Actor Ankur Nayyar, who is seen in Nikhil Sinha’s Prem Ya Paheli – Chandrakanta, talks about how his father nudged him to become an actor and how he needs to learn to promote himself well to get noticed in Bollywood.
You have done so many cult shows on TV right from Kasautii Zindagii Kay to Kashmeer. How would you best describe this journey?
My first show was Kasautii Zindagii Kay, which was a massive break for me. I am very thankful to Balaji for that. After that, I got many big shows on various channels like Star Plus, Zee, Sahara. And they were all excellent projects. Then with the entry of the daily soaps era, I got shows such as Ghar Ek Sapna. Subsequently, I bagged the opportunity to be part of many historic shows like Maharana Pratap and mythological shows such as Mahadev and Siya Ke Ram, which was a turning point in my career.
You have been part of showbiz since one and a half decades. Although now you are a household name, how was your struggle period?
Yes, it has been quite a journey and I am yet to reach my final destination. The journey is still in process and I am enjoying every bit of it. When I first came to Mumbai from Punjab, I had no clue as to what to do or where to go. I was completely lost. I struggled through the fast life of Mumbai. I traveled in buses and local trains. It was a really difficult time. But after almost fifteen years of hard work, I am now leading a comfortable life with a variety of shows. It all seems worth it now.
You celebrated your birthday on 27th May. How were the celebrations? Did you get any gifts and did you gift yourself anything?
I did not get any time to celebrate because of my hectic schedule. I had to shoot for both of my shows – Meri Durga and Chandrakanta. So, the celebrations are still due. My friends are waiting for a big party that might happen sometime soon. The gifts will come then! I don’t know if I will gift myself anything because I am a not very fond of that. For me, sharing time with my friends and family is a better way to celebrate my birthday, than to go shopping for myself.
Very little is known about your personal life. Could you tell us a little bit about your wife and family?
I have been married for two-three years. Her name is Ritika. She does not belong to this industry. I also have a small baby. Her name is Arianna. We live in Mumbai itself with my mother and sister.
Do you like your character of Tej Singh in Chandrakanta? How did the role come on board?
When I got the call from the producers for this role, I knew that it was going to be a very meaningful one. From what I understand Tej Singh is a very dedicated and honest person. He is honest to his king and has dedicated his entire life to him. He is a very loyal warrior and all his actions are made for the welfare of the king and his kingdom. I have not seen the earlier Chandrakanta, so playing the role of Tej Singh was fresh and novel for me.
How is your equation with the creator of the show Nikhil Sinha? How has it been working with him?
The first time that I worked with Nikhil Sinha was in my show Mahadev. But I did not get a chance to meet him at that time. Then I was part of the show Siya Ke Ram. That was the first time I interacted with him. When I had seen his shows, I had thought that he would be much older. But when I met him, I was shocked to see such a young man standing in front of me. His aura was so charming and full of energy. Even at such a young age, Nikhil Sinha has made a brand for himself. It is just amazing. His vision for his shows is completely extraordinary. I just love working with him.
What are the challenges that you faced to get a foothold in the industry? What about your family, have they always supported you?
My family has been more than supportive. In fact, my dad was the one who persuaded me to try my hand in this field. I have done Economics from Delhi University. So like everyone else from my field, I wanted to go abroad and work. But my dad told me to try something different and here I am. The challenges, or course, are many in this industry. In order to produce a one hour episode, there are long schedules which one needs to follow. You have to slog it out every day and it is very taxing. But, I know, hard work always pays off. So instead of cribbing about it, I make the most of my work and give my best. This has always been my motto.
You have already made a name for yourself on the small screen. What about Bollywood?
To be honest, I am very lazy. I do not know how to approach anyone in films. When I decided to enter this industry, I started acting lessons and I gave my pictures to Balaji. So after that, I have got a fair amount of shows. I would love to work in films, but I don’t know how to approach and market myself well. I guess it’s time to make that extra effort.
Does anything scare you? What are your phobias?
I am scared of reptiles! Lizards and other reptiles. I am terrified of them. Even those fake ones made of rubber.