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Exclusive! Aaditi Pohankar: Pammi from Aashram 3 is almost like a hero with three heroines

Aaditi Pohankar plays the female lead Pammi in Prakash Jha-Bobby Deol's web series, Aashram. The third season of the show will release on June 3.

  • Shaheen Irani

Last Updated: 11.30 AM, Jun 01, 2022

Exclusive! Aaditi Pohankar: Pammi from Aashram 3 is almost like a hero with three heroines
Aaditi Pohankar (Instagram).

Aaditi Pohankar is back on the small screen with Aashram 3, as the fierce Pammi. Till season 2, she showed an eagerness to take revenge on Baba Nirala, played by Bobby Deol but Aaditi’s experience with Bobby sure is different in real life, as compared to how Pammi and Baba are on Prakash Jha’s show. While talking to OTTplay, Aaditi spoke about how OTT bridged the gap between countries, why she wants to switch to films at this given point and much more. Excerpts…

Finally, Pammi is back! Will it be right to say she is stronger than ever, now after seeing the real side of Baba and having revenge on her mind?

Certainly. Pammi is also discovering that. She's out on a mission. She ran off. She is still figuring out what will happen but I would say she's in a completely new mindset - a new avatar in a way. Now she's somebody who's determined and focused. She's in pain that will catapult her into something unimaginable. She's almost going into a mountain and how will she climb the mountain, is where Pammi stands right now. She isn't thinking and has just started her journey. So, you'll see a different side of Pammi and it will be extremely shattering to see her, the way she is going through the process.

Esha Gupta is here in the series and we get the hint that she switches sides. Will Pammi and Soniya ever meet and will it be something to look forward to?

No, we don't meet at all. She has come with a purpose and is taking Baba to another level. That's what I have heard and known. So, Pammi's story will move on with Baba Nirala, Bhopa Swami and Akki. There's one who she loved, one who she loves and one who loves her. So, she's a hero with three heroines. Baaki praja chahe woh karti rahe hai but Pammi ka jo goal hai, woh kisi bhi hisaab se complete karne wali hai.

Till season 2, Pammi was the lead character who Baba was interested in. Now his focus has shifted to Soniya. Do we see Pammi still shine out in front of Soniya?

Pammi is the lead and she will be the lead. You can change characters, bring someone new but the story is about Pammi and Baba Nirala, right? The first time I met Prakash sir, I asked him what is the part? He told me it isn't a part, it is the lead part and it is her story. She is the hero. That's the way he talks. So, he told me that the story is about Pammi. Basically, he can bring in new characters but Baba's chemistry with Pammi and vice-versa is very evident. There is something unresolved between them. That happens in the story. Sometimes, in absence, there is presence. I love that about Pammi's character and even other characters for that matter. You don't need to be in every frame but if a character is absent and still talked about, that character is interesting. Pammi has ran away and Baba cannot sleep at night. Other people will help him be normal but he's always wondering where is Pammi and what is she going to do. How did she run away is his big question. This platter of sizzler will keep sizzling. Eventually, you will see it come to a culmination at some point between Baba and Pammi.

There are a few scenes throughout the seasons that left a scar. In the beginning of the series, we saw Bobby as Baba Nirala trying to grope you, which your character Pammi also found a little too overwhelming. What was it like for you, shooting that scene?

When it happened, I wanted to keep it fresh so I didn't want to think about the scene. Bobby sir is such a gentle soul. He himself is so worked up about such things. He kept saying things like he hopes he doesn't end up going too far. I had to ask him to relax. He's somebody who's so cautious, careful and such a gentleman that I had to tell him that he should do something more than holding my hand because otherwise it wouldn't show on my face. Then he went like 'Aww man these things yaar'. He's a very cool person. I never once doubted how will I perform my scenes with him.

One moment in the scene was very difficult for him - when I had to pin him down. He was so stressed out that he told me 'Yaar mujhe tod mat dena'. I asked him to see the difference in our weight. It was like that.

Pammi just has the one look, which is more like a smile. That is where she gets a thought. That was very important. As an actor, you have to remember that you are just the character. You could be the lead or anything but it is just the character. You have to keep the whole story in mind. I did that only. Pammi wouldn't overreact. She will only think, because she felt something with someone she admires so much. She discusses the same with Anurita Jha (Kavita) also. She thought over the whole night, actually. I love that moment between Pammi and Baba where she kind of feels it but doesn't want it believe it to be true.

