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'My dream is to work with Kangana Ranaut, in future': Anushka Sen

Thursday, February 14, 2019
By Chaitanya Padukone

Short ‘n sweet with a slim fragile physique is the first (deceptive) impression. But once you converse with 16 year old TV actress-trained dancer Anushka Sen, you discover that she is extra-smart, feisty, witty and a go-getter, perfectly cast in the title role of the daring ‘Manikarnika’ in the latest historical Colors TV show Khoob Ladee Mardani…Jhansi Ki Rani. The spectacular ‘period’ action-drama-sentiments show premiered on 11th February and will air every Monday to Friday at 9:30 pm on Colors. Not new to telly-biz the pretty-tough Anushka has already acted in a string of TV shows over the past eight years. The Afternoon D&C cornered the exuberant Anusha for a lively chat. Excerpts:

Were you as a school-kid fascinated by the bravery of Jhansi Ki Rani?
Of course. Not just me, I am sure, every school-student who has Indian History as one of the subjects has definitely been impressed and inspired by the selfless patriotic exploits and battlefield bravery of Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi.

Why made you grab this challenging title role?
As you rightly said, it is indeed a challenging role and I love to leap out of my comfort-zone, where acting is concerned. It was a total transformation for me to change and make-over into the young Manikarnika who later becomes legendary Rani Laxmibai. In a male-dominated era, when the role of a woman was reserved for only household cooking, child-bearing and raising the kids, the compassionate Queen helped emancipate her British-sympathizing husband and became the pillar of strength for her motherland especially the kingdom of Jhansi.

Who are your other co-stars?
We also have an amazing galaxy of senior talented co-stars including Vikas Manaktala, Rajesh (‘Moropant Tambe’) Shringarpure, Vijay Kashyap, Anshul (‘Taatya’) Trivedi and Anuja (‘Jankibai’) Sathe and Piyali ( ‘Lachhobai’) Munsi.

What was the ‘prep’ that you had to go thru for this formidable role?
Prior to this ‘Manikarnika’ show I was quite simple, timid and shy and would not participate in sports and would be scared of getting injured. As part of my ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’ training, I had to first become mentally strong. After this prime tough transformation in my persona, I was tutored to speak correct Hindi diction. Then I had to learn horse-riding, sword-fighting and free-hand physical combat and also to walk or march ahead with that royal gait and aura of a commanding Queen. As part of my orientation I also read a various informative books on the ‘Rani Of Jhansi’.

Aren’t you apprehensive about being compared with heroine Kangana Ranaut and Manikarnika—Queen of Jhansi-- the movie?
Not really. As far as the war-centric mega-hit movie is concerned, it was a three-hour start-to-finish entertainment. Our episodic on-going Colors TV show will also have spectacular war-scenes against the British army. But it will highlight my iconic character Rani Laxmibai in-depth as a social reformist, a compassionate mentor, a social motivator and also how she fights internal household politics and shrewd manipulations against her---within her own family. Being compared with Kangana, gosh, I would take that as a huge compliment. That’s because shuru sey, I am a huge ardent fan of her excellent performance in all her movies. It’s my dream to personally meet her and maybe also share screen-space with multiple National Awards winner Kangana-jee in future.

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