Ghulaam villain Vikas Manaktala: Being choosy took a toll on my career
Happy to cherry-pick roles, Ghulaam villain Vikas Manaktala breaks away from antagonist parts to play a hero in his next
Showbiz may function on the out-of-sight-is-out-of-mind premise, but Vikas Manaktala doesn't mind taking the gamble. In a career spanning 12 years, the actor has only four shows to his credit.
Instead of scurrying from one daily soap to another, Manaktala says he would rather give the nod to projects that offer him a chance to showcase his craft. As he slips into the role of Raja Gangadhar Rao, husband to Rani Laxmibai, for the period drama Khoob Ladi Mardaani… Jhansi Ki Rani, Manaktala says he prepped for several months before facing the arc lights.
"I lost six kilos, learnt horse riding and sword fighting for the role. I even grew a moustache, unlike everyone else who is wearing a fake one," smiles the actor, adding that his ensemble and jewellery for the costume drama weigh over 10 kilos.
In 2009, the makers had attempted a retelling of the warrior queen's life with Jhansi Ki Rani. Why revisit the subject within a decade? "The talk is always centred on her heroism and sacrifices. But we don't know her human side. How she was as a person, the nature of her relationship with her father and husband - these facets are still unknown. This story takes care of that."
He agrees that his tendency to cherry-pick roles has "taken a toll on his career." "It has been a deliberate decision. I have had to let go of so many shows because the roles offered were similar to what I've already done. Post Ghulaam, everyone thought I was perfect for negative roles and wanted to cast me in similar parts. But I don't want to be typecast. When I got this opportunity to play a misunderstood hero, I couldn't refuse."
Manaktala has had his share of controversies. During the shoot of Ghulaam, stories of his fights with co-star Niti Taylor often made headlines. He explains, "I couldn't control how other people behaved. People create an issue over nothing, but I stayed away from it. I prefer to channelise my energy towards my work."
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