I never imagined that my character of Sapna will have such an impact on the audience: Puja Jha
– By Farhad Dalal
With a stellar presence in the second season of Panchayat, Puja Jha has begun 2022 on a positive note. In an Exclusive Interview with Farhad Dalal from Popcorn Reviewss she talks about the reception of her character Sapna, her experience of working with TVF, and the year 2022 ahead.
1. How has the response been to the second season of Panchayat?
The response has been huge and people have really loved it. The second season of Panchayat has become like a Bahubali Of OTT with its massive fan following and is now a massive hit. People had been eagerly waiting for the second season and likewise now people are waiting for the third season.
If you ask about the response to my character Sapna then again it has clicked with the audience so well. I have got innumerable number of messages and DMs and everybody has been praising my skills as an actor. The main focus for which I did get praises is that they can relate to the line(which Sapna says to Abhishek), they understand the depth of it. And they also connected with my journey due to which I could deliver such lines. Personally, I had used all my life experiences to deliver these heartfelt lines and I am glad that it connected with the audience so well.
It was my writer Chandan Kumar who had written these lines and I understood the writer, and director Deepak Kumar Mishra, his vision and the project, and I used my skills as an actor to deliver these lines such that it is relatable to the viewers. I wanted the audience to get a glimpse of who I am as a person through my character. And this would again have not been possible without my co-actor Jitendra Kumar. The audience should know that there are two actors in a scene and there is an energy which is reflected onscreen for the audience to see. This is another reason why the scene clicked.
2. Did you imagine that your character Sapna would have such an impact on the audience while you were shooting for it?
I never imagined that my character of Sapna will have such an impact on the audience. The director and I have known each other for sometime and we are well aware of our strengths. So when he had offered me the part of Sapna, I just did it and had absolutely no idea about it while filming the series. The line which my character says is essentially for the character of Jitendra Kumar and I thought he will get all the accolades. But I didn’t think I will get a share of the accolades too.
3. How has the overall experience been working with a production house like TVF? What are your key learnings?
My Overall experience working with TVF has been amazing because in the last decade I haven’t found such highly educated people. My director is an IITian, the company’s head and others are all very educated and tech-savvy. In fact the entire crew which TVF chooses are intelligent people and not just emotional ones, so they are able to successfully merge these virtues while creating content. So while working on a set, the focus is just on the quality of work without being judged on a personal level. So as an actor, TVF expects you to be confident about your role, energetic and fit where the prime focus is on quality and perfection without judging you on a personal level. So my key learnings are to be focussed on my job professionally which matches with my thought process as well wherein I believe that my work should speak for itself. Apart from that, the environment is just so friendly on the sets. There is no “boss” culture and everybody works like a family. In fact, TVF is now not just a production house to me, it is a family!
4. How did the acting bug bite you?
I have been a very emotional person from a very young age. So I cannot cater to everyone’s emotions and I am also very scared of it. So this made me detach myself from people and relationships. This made me transform my biggest weakness into acting which is my profession. Now I earn money through it and my people know me through it. And acting is not a fantasy for me but it is my professional like a Doctor or an Engineer. I am a workaholic and I absolutely love my job.
5. How has the booming OTT market helped you in terms of newer opportunities?
Yes definitely it has. When I entered the industry, there was no concept of OTT so I did not have an inkling that I will be on OTT. My interest lies primarily in acting in films. But yes, OTT has given me a platform where I as an actor can showcase my skills and people would know me through it. Without OTT, It would have been difficult for me to venture in films. I do not come from a film background and so no one would directly trust me with roles and give me the right kind of opportunities. So without these baggage, OTT is a place where I can showcase my talent, excel in it, earn a name for myself and then move onto my main goal which is working in films.
6. What does 2022 hold for you? Any upcoming projects or theatre plays which we should be looking forward to?
2022 holds massive opportunities for me. We are in contracts with different production houses to not reveal what we are doing currently until they are officially announced. But there are two massive projects in the pipeline – one is Jamtara 2 on Netflix and Chhote Yadav on MX Player. I shot for these shows last year and they will be out this year in 2022. Apart from these, my Hindi debut film will start this year itself. 2022 has been very kind to me and I really feel blessed. Hopefully, the audience will see a lot more of me in 2022