On International Women's Day, Swati, aka Tanvi Dogra from &TV's Santoshi Maa Sunaye Vrat Kathayein, talks about what it takes to be a woman, the women she admires and about portraying a strong woman character. Here are excerpts from a candid conversation with her:
1. What does International Women's Day theme on 'Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world' mean to you?
One lesson that all of us have learnt from COVID-19 was that no matter the consequence, everyone was affected by it in one way or the other. The social and economic impacts of COVID-19 were harsher on women than men, with the increased burden of unpaid care disproportionately carried by women. Among other factors, it also impacted women's employment. The increased responsibilities crammed women physically, mentally, financially and emotionally. As we move into the recovery mode, a shift in gender-roles attitudes with more support and opportunities for women is more crucial than ever.
2.Who is the most inspiring person (in a leadership position and the entertainment industry) to you, and why?
I have always looked up to Gracy Singh, who also happens to be my co-actor in &TV's Santoshi Maa Sunaye Vrat Kathayein. She is truly a guiding inspiration in her acting skills and just the way she carries herself. I admire the dedication that she puts into her work. Over the past year, I have learnt plentiful from her. She holds such a positive aura around herself, and I feel blessed to have received the chance to work with her.
3.For the past year, we have been battling the pandemic situation in the country. How have you managed to keep up with your work at a time when recession and economic slowdown hit the world?
The pandemic has been a challenging time for all. My father, who hails from Chandigarh, is a die-hard Punjabi and loves food. Cooking has always been his passion. Due to my tight shooting schedules earlier, I never got time to help my father in the kitchen, but I utilized the lockdown time to help and spend more time with him. Apart from this, I also used this time to engage in and learn new things.
4.What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women of your age, especially the working women having to find a work-life balance?
I feel that women are emotionally vulnerable and often focus more on caring for others than for themselves. A woman must take a step back and see things with a clearer perspective regarding their professional or personal life. Achieving a work-life balance is crucial. As women, we often blur those lines between work and our lives to prove to others of our caliber. With time, we have moved towards a progressive world who understands the needs of a woman of today's age. Therefore I believe being assertive is a quality much needed.
5.Your character has struck a chord with the viewers. What, according to you, is the USP of this role/character?
Swati is an ardent devotee of Santoshi Maa (Gracy Singh) and a devoted and loving wife to her husband, Indresh (Ashish Kadian). She is a do-gooder and thinks for everyone than for herself. She is sincere, honest, compassionate and kind. Under Santoshi Maa's continuous guidance and support, along with her undying devotion, Swati overcomes various obstacles in her life. The quality of perseverance, patience and dedication navigates Swati through challenging situations in life, setting an example for viewers to instill these qualities to overcome various issues in their day to day lives.
6.What does it mean to be a woman, according to you?
In my opinion, a woman brings in a lot of clarity during times when situations are unclear. She is someone who nurtures those around her with the utmost care and unconditional love. Being a woman is a feeling like none other. They define perfection, flexibility, and calm and can face testing times with courage and determination.
7.One message for all the young girls and women you would like to give?
Firstly, I would like to convey a warm Happy Women's Day to all the women out there! Treat yourself to lots of love and find your inner happiness first before anything else. Allow your intuition to get you going and believe that nothing is impossible, provided you have faith and courage. To all the young girls, I ask you to be true to yourself and be there for each other in times of need. There is no one else who will understand a woman better than a woman herself.