Hina Khan, who essays the role of Komolika in Kasautii Zindagii Kay 2, has a dual challenge on hand. While she has to step into the shoes of Urvashi Dholakia who played the deliciously dark character with panache in the original edition 17 years ago, Khan also has to win over the audience again, who have so far embraced her as the goody-two-shoes Akshara in Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai.

“When Ekta [Kapoor, producer] offered the role to me, I asked her why she wanted to cast me in a negative role. She said that she was bored of seeing me as the good bahu. She told me I could pull it off and I went by her vision,” says Khan. The new-age Komolika may have traded her muse’s signature noodle strap blouses for backless ones, but has retained her sly and scheming ways, as envisioned by Kapoor. “Komolika is one of Ekta’s favourite characters. She personally decided everything with regard to the role.”

Such is her knack for getting into the skin of her characters that she is already being referred to as Komolika. “After Yeh Rishta wrapped up, it took two years for the audience to stop referring to me as Akshara. Now, they call me Komolika. Frankly, I want people to know me as Hina Khan, and not by my character’s names.”