Shriya Pilgaonkar on her international debut with Gurinder Chadha


Pulling off a promising act as Ali Fazal's wife in the web show Mirzapur, Shriya Pilgaonkar felt like a debutant all over again after the show's success earned her further recognition. "It has changed the momentum of my career. More interesting work is coming my way now.

For the first time, I'm experiencing this kind of recognition. When I least expect it, people randomly call out to me by [my character's name], Sweety. People tell my parents to convey their love for me," says the actor, whose ill-fated character was eventually killed off in the thriller. "Even then, I get messages from people on Instagram suggesting ways in which my character could be brought back into the series. They are hilarious, but also flattering." Is she then set to make a return to the show? "I don't know yet."

Gurinder Chadha

Up next, Pilgaonkar moves on to another promising offering. Gurinder Chadha's British historical drama Beecham House has established names like Lesley Nicole and Tom Bateman as the headlining cast. Pilgaonkar, who slips into the part of a nursemaid in the show that is set in Delhi before the British rule, says, "Gurinder is a powerhouse. This is the first time I'm doing a perioddrama, so I was nervous, at first. I took this opportunity to read up about the time period that the show is set in. I also took voice and diction lessons, which were interesting. Gurinder helped us develop our characters, and find our place in the ensemble cast. I had seen the works of some of my co-actors, including Lesley, Mark Warren and Bateman. So, I was excited to work with them."

Having auditioned for the role of Chanchal, a "feisty and charming girl with a mysterious past", who turns up at John Beecham's palatial Beecham House to take care of his baby, Pilgaonkar describes her character as one who is adventurous. "Chanchal has many shades to her. She is unpredictable, and discovers a lot about love throughout the course of the series." Shooting for the show took place in London's Ealing Studios last year. "We shot the India schedule in Jaipur and Udaipur."

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