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Fans of The Big Bang Theory know that Raj has had a long, long (loooong) road to love on the hit sitcom, but Season 12 has seen lovelorn Raj finally get close to a woman, Anu, who might lead to his happily ever after. Actress Rati Gupta, who plays Anu, spoke to CinemaBlend's own Nick Venable about joining the comedy for the last season, and when asked if it was more comforting or discouraging to land the most popular TV comedy knowing it was just for the final season, revealed that her casting has come with some mixed feelings.
I guess it is a bit of both. It takes a bit of the pressure off, knowing that I have this...I don't know how to say this. I'm not with this character for that long, so I can kind of get in and out and make her cool and not, like, overstay my welcome, you know what I mean? I know with some characters, it's hard to keep them interesting for a long time, and this show is really great at doing that, considering they're on their twelfth season and all of these characters are definitely still interesting and fun to watch. But it is a lot of pressure to maintain that, so it's nice that I'm just kind of in and out.
From the outside looking in on the situation, it would be easy to assume that getting cast on television's most popular comedy would be all upsides, but Rati Gupta made it clear that there are actually two sides to getting such a gig. To start, though, she's clearly glad to be a part of The Big Bang Theory and be able to come in to a well-established show, bring something new and fun to the table and make an impact that couldn't possibly get old in her one season on screen. As Gupta noted, a lot of the pressure is off of her shoulders in trying to help show Anu grow or keep her interesting and a character that fans can look forward to for several seasons. But...
But at the same time, it sucks, because I like her a lot, and I want to stay with her for a long time. So, yeah, [there are] pros and cons to the whole situation. It's an honor to be on the show at all, but then it also kind of sucks that I'm only with them for one season, so it's bittersweet. A little bit of good, a little bit of bad; Column A and Column B.
As Rati Gupta explained, if you get your hands on a character you love and love playing on a popular show, it would kinda suck to only be able to live in that world for one season. Just like she doesn't have the pressure of trying to keep Anu intriguing season after season, she also doesn't get to grow with her and explore different sides of her personality the way her new co-stars have with their characters over the past 11 plus seasons. Even with this sort of minor downside to landing her part on The Big Bang Theory, it's clear from watching her on the show that Gupta enjoys playing Anu. Plus, it doesn't hurt that she isn't kidding when she says that she's got a cool character on her hands.
Gupta debuted in Episode 3 of this season and immediately made an impression. Raj has dated a (small) variety of awkward weirdos over the seasons, which made quite a bit of sense seeing as how he's certainly a bit of an awkward weirdo himself. But it's been clear for some time that he needs someone very different to help round out his life.
That someone seems like it could really be Anu; she's way more confident then Raj's typical woman (and Raj, for that matter), open, opinionated, independent, ambitious and fun, but still down to Earth enough to deal with Raj's quirks and the shenanigans that he usually gets into with his friends.
Also, we can't discount the fact that the well-connected hotel concierge got fed up with dating at the same time as Raj and allowed her parents to set up their (now postponed) arranged marriage. Otherwise, these two never would have met.
So, how does Gupta feel about bringing another memorable character to The Big Bang Theory? Here's what she had to say:
[The being called] memorable part is probably one of the greatest compliments to get as an actor, because you want to be able to stand out and feel like a character that is noticeable and interesting in their own way. And to walk into a show like this with seven, eight – if you want include Stuart, which you have to include Stuart – memorable characters like them, and be like, 'Hi, look at me, too!' It's a lot of attention to try to earn it.
But, Rati Gupta has earned the attention she's getting as Anu, and we've seen that she can hold her own against the entire cast of characters. It was especially nice to see her character bonding with Bernadette and Penny in an episode and showing off the connections she's made through her job. And, we've seen her fit right in with the rest of the gang during events like a paintball excursion and Penny and Leonard's Halloween party, showing that Gupta and Anu were perfect additions. Speaking of the other ladies in the cast and their sure-minded characters, Gupta has thoughts on what Anu is adding to the party:
Yeah, you know, Kaley, Mayim, and Melissa have been holding down the fort for so long, and they all have done such an amazing job. So the idea of joining their ranks in any way felt like such an honor and a compliment, to continue the vibe and representation that they've been doing for so long on the show. I think Anu kind of fits in really well with them, in that she's opinionated, and she's unapologetic for being opinionated. She knows what she wants, she's very clear about who she is and all these things I admire in a woman, that I think are important characteristics for a woman to have.
Truer words may have never been spoken. We all know how confident Penny, Amy and Bernadette are, even if it mostly only comes through in their jobs (Amy) or their personal lives (Penny), but they are all characters who stand up for themselves and what they want, and Anu has been shown as someone who does the same thing. When Raj tried to call off their arranged marriage, Anu actually flipped the traditional script by proposing to him (on one knee, no less) in the restaurant they were in. Later, when Raj got angry because he found out she still talked to an ex-boyfriend and told her to cut off communication, she refused and broke up with him. There's no stopping Anu from going after what she wants or doing what she believes is right for her, and it's hard not to love that.
So, while Rati Gupta is enjoying being able to bring a lot to the table as Anu, she's also excited about another aspect of her character:
So it's been great for me to try to put all those characteristics into a female character on this show, and also more specifically in a woman of color on this show. You know, Anu's the only woman of color that Raj has been in a significant relationship with. So, it was interesting for me, and exciting for me, that then I got to be playing that kind of groundbreaking character for the show.
It's exciting for fans of The Big Bang Theory, too! Keep in mind that Season 12 isn't over yet, and we've still got a few weeks to watch how the growing relationship between Rati Gupta's Anu and Raj will turn out. You can catch all their romantic ups and downs when the final season continues on CBS, Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST.