Additi Gupta is portraying the role of Dr Deepika Sinha in the show Dhadkan. A medical drama, this realistic serial offers a different kind of entertainment for the viewer with something to take back home also. Additi has got into the skin of the character and speaks the medical jargon and plays her role effortlessly and with grace. In this interview, she highlights about doing this serial and its various challenges. “It’s interesting to play this character as it is a complex character. It’s not that Dr Deepika is perfect. She’s made her own mistakes but she learns from it and she knows what she wants.
What really attracted you to sign Dhadkan. It’s actually a medical serial miles away from the regular saas-bahu drama and soaps.
At some point every actor wants to do something different and you look for it. Rarely do people get a chance to do something different. Technically this sounded like something, which is going to be attempted differently. When we started, we were doing zoom calls because covid was going on. We did zoom calls about the script and how it was written. I was completely involved in it because of the way it is written. You can connect to the characters. It’s that kind of show, so I thought I cannot let this show go irrespective of whatever happens. I was ready to shift my base also if I had to, as I wanted to do this show. I got lucky and was selected.
There’s a sense of realism in it, and it kind of raises issues of women in the workplace, empowerment, etc. Was this also a plus point for you to sign it?
Yeah, absolutely. If something in any way through TV show or any medium, I’m able to guide people or help people you know it’s exactly what you want to do. It’s not just about making money. This show is actually raising a lot of questions and it is very important that these questions are asked. I don’t know how many people want to hear it. But then you know if whoever wants to hear it, I think this is the best way and if I can be a part of it in any way, I think I will be glad to be a part of it. I’m very glad to be a part of this show. I feel lucky to be a part of something which people want to listen.
So, did you really agree immediately to do it and did you audition for it?
I actually auditioned for it. I was in Goa and as I shifted my base to Goa from Mumbai because of Covid. From there I auditioned. It was an eight-minute audition with me talking about the journey of this character. It was written so well. It was quite easy to speak about it and I felt connected. Somehow I felt there’s sensibility in it. I immediately did not say yes. Obviously they were also going back and forth with a lot of people. I think someone else was also signed for it. But then I think I got lucky to be selected.
How challenging is it for you to play Dr Deepika Sinha and how did you really get into the skin of the character? Did you have to prepare anything beforehand?
We had been asked to watch “Grey’s Anatomy” for the feel of it. How it is going to be. What is going to be the body language of a doctor? Obviously we did watch it. One can’t really replicate. We were asked to watch for body language. It was a very difficult journey as this girl (Dr Deepika) never sits. Actually, she’s always on the go. She’s running around doing something or the other, or she has so many things in her head. Even to do that was not easy for me to be, it’s a complicated character. It’s not like an easy character with so much back story going on and be at the right point. It was difficult, but I think my director was fab to get Deepika out of me. It’s obviously he, who has to figure out where in which part of Additi is Deepika, so he just kind of figured it out and got those parts correct.
Did you do any special preparation for the role this besides seeing “Grey’s Anatomy”?
No, not really. We were given medical terms obviously. First we wondered how we would pronounce them. We were told there would be a doctor all the time on the set to tell us correct words and how to pronounce them. Surgeries are also done under the supervision of a doctor. So we were told all that, but obviously I was very scared. How is it going to happen? Slowly, we figured it out and now we know how to go about it.
How is it to learn medical jargon and terminology?
Oh my God. I’m still learning. I cannot get over that. It’s damn difficult. Yesterday I had two scenes where I am talking only that. And with so much conviction you have to say the lines. Yet it’s fun also because your energy is consumed fully concentrating on that.
Were you trained to test medical patients and use medical equipment before? Or did this happen on the sets?
Absolutely on the sets. We were given some videos which showed how to wear the gloves, how to wash hands during scrub, what are the procedures. How are you supposed to wear masks? How are you supposed to use the stethoscope? How is the upside down stethoscope used for? Those were given to us. How to hold the scalpel was taught by the doctor on the set.
So how is it to act with the other doctors, seniors and the junior residents? And what’s the rapport you shared with them?
It’s really good with all the actors. I have learned so much. From the younger lot you get so much energy and you want to learn, it’s interesting to see. And obviously from the older lot you learn a lot as acting perspective. You talk about life and with everybody I have a different kind of camaraderie. I am grateful to have such a team. And they are all like very cool people. In this show all are of similar age types.
Does an episode of Dhadkan takes longer to shoot than a normal TV serial?
Absolutely, that’s because you’re also shooting for one hour. It is difficult to do a lot of procedures and stuff, so its time taking. When we are in ER (emergency room) and whenever we are shooting there is too much happening. So that also takes a lot of time because you have to manage the juniors also. We are also there, and we are also using those medical terms and we fumble so many times, so there is chaos. When you have to do scenes with two actors and you are instructing or having a conversation about life those are easy things, but rest are very, very difficult.
What’s the response you have been getting?
Honestly I have got fabulous response. I am sure a lot of people are not watching it on television. Because it’s one hour at 10 PM but online the response has been very good. I did not expect that people are going to give such great reviews.
Have you been influenced in some way or the other that you have kind of imbibed something from the serial?
I think it’s going to be very difficult to do something else now. From this show, I think I’m going to take away my body language which I kind of figured out with ease and all. I think I’m going to make sure that I continue this and work on my body language in the next show also.
How does it feel working in COVID times?
It’s damn difficult. I’m the mother on the set for all. I am the aunty telling them to wear a mask. So they’re always scared of me. All the juniors also. Once I have to say where is the mask and they all run for it.
Do you get time to indulge in any pastimes or hobbies?
Absolutely not. This has taken all my time. I have really no time because the set is also very far away in Naigaon. So it takes like 16 hours of my day. I don’t get time for myself. But one thing ,which I have made sure is that I get up early and sit alone, listening to music and having my coffee. That’s very important and I think everyone should do that. I am just in my thoughts, that is meditation for me. It keeps me going for like the entire day.