Pooja Sharma, who is currently playing the role of Parvati and Maa Kali in the show ‘Mahakali: Anth Hi Aarambh Hai’ produced by Siddharth Kumar Tewary and Rahul Kumar Tewary, has come a long way. The former Miss India finalist and TV host acted in ‘Pavitra Rishta’. But it was her riveting role as Draupadi in the mythological TV show ‘Mahabharat’ which got her fame.

Talking about how she came on board with ‘Mahakali’, Pooja says, “Any substantial and challenging lead role fascinates me, be it a saas-bahu saga, a mythological show, a comedy or even a crime-thriller. I would say that this author-backed role of Parvati and Mahakaali was preordained for me. Secondly, since it was with the same production house again (Swastik Productions), it was in my comfort zone. Siddharth Kumar Tewary felt I fit the role and the feedback has been amazing.”

The show is doing exceedingly well and Pooja says she couldn’t be happier with the response. “My initial reaction was a mixed surreal feeling of numbness and ecstasy. I just couldn’t believe it was me, when I saw myself in the show. When a large number of people called up or messaged me to profusely compliment me, I was emotionally overwhelmed. Initially, I was sceptical whether I should take up this complex title role and wondered – why me? But it was producer Siddharth Tewary, who with his awesome vision, instilled total confidence in me and felt I was a perfect choice,” she says.

Of course, getting into the costume every day is time consuming. “It would take nearly four hours for the elaborate make-over and the body-paint process. Now that everyone is much more proficient, it takes around two and a half hours,” she says.

The role is exactly what she was looking for, says Sharma. “Besides being challenging the roles are also ‘creatively satisfying’ for me. It’s basically the journey of how Parvati, who was a normal woman married to the revered Lord Shankar, transforms into Goddess Mahakali. The contrasting attributes of each character offer me a wide spectrum as an actor. While Parvati is super-soft and gentle, as she symbolizes mother nature, Kaali Maa is fiery and aggressive. Plus, there are action scenes – Kalaripayattu (martial arts of Kerala) and sword-fighting scenes, for which I have been trained,” adds Sharma.

The show also comes with a strong message. “It’s about woman empowerment. When I am faced with adverse situations, I approach my husband Lord Shiva (Sourabh Raaj Jain). He advises me that women should also learn to fight their own battles, because every woman has this potent divine ‘maha-shakti’ within her. Off-screen, I identify with this ideology, that no woman should tolerate injustice,” she says.