Manikarnika actress Ankita Lokhande on her Bollywood debut, and working with Kangana Ranaut
Ankita Lokhande talks about her plunge from Pavitra Rishta to Manikarnika, and why she did not consult Ekta Kapoor before her Bollywood debut.
Though Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi is Ankita Lokahnde’s debut Bollywood film but she is focused enough to know that acting is not about being famous, but goes beyond and has got more to do with exploring human souls.
After she participated in the talent hunt show Zee Cinestar Ki Khoj and made her debut appearance in Pavitra Rishta on Zee TV, there has been no looking back and her fame has only skyrocketed since then. So why did she take her own sweet time to sign her first Hindi film despite several offers? “I regret that but it’s okay sometimes. We are humans and we make mistakes. When I received film offers from big production houses, I was not in a state of mind to accept those offers. I was not ready for those assignments and I took my own time. For few other scripts, I did not get guidance from other people because I don’t have a godfather. I could not ask anyone what is right and what is wrong. I was in two minds whether I should do them or not,” reveals Ankita.
Ekta Kapoor, the Czarina of television, could have been her mentor and easily been approached for guidance. “No, I don’t think like that but I will always be grateful that she gave me that opportunity. She saw something in me what others could not see. I will be thankful but but we don’t have that relationship where I could go to her. I am not a person who will go to anyone and ask for work. I am a little shy about it.”
The fascination to act in front of camera was always there for the Indore-born actress. “I can only say that I am a typical Bollywood girl. I have been observing heroines in chiffon saris since my childhood and have always harboured dreams of becoming like them. Tragically, I am doing only serious stuff right now and am little nervous about it. At the same time, I am also super excited as it’s my debut Hindi film, and am only hoping that people see the film and appreciate my work.”
The actress is grateful to her spell in TV which allowed her to learn so many things as she considers herself a non-actress. She believes that TV actually trained her for her Bollywood stint. “TV has taught me everything, and whatever I am today is only because of television and Pavitra Rishta. I was never an actress and I never knew what acting is. Pavitra Rishta taught me what acting is all about.” She admits that the plunge from TV to cinema was not a difficult one for her. “The only thing which changed for me was camera placement else you put in the same amount of hard work in both TV and films. In films, you get days to prepare your scenes as the scripts are handed over to you days in advance, while in TV I used to perform 15 page scenes on the spot. It’s kind of different but it’s fun.”
In Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, Ankita plays the role of Jhalkari Bai, confidante of Rani Laxmibai. “She is a warrior and is very similar to Rani Lakshmibai in terms of appearance. Social strata was the only thing that separated them. While Rani Lakshmibai hailed from a royal family, Jhalkari Bai had poor origins. She was well equipped in the art of horse riding and sword fighting, and sometimes also disguised for Rani Lakshmi Bai in front of Britishers as they looked very similar.” Ankita adds that the war sequences for the film were extremely taxing but she managed everything somehow.
With information just a click away, biopics these days have become tricky subjects for film as they warrant unnecessary scrutiny. The history of biopics in Bollywood in the past few years is replete with such instances. Was portraying the character a concern for her during the shoot? “Yes, of course but with people like Prasoon Joshi and Vijayendra Prasad (credited with stories of blockbusters like Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Baahubali), the concerns finally got mitigated. They had researched so much about the characters that while shooting we were not required to think about anything and were only expected to concentrate on our performances. Krish knew everything about the character.” The actress says she has added a little bit of her own trait to the character of Jhalkari. She also mentions that the supportive and generous attitude of Kangana Ranaut on the sets made shooting for the film a pleasant experience.
When asked to choose between Krish and Kangana in terms of the better director, she tries her best to evade the question. “I am no one to say who was better. It’s my debut film and I can’t comment who was better as they both are very senior to me.” Ask her about her dream roles and she reveals that someday she would like to play lady Simmba in a film. Indira Gandhi remains another character that fascinates her immensely.
Ankita’s live-in relationship with actor Sushant Singh Rajput was fodder for gossip till a few years ago. When the actor congratulated her ex-lover on her look from the film on her social media platform, it was reciprocated. So are they still on good terms and has he seen the trailer? “I have no idea if he has seen the trailer but he appreciated my look and I really liked that. There were lots of people who appreciated my look on Twitter and Instagram, and I thanked everyone and I said thanks to him too, and there is nothing much to add,” signs off the actress.
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