As The Big Bang Theory nears its end, its last single main character, Rajesh Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar), may have finally found his partner in the form of Anu (Rati Gupta), a hotel concierge who's as level-headed as Raj is erratic. They were originally going to quickly wed in an arranged marriage, but later decided to slow down and get to know each other as boyfriend and girlfriend. They might get married, or at least re-engaged, by the series finale — or they might not! TV Guide spoke to Rati Gupta about what she hopes happens for Anu and Raj in the finale, as well as her experience working on one of TV's biggest shows in its final season, which is filming its series finale on April 30.
It's getting very near the end.
Rati Gupta: Yeah. I may have shed my first tears last night when I was reading the script. It's definitely starting to hit me that the end is happening.
Wow, you're having tears and it's only been the final season that you've been in. What has it meant to you to be part of The Big Bang Theory's final season?
Gupta: Being on any show for this length of time is an incredible honor to have. And for me to experience a journey like this on this particular show is even more awesome and overwhelming. My family has been a fan of this show for years, so it's also been a big personal achievement to me to be on a show that my mom has watched every week for years. It's such an iconic show. And to be a part of it in any capacity, small or large, it's an honor.
What was your audition like? Was there anything particularly memorable that happened?
Gupta: What was most memorable for me was that I was shooting another show when I got the audition for this one. It's not common for actors kind of at the beginning stages of their career to go directly from one job to the next, but I was on set for Future Man, the Hulu show I was shooting last summer, about to shoot my final scene in my final episode on that show when I got the call from my agent saying that I got this job. So I kind of had that actor dream of literally going from one job directly to the next, which doesn't happen often. It was amazing to get this job, but also to have that perfect actor scenario where you're constantly working and going from one job to the next was really fulfilling in a whole other, more practical kind of way. I was so sad that day, because I was done with Future Man and my castmates and I, we were all kind of teary, and then we ended up celebrating me getting this other job that night. So it was a whirlwind of emotions that whole day, which I now find myself experiencing for a second time in a year with this show now ending. And I don't know what's going to come up next for me, but it's kind of like the repetition of the roller coaster that you experience in this career.
Coming in after 12 years, I'm sure they've got it really down to a science. What's it been like to work on and see how they make a show like this?
Gupta: It's a well-oiled machine. I feel like I've been kind of spoiled with my multi-camera sitcom experience, because this one is just run so well. We have such quick rehearsal days, and even when we shoot the show, everything gets done in just a few takes. And the whole crew is amazing. They've been so warm and inviting. They really are a family. Everyone, even most of the crew, has been working on the show for at least five years. So they all know each other really well. And when I walked in, they all just welcomed me in with open arms, which was so lovely. I was so grateful that they just kind of ushered me into their world. It made the transition easy for me, to walk into this behemoth of a show so easily. They're great people. And it was intimidating. I'm not that seasoned of a TV actor, so coming into such a high-stakes character, one of the main characters' love interest, is a big deal, and to walk into such a big deal of a show, the whole situation was very intimidating for me when I started. But everyone made me feel so welcome. And Kunal could not have been more supportive of me that first episode. He really held my hand through the whole thing while I was trying to figure out my character and how to make adjustments and all these things. He was so wonderful that whole week, and has been this whole year. He's a fantastic actor and great scene partner.
So do you know how it ends?
Gupta: No, I don't. We don't know anything beyond the episode that we're currently working on. I know what happens in Episode 22, so I know what will happen on May 9, but that's it. Which is terrifying in many ways, but that's how it goes.
How do you hope it ends?
Gupta: I love happy endings, so I kind of just want, at least for Raj and Anu, I would want them to end in some sort of happy, friendly place, where they both get what they need when it comes to their romantic future. So I don't know what that is. It might not be together, it might be together, but whatever it is that feels right for them to go forward in their lives being happy. That will satisfy me as a viewer.
And what can you say about what happens in tonight's episode?
Gupta: Raj says some things during a planetarium show that get him in trouble, and Anu is kind of there to help him talk it through and get over it and be a sounding board for him. You know, be a good girlfriend, be a good support system for him.
The Big Bang Theory airs Thursdays at 8/7c on CBS.
(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)
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