In conversation with Preetika Rao on playing a victim of child sexual abuse in her new music video

Mumbai, 04 February 2018: Pretty and multi-talented Preetika Rao is on a sabbatical from daily soaps post ‘Love Ka Hai Intezaar’ wrapped up but, in the meantime she is busy exploring her skills and impressing the audience.

After launching her singing collaboration ‘Yaad Kiya Dil Ne’ with Siddharth Basrur, Preetika has collaborated with singer composer Manpreet Dhami for a song titled ‘Tere Vede’ in which she will be seen enacting a victim of sexual abuse.

In an exclusive chat with TellyChakkar, Preetika opens up about the entire concept of the song, her experience shooting for it and a lot more.

Excerpts from the interview –

How did you approach such a sensitive characterization onscreen?

Initially, I was a little apprehensive but then I was assured by the director that it will be very aesthetically shot and eventually, I was so touched to see the outcome. It is so sensitively captured that it can really be heart touching for a lot of audience who will watch it.

I have given my 100% as an actor to bring out the emotions that a victim of a child sexual abuse could go through.

We hope you never had any such experience. How you did emotionally inspire yourself to play such a character?

I think everybody goes through some similar kind of experience, mostly molestation at some point of time but probably they don’t talk about it. If you will sit with your girl gang and discuss then you will realize that probably all of us have gone through such kind of experiences either on the way back to school or office. We all have gone through it but it’s just a topic which is not spoken about as much as it should be and that’s why the offenders with such mentality are growing in proportion.

I had to emotionally prepare myself to fit into the character by remembering certain incidents of some people whom I know who have gone through such experiences and have shared it with me. I know how it feels like when a girl goes through any kind of molestation in public so I just had to think of something like that thinking what if it had happened to me and then emote although I haven’t experienced anything severe like this myself.

So, what were the challenges?

Honestly, the actual scene was enacted by a girl who played the younger version of me and it was shot very aesthetically and on a very touching and sensitive storyboard. So I didn’t had to go as much as the child artist had to go through it but the look and the feel of the song and the entire characterization of what effect will it have on the mindset of any victim of child sexual abuse is what I have tried to bring out in the best possible manner that I could as an actor.

How did you strike a balance between doing just what was required and overdoing?

I was asked to be very subtle and not to show tears yet I had to bring out the emotions very strongly. I tried to strike a balance that way by not being over dramatic at the same time bringing out the light emotions that a girl who had gone through an experience like this in her childhood and somebody who has closed herself so much that she cannot trust any guy. When a guy wants to approach her and express his feelings to her then she is not able to express and emote because she had this emotional backlog which has been a very scary experience.

How did the project come your way?

I was approached by the very talented young singer Manpreet Dhami, who is a song writer and composer. He is multi-talented and the concept was his idea. It’s a beautiful romantic song which is woven under the concept of child sexual abuse and even a beautiful emotion like love can also be held back and face a challenge to accept for someone who had gone through any such experience.

What do you think of Preetika Rao?

When Manpreet approached me, I was releasing my own song so I shot for his song after the release of my song in Lohagadh, Lonavala which is a beautiful historical fort. We shot during sunrise at around 7 AM and it was a beautiful location. It’s a breathtaking view when you finally reached the fort. It was my first shoot at a historical place like this which was fun. It’s been a very nice experience. It was like going back to my modeling days where I had no dialogues and there were only emotions.

Is there any message that you are looking forward to give through this song and portrayal of your character?  

I think that in our society, the education on child sexual abuse or for rape have been so poor that the education value touched upon these subjects are almost zero in schools and colleges and I feel that if this video is watched by people then its definitely going to touch their heart somewhere and make people realize that these acts can have very big impact not only on the child but even when the child grows up.

It’s almost like spreading the word through a visual demonstration. I think this is the message that we are aiming to spread. The figures are alarming. 53% of Indian population has gone through child molestation and abuse. Most of them are under wraps because only severe cases come out in public like Zainab’s case in Pakistan and recently the case of an eight month old baby who was sexually abused which was utter disaster. News like this also defame the name of our country.

When 70 years old was raped and sexually assaulted in India then I was questioned about it by my Chinese friend in abroad which is very shameful because they don’t understand that some uneducated and lower mentality people indulge in acts like these. They would categorize the whole thing for the entire country. The name of the entire nation gets affected. Its even scariest and surprising fact that most of the child abuse happens on boys instead of girls. This is the message we wanted to bring out through this song. I myself found it very touching.

What does Tere Vede stands for?

Vede is a Punjabi word for Veranda… like tere vede pe (tere darr pe) rakhi meri aas re.  

Since it’s a sensitive topic, did you need any recovery time post shooting?

No I didn’t because it didn’t involve too much of sobbing and emotional outburst. You need recovery when you get to do some serious outburst like I had in Beintehaa but this has been subtle emotion kind of demonstration. So it was not emotionally that challenging for me. I haven’t used glycerin in the video. I used natural tears.

When is the song releasing?

It is expected to be released in the coming week.  

You seem to be more inclined towards music videos these days. When can we expect you to see you onscreen in a daily soap?

This is my third music video in the last three months. I think whatever commitments are coming my way, their dates are little farfetched and in terms of the projects that I am being offered, are more of mythological which is a zone that I would not like to enter. That’s why it’s taking time and I feel that television format is such that it takes time for you to get a project. In the mean time I am doing music videos and short films that are like filers for an artist (smile).

Way to go, Preetika!

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