In a candid chat with IWMBuzz.com, Alif Laila actor Ankit Arora talks about his struggling days and more...

From being a newspaper hawker to sleeping empty stomach, my journey has been tough with many struggles: Ankit Arora

The versatile and talented actor Ankit Arora, who has acted in shows like Ramayan, Jyoti, Raziya Sultan, Prem Ya Paheli – Chandrakanta and Ashoka among others, is seen in a new and exciting avatar in Dangal popular show Alif Laila produced by Triangle Films.

In a candid chat with IWMBuzz.com, Ankit spoke about his show and character, he also mentioned about the turning point of his career.

Excerpts.

How has your working experience been so far?

The journey has been nothing less than a roller coaster ride but a fulfilling one. As an actor, so far, my experience has been great. Ideally, one does not really get to play a varied set of characters in one show and I am fortunate that my current role in Alif Laila is giving me that opportunity. In fact, with all the different characters I have got to learn something new because the demand for each role is unique and I like to portray their distinct attributes on screen. These are challenges or opportunities which an artist always looks forward to and it adds to the kitty of diverse experience. We have a great time on sets and don’t realize how time flies.

Any special preparation for the show?

The television industry is a different ball-game when you compare it with movies or theatre. The pace in doing a television show is very swift. It is even faster in a daily soap. There are days when you get the script on the same day of shoot. So, you have to think and improvise on your feet. You have to be prepared for any and all kinds of situations. For eg: You could be shooting scene 5 of the 45th episode and after the break, could be shooting for scene 9 of the 48th episode. In this show, it’s all the more challenging because I am playing different roles. We try our best to do rehearsals or have a conversation with the directors, producers, actors and creative team so that you are prepared and have a flow in mind and are able to portray a particular character. I often sit with co-artists and rehearse lines, this helps in dialogue delivery and improves the overall timing.

What has been the turning point in this career?

I got my first role in Ramayan in the year 2008 and played the role of Lakshman. Post that I have done numerous negative characters. At times I went against my will to do roles and took up opportunities that I wouldn’t want to, but had to do due to the dire need. In the year 2016, I got an opportunity to play the role of Susheem in the famous show Ashoka when the show was going for a leap. This again was a negative role. I was not keen to take up Susheem’s role because I had just completed another show where I had played a dark role. The producers showed a lot of faith in me and with their encouragement, I took it up and worked on portraying the exact character. I wanted to enact it to the T and did not want to break the link of the existing character. For this I put in a lot of effort, I observed a lot of things – body language, dialogue delivery etc. with minute detail. The hard work paid off and my character got a lot of appreciation. This gave me a breakthrough and I’d like to believe that it was a blessing in disguise and the turning point in my career.

From being a newspaper hawker to sleeping empty stomach, my journey has been tough with many struggles: Ankit Arora

What made you say yes to Alif Laila?

I was in that stage of my career where after my first role 12 years back I had only done negative shades. I wanted to do something different, which is when I was offered Alif Laila and it was very difficult to say no for many reasons. Firstly I grew up watching the show when I was young. Secondly, after doing so many negative roles, it becomes easy to get typecast. I wanted to break the mold and took it as a challenge upon myself. Thirdly I have worked with Nikhil Sinha (produce) in the past and we share a great bond. And finally, a versatile show like Alif Laila where I would be playing the lead (hero) came after 12 years. There was absolutely no chance I was going to deny it.

Who has been your biggest support in the journey?

I belong to Uttaranchal – Nainital. At a young age of 15, I wanted to become a singer. I used to idolize Sonu Nigam back then so I ran away from home and came to Mumbai. My journey has been tough with various struggles. From working as a newspaper hawker to times where I had to sleep with an empty stomach. Through these difficult times, I took some hard decisions financially and emotionally which eventually turned things around for me. Amidst these struggles, I got support from my producers, directors, co-stars and most importantly my brother. My brother is the main reason for where I am today amongst many others.

Which has been the best role in your career?

My first character where I played Lakshman, is close to my heart. Since I wanted to become a singer, I had no experience or training in acting and was very raw back then. However, I feel the role of Susheem in Ashoka added a lot of value in my career. It gave me a breakthrough and pushed my career.  Where I stand today, I am enjoying shooting for Alif Laila and playing a lot of different roles. I feel this is my best role because it adds so much versatility to my canvas as an artist. I learn each day and that’s great motivation.

Any final message for your fans?

In the current situation, I’d like to say, stay home, stay safe. Take care of yourself, and your family because this virus can affect hundreds along with you. Though the government is taking all the necessary precautions, we should do our part in supporting them. Together we all can fight this pandemic. To all my well-wishers, I have always received a lot of appreciation from you and would like to continue to receive the same in the future. From my side, I would try my best to always live up to your expectations and keep entertaining you in different roles and characters.

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