Raping a woman, that too a virgin, it shatters the woman. Was that an intense scene to deal with? Did it take you in a dark space?

Yes, 100%. When you play a character, you don't just play a character. You are emotionally involved, which is why emotions are attached to acting. Anyway I'm giving energy to an emotion. There too, I am giving so much energy, which is going in an emotion. We can all see it. Certainly, I feel it. But I let it be as a false self and try not to feel because the most deadly act that a girl can think of, has happened to her. I did get very affected by it, upset about it and very angry at who the real Baba is. I was really angry and upset that time as Pammi.

I remember, after the scene, Prakash Jha held my hand and my whole body was trembling. He told me it's okay and the take was very good. I said okay sir and thanked him and that's it. I left and had a cold water bath just to shun it off. It takes over. Even if you fight with a cab person, your day is ruined and here, I performed a scene where so much happened, so it did affect me somewhere.

You did two films and then switched to OTT, with She and Aashram, both of which are critically acclaimed and have you as the face, more or less. So, do you think you want to explore this medium a little more now?

My two concerns are always the director and the script. Whichever medium it is, excluding TV, I want to do scripts which has in-depth understanding to it or something in the romantic genre - whether film or web series.

I like doing films because it's a fresh experience for an actor. If I work on a film, it could take me 70 days but I can work at a slow pace. On the other hand, with OTT, even in 70 days, I don't have 60 seconds to myself. We're always running and performing, which is very tiring for an actor. You're always doing four films at one time, if the output is of nine episodes. The season is for nine hours while a film is for three hours. So, I don't mind OTT but would love to do films as well because then I can spend a lot more energy on myself and the other scripts that will come if the days are less. Till now, I'm extremely grateful for what the OTT platforms have offered me. I don't think I can complain about anything there.

Would you say, in a way, it has bridged the little gap that was between Bollywood, Hollywood and actually projects from all across the world?

100%. I was telling someone that when I was promoting SHE, I heard Chris Hemsworth is on his way and that he knew what show I was doing. At that time, it was his film and my show. You can imagine. Even Gray Man has Dhanush in it. MX Player has so many shows which is getting actors from the interiors of India and they are doing shows which are based on facts.

When people go to the theatre, they watch a film but even when bored, they wait till the interval. It's difficult to get out but on OTT, you can switch from something you don't like to something you like. It's like a buzzing market, where everybody is a good performer. It's fast-paced and there are so many genres. I've been rewarded maximum by my audience, that they loved me so much, despite so much competition out there. I feel like I'm royal thanks to their love. There are people who tell me they preferred me out of the four people they were watching, which is so good to hear because there's so much competition otherwise. If you can stand out in that competition, it means you really need guts and have to be a trained performer.

What's the update on She season 2? We know it is coming out soon but what should we expect from that?

That character has transformed completely. We'll talk about it soon. I shot for Aashram and She 2 back-to-back. Once, I wrapped up Aashram 3 in the day and started shooting for She 2 at night. That happened for two days continuously but the third day, my body didn't co-ordinate and I had to take a break before going back to sets. I got blackout with high fever. How much can you say deadline and timeline? The actor needs to get a little breather. I can give in my 100% but my body only gave up. When the doctor came in, I had to go home that day. This can happen but the excitement level that I had! My make-up artist told me to go home but I wanted to do one scene and then wrap up. Ek mahaul bann gaya tha yaar! I'm constantly excited to shoot yaar. I want so many makers to come to me that I don't have time for myself. I just want to keep shooting now.

You did not take up another project after Aashram and She. Is it because you were so caught up with them?

Yes. When the shows released, there was COVID and lockdown. These shows got a new season. Their seasons were out and I had to sign them so it was constantly shooting and when not shooting, there was lockdown. Now I'm promoting the shows. After these promotions get over, I have already requested them to let me do something more or else they will keep calling me till season 10 (laughs). No but these two characters are very close to my heart.

What after Aashram 3 and She 2?

I have some offers and will get more after the release. I'm going ahead with a few scripts which are films and another OTT space that I'm exploring. Once everything is confirmed, we will announce it for sure.