While Manikarnika continues to garner rave reviews from all quarters, Colors is set to launch Khoob Ladee Mardani…Jhansi Ki Rani, another tale on Rani Laxmibai.Produced by Contiloe, the cast includes Anushka Sen as the fierce queen and Vikas Manaktala as King Gangadhar. Actors like Rajesh Shringarpure, Anshul Trivedi, Vijay Kashyap and Anuja Sathe will also be seen in pivotal roles.
At the launch of the period drama, Anushka sat down for an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com. The 16-year-old actor talked about getting into the skin of the character, comparisons with Kangana Ranaut and becoming a social media sensation.
Excerpts from the conversation:
Q: How does it feel to play Rani of Jhansi on the small screen?
The story of Laxmibai is epic and I feel blessed to be a part of this show. It’s a dream role for any actor and I hope I justify myself. Since I have never been into sports, it was a challenge to prepare for this powerful character. I have been working out hard to learn horse riding, sword fighting and free-hand. I also had to get the diction and body language right.
Q: Kangana Ranaut’s Manikarnika is still fresh in the audience’s mind. Do you think your show will face the pressure of comparison?
It would be an honour to be compared to Kangana. She is a legend and my favourite actor. We both are outsiders in the industry and her journey inspires me. Also, she is a fabulous actor and gets into any role so easily. I loved the film but our show is much more than the fight for independence. We will also be focussing on Laxmibai as the social reformist and how she fought the internal politics in her in-laws’ family. I watched Manikarnika and it has only motivated me to do better. But that was a three-hour film, our show would be long term and delve deep into the other sides of her story. So both are quite different.
Q: Historical shows are said to be a great source for educating people. What’s your take on that?
More than education, this show is going to be an inspiration. Once you get to know of such stories, you automatically get more intrigued. This is an important tale. In a time of patriarchy, this extraordinary woman broke out of the cage and fought hard for the freedom of her country.
Q: You have been working in the television industry for eight years now. Do you ever miss having a normal childhood?
Not at all. I don’t think I will have it any other way. I just love my work. And when I am not shooting, I am like any other normal girl. My parents and close friends keep me grounded and provide me with the usual life. But I am lucky that at such a young age, I am getting to meet so many people, interact and learn from them.
Q: Have you ever been taken for a ride because of your age?
It hasn’t happened yet. I think I have always been appreciated for my roles. I think respect comes from your professionalism. And I am treated as an equal on every work front.
Q: Do you feel social media is a bane or boon in today’s time?
It is definitely a boon. I recently became the most followed global celebrity on the Like app. It feels amazing to have a huge number of followers. But it’s very important how you use the platform. I may be an actor but through social media, I always connect to my fans on a personal level. I think that has gone on my favour.
Starting February 11, Khoob Ladee Mardani…Jhansi Ki Rani will air Monday-Friday, 9:30 pm on Colors.