Former Miss India Swaroop Sampat is most remembered for her incredible smile and the popular sitcom ‘Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi’. A well-known theater and film personality, Sampat also conducts workshops for teachers across the nation. The actress is now making a comeback to the silver screen with R Balki’s Ki and Ka where she plays Kareena Kapoor’s mother. With her bubbly nature and mischievous side, she can be a pretty cool mom, both on and off screen. Here are excerpts from a candid conversation with Swaroop Sampat.

Swaroop Sampat

Swaroop Sampat

Ki and Ka marks your return to the silver screen after quite a gap. Was there a conscious decision behind this break?

After doing Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, I got married and had kids. So Paresh (Rawal) and I had to make a choice regarding who was the better caretaker. I thought it was better if he went to work and I took care of the house and kids. Plus, until the age of 38, I was an undergraduate. I left my first year BA literature paper blank, so I obviously failed. Then, I became Miss India but not completing my education was something that I was always guilty about. So at 38, I started studying again. I did my Ph.D. where I discovered a new Swaroop, someone who wanted to change the world of Indian children through education. I went and started doing just that.

Along with that, I was doing theater. I love films and love acting. You put me in front of the camera or a stage and I am someone else. But I can’t struggle; I can only work with good directors.

Why did you choose this film for a comeback? Anything special that drew you towards it?

R Balki! Balki’s films are so good. He asked Paresh and me to come over to meet him. When we met, he started telling us about this film and I thought that he was offering Paresh a role. Instead, he turned to me and said, “I want you to do this role”. And, I simply loved the role, it’s really great.


And how was the experience of working in Ki and Ka?

Initially, I was really scared about doing Ki and Ka. I had never met them (the cast) and they all are so young. I was going on a set after 30 years, so it was quite scary. But Kareena Kapoor came up to me before the shoot started and said, “We are so happy to have you in the film and it is an honor to be working with you”. Even Arjun Kapoor said the same thing, so I was really happy. Plus, they were superb and we had a great time in the film.

The film revolves around the concept of a house husband. What is your take on this concept?

I think it’s really cool. When I got married, I didn’t change my name nor did Paresh expect me to. Plus, I have worked all my life. I think empowerment of women is not enough, even a man needs to be empowered. So, I think that this film has a great message, it is a romantic comedy, but it also deals with a very important issue of stereotyping people.


Swaroop Sampat with Kareena Kapoor in Ki and Ka

Swaroop Sampat with Kareena Kapoor in Ki and Ka

You pursued theater even when you were not doing movies. Was there any particular reason behind it?

The problem with movies was that I was not fitting in to the roles; I would look too young. In fact, in Saathiya, when I was playing Vivek Oberoi’s mother, the cameraman kept saying that I was looking as old as Vivek. I was very embarrassed about that. But that is not the case with theater. Even today, I can go and play a college girl (in theatre). In fact, I was doing, a play with Paresh, where I was playing a 19-year-old girl when I was 42 years old. But that is the advantage of theater – you are at a distance. In films, there are close-ups, so that is not possible.

You have dabbled with television, films, and theater. What’s the difference in each of the mediums?

Television falls between theater and films and it is too much hard work. Films are great because of their subtlety and you have a beautiful thing called ‘retake’. But retakes can be very bad for people like me, who never are satisfied. In theater, you rehearse and you can do small things that are very beautiful like getting a kind of subtlety in your voice. You get more time to work on yourself.

With your experience in the field, what changes have you witnesses in Indian cinema? 

Everything has been getting better – the cameras have changed, sync sound has made things easier, and using less light has also become easier. More importantly, stories have changed. The ideas and stories that one see today are just fantastic.

Transcribed by Aarti Sukhija

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