I don’t want to be worshipped as Sita – Neha Sargam – tellychakkar
When Neha Sargam got the role of Sita in Zee TV’s Ramayan, she naturally felt that it was indeed a challenge to play such a dynamic mythological character. She says, “It wasn’t easy to play a magnanimous persona from a bygone era who was the epitome of all virtues that a woman should have. She however did have some flaws too.”
What kind of flaws is she referring to? “Sita, was after all human. Maybe some can think she made a mistake when crossing the Lakshman Rekha which thereby led to Ravana kidnapping her. However, she did that as she was afraid that a Rishi (saint) would curse her husband. She had no clue whatsoever that it was Ravana in the garb of a rishi (saint).”
Was Rama wrong on demanding that Sita should undergo a fire test to prove her chastity? “Yes, while playing the role of Sita, it has often occurred to me that she has been treated unfairly at times. However, in an epic like the Ramayan, nobody is wrong. All the characters including Rama, Kaikeyi and even Ravana are right on their own path. Also we must remember that there are various versions of the fire test, in one version Sita who had the element of fire in her was given by Rama to Agni Dev to safeguard her in the exchange of a chhaya Sita (fake Sita) as he already knew that she would be kidnapped by Ravana. The fire test had been done to retrieve the real Sita. In another version, Rama asked her to do a fire test to prove that she was devoted to her husband.”
Some feminists argue that Sita was a weak lady to tolerate autocratic behaviour from her husband. What is her take on that? Neha is of the opinion, “She clearly told Rama that there was no necessity of doing this fire test when she had been a trustworthy wife. She believed that her husband had no need to doubt her, yet was asking her to go ahead with the test. Nevertheless she would do it to prove that she was right all the way.”
She firmly refutes accusations that Sita was a weak woman, “I think she was very powerful in her own way. She stayed with a demon like Ravana yet didn’t let him touch her for a year. If she had wished to, she could have killed him right away. When she was meditating in the avatar of Goddess Lakshmi on having Lord Vishnu as a husband in her next birth; Ravana interrupted by touching her. She took an oath that she would be the reason for his assassination in her next birth; however she wanted Rama (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) to kill him, which is why she purposely didn’t destroy him.”
Most Indian TV viewers remember the 1980’s Sagar Art’s Ramayan version the best of all the Ramayan serials ever telecast on TV. What is her take on that? “Even my parents are fans of that version. However, during that time Indian TV viewers didn’t know as much about the TV industry as they know today. Arun Govil and Deepika Chikhalia who played Rama and Sita respectively, were worshipped. As I am just portraying a character, I don’t want to be worshipped. I just would like to be appreciated for my work.”
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