Ankit Siwach, he of the shy smile and arresting looks, is the latest heart-throb in TV-land to have grabbed the swooning admiration of the fairer sex. Young girls and women of all ages just can’t get enough of him. His turn as Ram in television’s chartbuster show, Manmohini, has been widely appreciated and earned him an entire legion of female fans.
In a free-wheeling chat with IWMBuzz, Ankit shares his take on playing Ram, and lots more. Read on….
You had been away for a long time after Chakravyuh. What kept you busy?
After Chakravyuh, I was seen in Ishqbaaaz. Then the episodic for Laal Ishq with Prateek happened. I was working on a travel show that I hosted and produced. I was off to Ladakh for this for a month. It was a very good phase after Chakravyuh, as I also did a short film ‘Khidki’ and the web-series Dulha Wanted. It is great to have bagged the lead role in Manmohini. I am enjoying this enriching experience.
Moving to Manmohini, it is a different genre for you? What prompted you to pick it up?
When I met Prateek Sharma and he started narrating the story of Manmohini to me, I did not blink for minutes together. The story was so engaging that I was so engrossed listening to it. So I never got to think whether I wanted to be part of a supernatural. Chakravyuh was more towards reality and it was shot in a different way. When Prateek offered me the role in Manmohini, I simply grabbed it as this is a big show for the team and channel. We have so far got a great response. Our hard work will continue so that we give the best product to the audience.
You look more handsome as a today’s man. Why get into a genre that requires you to go royal in getup?
Thank you for your compliment. What I believe is that changing to a royal look makes a person look good in a different way. Wearing those ornaments gives me a new feel altogether. It is coming out nicely, thanks to the creative team and the costume team.
What have been the challenges in playing Ram?
The biggest challenge in playing Ram is that sometimes I do not relate to the situation because I don’t see any witches playing around me. So when you don’t relate to it, you don’t know how to react to such situations. So for me this aspect has been the biggest challenge.
What do you think is the best part about the character?
The best part of playing Ram is that he is also the soul of the previous birth when he was Rana Sa. So even though the guy is same, he is playing two different souls. Whenever Mohini takes over, he becomes Rana Sa and when he is Ram, he is Ram. So the best part is to play two characters in one role.
We hear the team shot in rather extreme conditions in the desert area before the launch?
There was a scenario where a production guy was bitten by a scorpion in the desert. I believe the desert is not a normal terrain to work. It was pretty tough for all of us. Temperatures were soaring. But I think we did a good job.
You had a few tiring schedules outdoor before launch. Could you take us through that?
Yes, the outdoor shoot for Manmohini was pretty exciting. We shot at Jaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. Temperatures were very high and I was suffering from dengue. But the energy level of the whole team was so high that the shoot went on very smoothly. We were able to get some really good scenes shot there. We used to wake up at 3 in the morning and shoot till 11 or 12 in the night. We also shot for 24 hours at a stretch on few occasions. All of it was a great experience for me and to all of us. We are now proud of being able to pull it off. The episodes shot outdoors looked really good and got appreciated.
Did you have to work on your dialect for the show?
Yes, I had to work on my dialect, as Ram, who has returned from abroad, has the normal dialect. But as he turns to Rana Sa, he has to get a touch of Rajasthani. It was not very difficult for me because Daima and Mohini speak in Rajasthani all the time. So working with them and doing scenes with them gave me an idea of how to go with it. And all this helped me get the dialect right.
How is it to be with two beautiful girls – Garima and Reyhna in the show?
Garima and Reyhna are very good to work with. All the scenes that I do with them come out really well. We share a great bond on the set. We usually have lunch together. There are positive energies coming from both of them. It is Garima’s first show, but she has been doing a tremendous job. Both of them are brilliant. I feel lucky to get this show with them.
Tell us about what viewers can expect as of now?
The story line right now has a lot for the viewers. Sia is wounded badly and Ram is doing all that it takes to save her. He wants his Sia back as of now. So whatever methods he is trying to get his wife back are being shot right now. All of this should excite the audience as there will be great twists and turns.
How do you actors gel on the set?
All in the cast sit together and chat. We laugh throughout the day. Though the shoot gets tedious, we never feel the pressure. We always try to keep the ambience on the set fresh and interesting.
How is it to work with Prateek Sharma?
I have worked for Prateek in Laal Ishq as well. So we got to know each other over there for the first time. We sat together and spoke about things. Probably the wavelengths matched and soon he wanted me to audition for the lead role in his Zee TV show. He is a genius and if we go by his track record, he has a great writing sense and a very good production sense. At such a young age, he has achieved so much. So God bless him with lots of success.
What is your take on TRP as an actor? How much does it matter to you?
TRP is of importance because no matter if you make good shows, or you have given a great scene, or you have given everything you have, but still you don’t get TRPs. The world is very tough. They will not take time to chop off scenes and take the show off. So I think what counts in the end is TRP. Until the audience watches the show and we get a good feedback with respect to TRP, the top level people are not happy with it, and it becomes impossible to sustain. The better TRPs we get, the better we shoot and the longer we run.
Would you be game to work on the web platform?
I surely want to do a good web-series, with a good story, a different character, probably more towards realism. I enjoyed the process when I was part of Dulha Wanted. Though it was a small part, it was a very crucial role and I loved it.
Tell us about the hardships you faced for a particular scene for Manmohini?
I will not call them hardships but yes, situations have been very difficult. They have been hard at times because of weather, health conditions or the timings of shoot. There were days when we shot for 3-4 days without sleep. So yes, these were the challenges we had to fight and overcome. I think all of us as a team have been doing it well by God’s grace. Hopefully we will continue to strive hard in the same manner.
How has the viewers’ response been?
Thankfully, audience has been showering their love and blessings. We have been getting a very good response. We opened well (2.1) and have been able to sustain good levels of TRPs. We have not continued a single track for a long time. That is keeping audience engaged.
As a person how much does success matter to you?
I don’t know how to define success. I don’t know how to count it or measure it. I feel if I am working and I am happy while working, and if my family is happy and people who care for me are happy, I think that should be success. So yes, if I enjoy whatever I am doing, I am successful. That’s my definition of being successful.
What are your set goals in life?
I have been shifting fields for quite sometime now. I took up science, and then arts and later got into commerce. I wanted to join the airforce, and wanted to get into business as well. Then I shifted to modeling. But all of this has been a learning process. Nothing goes waste. I don’t plan much and think much. I am looking forward to doing good work as an actor. I want to improve myself. I want to understand the industry, and understand the process of show making. I want to be part of the industry all the time.
What does happiness mean to you?
Happiness to me is watching my family smile and be proud of me. They have gone through a lot because of me. They have sacrificed a lot, but have supported me. I owe a lot to them. So if they are happy, I am cent percent happy.