After featuring in several films such as Raja Ki Aayegi Baaraat, Hum Toh Mohabbat Karega and Heeralal Pannalal as well as TV shows, including Shrimaan Shrimati, Desh Ki Beti Nandini, Saraswatichandra and Meri Aashiqui Tumse Hi, Maleeka R Ghai, who entered the world of showbiz in her teens, quit the industry in 2002 to embark on the journey of spiritualism. She says, “I was doing well for myself. I was dabbling in all three mediums – theatre, TV and films. Life was quite happening. However, I reached a stage where I felt a desire to be on a spiritual quest. I was looking for something more meaningful and insightful than just momentary and worldly pleasures.”
She adds, “While working around the clock with some big names, I realised that everyone wore a mask to hide their real feelings. Everyone was constantly fighting their fears and insecurities. No one seemed content. So, I decided to hang up my boots just like that. I took to meditation and healing, and in the process, rediscovered myself. I realised that we tend to carry so much unnecessary baggage, which is all in the mind. I was so engrossed in this new journey of discovering the real me that I lost interest in acting. I returned only when I felt content and conflict-free.”
The actress says that she doesn’t regret missing out on work during her early years. She shares, “I don’t repent that I left the industry so early in my career. I must have been 23. I was content as an actor and had made it on my own, without any support, godfather, or pandering to anyone’s ego. I made no compromises. In fact, I was advised by a big star to date a known actor to seek attention in the industry or else give some controversial statements against people with whom I had unpleasant experiences. But I didn’t give in, as I never believed in shortcuts. I found solace in spirituality. The break and my tryst with spiritualism helped me evolve as an actor, too. My comeback in 2013 wasn’t a planned move. I just felt that the actor in me was still alive and wanted to explore more characters.”
Maleeka, who last featured in Pyar Ki Luka Chuppi, will now be seen as Akhilendra Mishra’s wife in Ved Raj’s Sahiba. She says, “This one is set against a Muslim background. I will be using a lot of Urdu words while playing my character, which is what I am most excited about. I have a soft spot for Urdu. I sat home for 11 months waiting for something good to come my way and this show is exactly what I was looking for.”
On the personal front, the actress is single and doesn’t mind not having a companion. “Being single is not a deliberate choice. I think it was never meant to be for me or probably someone is yet to come who I can spend the rest of my life with. I haven’t felt that vibe with anyone so far. But it’s never too late. I have nothing against the institution of marriage, but it tends to become mundane after some years. I have seen many couples dragging their marriages for the sake of their families, relatives, society, and sometimes even children. I am single, happy, and not desperate. I am in love with life and enjoying every bit of my time here,” she signs off.