Ankita Lokhande was a daily presence in millions of viewers’ households as Archana from the serial Pavitra Rishta. And then, she disappeared. “I’d worked almost 365 days in a year,” she says. “I thought let me take a break.” But soon restlessness came in. “When you are working daily and you suddenly stop and are done with everything, you want to work.”
Lokhande is back after a four-year sabbatical, this time on the big screen as Jhalkaribai in Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi.
As one of the most popular actresses of the small screen, her movie debut was expected sooner; instead, she waited for the right offer to do what she has dreamt of since she was a child: be a movie star.
“You get confused at times as you are not part of (the film) industry,” says Lokhande, who moved from Indore to Mumbai to fulfil her dream. “I used to feel ‘Is this role good for me or not?’” With Jhalkaribai though, there were no such doubts despite knowing that it’d be a Kangana Ranaut-led film. “Lot of people told me why are you doing this when you can do a lead film also?” she said. “It doesn’t matter with whom you’re sharing the screen. It’s about characterisation. My instinct told me to just do it.”
It helped that Jhalkaribai was not a character who’d get lost in the grandeur of the period action drama.
Apart from being Laxmibai’s righthand woman, she was an instrumental force in the queen’s women’s army. Her resemblance to Laxmibai would come in handy during a key battle against the East India Company. “She didn’t care about family,” says Lokhande.
“She just fought for her land and was thereby Laxmibai’s side.” Lokhande learned horse-riding and sword-fighting for the part. “You have to get out of your comfort zone to get something very good within you,” she added. With another film in the pipeline, returning to television at the moment looks unlikely for Lokhande.
She is grateful to Ekta Kapoor for giving her an opportunity when she had no training in acting. “I have learned acting from TV,” she says. “You do 15 scenes in a day. You’d get the script on the spot. At times, the scene was written then and there. There’d be a 15-page-long scene. You have to do it in one take as it’d be telecast later that day.”
Working in television, she added, has taught her to be spontaneous and be ready for anything.
For now, Lokhande wants to focus on in films. “I want to have dance numbers that people dance to,” she says. “I want to give performances that people will remember.”
(Courtesy of Mail Today)