The bubbly girl role from "Sasural Genda Phool" brought Ragini Khanna a lot of popularity but the actor says it also pigeonholed her as a performer.
Khanna, who is making her film debut with "Gurgaon", says she hopes the Shanker Raman-directed movie helps her move beyond her established image. "After 'Sasural...', I only got parts in TV that required me to play the happy bubbly girl. So, I was like, 'Why can't people see me as an actor?' and 'Why are they just so stuck up with the image?' Because when I did 'Radha Ki Betiyaan...' or 'Bhaskar Bharti', they were way different characters than Suhana," Khanna told PTI.
The actor says she knew that she had a lot more to her as an actor than just playing the chirpy characters. And that is when "Gurgaon" happened to her. The film, featuring Pankaj Tripathi and Akshay Oberoi, is a dark family thriller. "This was the film I was looking for. Because I wanted to challenge myself as an artiste and I wanted to tell people that Suhana was not Ragini Khanna. Ragini is an artiste. She is capable of doing all the other parts as well as Suhana."
Talking about her character Preet, Khanna, 29, says, "She is the only person in the family who Kehri Singh (Tripathi) adores and loves. And Preet understands the sense of power she has in terms of what she can speak and what repercussions it can have on her family." The actor says her role is close to who she is in real life. "I'm as silent as Preet which is in contrast to the happy image of mine. My profession has made me a people's person. But as a child and all my growing up years, I was recluse and I have been this geek who reads a lot. I'm so much into my hobbies."
A career in films may be on the anvil but Khanna has fond memories of her television days and credits the small screen for giving her name and fame. "I never consider any medium big or small. TV is so difficult that it's unimaginable. I've experienced it and I have great respect for all of them. TV is the biggest medium. How can someone discredit it? You cannot challenge the popularity of a TV actor."
She says she realised the actual value of being a TV actor when she performed at the Wembley arena in London. "There were people running behind the bus we were in. There was a huge uproar when my character Suhana's performance was announced on stage. And that was when I got to know that the popularity of a TV actor is insane." "Gurgaon" released today.