'Naseer doesn't mind sharing trade secrets'

May 07, 2012, 08:33 IST | Sujata Chakrabarti

Ankur Vikal, a lead actor of Naseeruddin Shah's theatre group, on his mentor and what sets him apart from the other acting gurus in town

30-something Ankur Vikal is a self-confessed culinary expert. When we call him for a telecon, he is busy planning his beloved cat, Tigger’s first birthday party and dinner.

Ankur Vikal 

There is of course the option of cooking fish for his tabby, while also whipping up some chicken-based dish for the novelty factor. For Ankur, managing both comes rather effortlessly, which is also reflected in the way the young actor has been flitting in between acting on stage and on the big screen for more than a decade now.

After being handpicked by Naseeruddin Shah to become a part of his theatre company, Ankur not only plays lead in several of the group’s plays, but has also reprised characters that were once played by the stalwart himself.

Naseeruddin Shah

And being a true chef at heart, Ankur uses a reference from the culinary world to describe what he learnt best from his mentor and now co-actor Naseer. The NSD alumnus points out, “If I cook a particular dish several times over, I will end up doing it better. That is exactly what Naseer means when he taught me those priceless words — ‘Everything that is spontaneous is extremely rehearsed’,” and adds, “You need to be thorough everyday.”

Sharing secrets
Like several of Naseer’s co-actors, Ankur too candidly admits to being extremely intrigued by this phenomenon that is Naseer. Having recently concluded the celebrations around 34 years of Motley (Naseer’s troupe) with a slew of their classic plays across the city, the actor reveals, “He is the only acting teacher in town who does not mind sharing his trade secrets.” He adds, “A lot of actors in Bollywood today started from the stage.

I miss the fact that actors like Anupam Kher and Irrfan don’t do stage anymore.” Ankur, whose new project, a film by Ashvin Kumar is all set to hit the marquee, is already looking forward to his next — where he will be sharing screen space with Kolaveri di-Dhanush.

Speaking about the film for which he has been busy growing a beard since a few months, the actor says, “It will be a multi-lingual film, and will be shot in the mines of Namibia.” And before embarking on this new journey, we guess Ankur’s mantra will be Naseer’s opt-repeated words for his students — ‘Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.’  

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