation. Krishna Devi is the bedrock upon which her son, Atal, relies, inheriting his relentless vision and a penchant for questioning the status quo from her. She may not vocalise her views to the world, but she embodies a genuine desire to see her beloved country, India, break free. Her unyielding commitment to her family, unspoken defiance against colonial oppression, and influential role in shaping her son’s destiny make Krishna an exceptional character.
2. What makes this role so different from other roles of mothers you have played on screen? Doesn’t it get monotonous?
The story will highlight young Atal’s relationship with his mother, Krishna Devi Vajpayee, who deeply influenced his beliefs, values and thinking. On one hand, India was facing slavery under British rule and on the other, it was facing internal strife and division of wealth, caste, and discrimination. A dream envisioned by Atal’s mother of a united India was a dream he deeply cherished. This storyline unfolds the inspiring story of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a boy from humble beginnings who became one of India’s most prominent leaders.
You’re right. Consecutively portraying similar characters can be challenging. However, as an actor, my approach is to find the uniqueness in each character, even if they share certain traits. It’s an opportunity to delve deeper into the nuances and explore different facets of similar roles. This way, I can keep the performances fresh and engaging, ensuring that the audience still experiences something new and exciting with each character, even if they share similarities.
3. Since this is a real-life character, how did you prepare for it, and what challenges or opportunities could you find?
Honestly, portraying a real-life character can be both challenging and rewarding. The difficulty varies depending on the character’s complexity and the research’s depth required. Challenges can be capturing the personality’s nuisances, mannerisms, emotional accuracy, diction, etc. But the responsibility is to do justice to the real individual and their story, which too can be quite daunting but rewarding. However, it provides opportunities to delve into the character’s life, empathise, and bring their experiences to the audience. It allows actors to showcase their versatility. Balancing authenticity with creative interpretation is the key. In essence, playing real-life characters offers a unique set of challenges and the chance to create a powerful connection with the audience when executed effectively. We did go through extensive research and workshops to prepare for the role, which helped me immensely. The researcher and writer guided me through various aspects of Krishna Vajpayee’s personality and belief system, which helped me better understand her as a person and way of life. And I have tried my best to bring those aspects to life in this show. A lot of hard work, perseverance, and preparation has gone into it.
4. How does it feel to portray the role of a mother at a young age? This will be your third stint with the channel where you’ll essay a mother’s character. Don’t you feel you’ll be typecasted?
Playing the role of a mother in this project is truly meaningful to me. It allows me to delve deep into the complexities of a woman’s life and her journey through motherhood. While this is my third time portraying a mother on this channel, I see it as an opportunity rather than a concern about typecasting. Each character I play, even if they are mothers, is unique in their way. Motherhood itself is such a diverse and multifaceted experience that there are countless stories to tell. With each role, I explore different aspects of motherhood, from the challenges to the joys and struggles to the triumphs. As an actor, my goal is to bring authenticity and depth to each character I portray, and that means ensuring that every mother I play is distinct from the others. I’m confident in bringing a fresh perspective and a unique personality to each role, which helps prevent typecasting. It’s a testament to my versatility as an artist, and I’m excited to continue to grow and evolve in my craft through these opportunities.
5. You have yet to take up new projects outside this channel. Do you have any specific reason? Also, why associate yourself with one channel?
I haven’t taken up new projects outside this channel because of timing and priorities. This channel has offered me exciting and challenging roles I’ve been passionate about. As an artist, I must be selective about my projects to ensure they align with my artistic goals and provide growth opportunities. Additionally, my association with this channel has allowed me to build a strong rapport with their team, which enhances creative collaboration and communication. This consistency helps us work together more effectively, and I believe in the potential for great storytelling here. While I’ve focused on this channel, I’m open to exploring other projects in the future that align with my artistic vision and schedule. It’s about making the most of the opportunities available and delivering my best work to the audience.
6. What is your dream role or any role in mind you have that you would like to portray?
I yearn to embody a profound and impactful women-centric character. I envision a role that’s not just strong but deeply compassionate, a character who faces life’s challenges with unwavering resolve and wisdom, leaving a lasting impression on the audience. My dream role would be a portrayal of a woman who stands as a beacon of strength, inspiring a societal shift in recognising and respecting the invaluable contributions of women in official roles. Through this character, I aim to entertain and ignite a fire within women, encouraging them to chase their dreams relentlessly, regardless of the hurdles that may come their way.
7. You are back essaying the role of a mother to an eminent personality. Previously, too, you had undertaken the role of a mother to a prominent leader. How is this different, and what’s your take?
Portraying a mother to a prominent personality, as I’ve done before, is always a unique experience. Each time I take on such a role, there are distinct elements that set it apart. In this instance, the character I’m essaying, the mother of a prominent leader, comes with its challenges and emotional depth. My take on this role is one of great responsibility and honour. It’s a privilege to depict the guiding force and influence in the life of a significant figure, and I see it as an opportunity to delve deeper into the complexities of motherhood and the impact of maternal support on the path of a leader. I aim to bring authenticity and emotional resonance to this character, making it a memorable and impactful portrayal that adds depth to the narrative.

Tune in to watch ‘Atal’ at 8:00 pm, airing every Monday to Friday only on &TV!

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