When Rupali Ganguly waited tables for money where her dad was a guest. Read her life story


Rupali Ganguly is one of the most talked-about TV actress right now. She has been winning hearts ever since the inception of her show, Anupamaa, where she plays the titular show. Anupamaa has been topping the TRP charts every week. However, Rupali’s life wasn’t always a bed of roses. In a new interaction, Rupali recalled the time when her father, filmaker Anil Ganguly’s two films flopped and she had to wait tables and do catering for money.


During an interaction with Humans Of Bombay, Rupali said, “Papa was a national award-winning director, & my biggest hero. When his films came out, people admired stars like Rajesh Khanna, but I’d say, ‘Papa is the real star!’ After school, I’d visit his sets. Watching him direct each frame meticulously I was fascinated. Iss bich, heroine kaise ban gayi, pata hi nahi chala (Between all this, I didn’t realise when I became an actor)! Once, an actress backed out of Papa’s film, & he put me in it. Just like that, at 12, the acting bug bit me.”


Rupali Ganguly added, “But soon, Papa had 2 flops. Our tough time began, & my dream took a backseat. I did everything—worked in a boutique, catered, even waited tables. I was once a waiter at a party where Papa was a guest! I worked in ads, toothat’s how I met my husband, Ashwin. He suggested that I try TV, & I thought, ‘Why not!’ Soon after, I got the titular character in Sukanyain my head, I had arrived! But I held Papa’s feedback in high regard. Once, I proudly showed him a scene, & he said, ‘Khud rona nahi haiaudience ko rulana hai!’ He helped me better my craft.”


Rupali also talked about her hit show Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai. She said, “4 years later, Sarabhai happened. And none of us knew it’d be a hit, we were just having fun! Even now, Satish Kaka calls to check-up on me, & Ratna Ben brings presents for my son after every trip. We became a family on that show. The next few years, at the peak of my career, I shocked people by taking a break. But I didn’t regret it. I was once told, ‘You’ll never conceive,’ so watching my son take his first steps was a blessing. Next 6 years were all about family.”


Anil Ganguly died in 2016 after having breathing issues. Recalling that time, and how she bagged Anupamaa, Rupali said, “During this time, devastatingly, I lost Papa. I was still grieving when I got offered Anupamaa. Ashwin encouraged me, ‘It’s high time you got your due as an actor. You go out thereI’ll take care of everything else.’ But I was hesitant. So, I went to my producer, Rajan Shahi, who I trusted a lot, & said, ‘Give me time to get in shape.’ But he told me, ‘I want a mother, not a heroine!’ His conviction made the show what it is. Being on the sets of Anupamaa made me feel close to Papa! It was the kind of story that he would’ve written, with a strong female lead. And the love I’ve received, from all ages, all corners It’s so overwhelming. Everyday, I do my best to be worthy of it. I hope Papa is looking down at me with a smile.”

Rupali Ganguly made her acting debut in 1985 with Anil’s film Saaheb. In 2000, she made her television debut with Sukanya. She has also been a part of several shows like Sanjivani, Sarabhai vs Sarabhai, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii, Parvarrish Kuchh Khattee Kuchh Meethi and more.

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