I am lucky to play such a character

A new historical show, Ek Veer Stree Ki Kahaani – Jhansi Ki Rani, will go on air on August 18 on Zee TV.The show will trace the story of the warrior princess from her childhood to her later achievements. We spoke to Ulka Gagan Gupta, who plays the young Jhansi ki Rani.Talking to Ulka Gupta, the young Jhansi Ki Rani of Zee TV’s new epic drama, makes us realize that she is a budding talent who wants to experiment on all fronts and will not rest until she realizes her forte. Her energy and zest squash all doubts that arise regarding her eligibility to play Jhansi Ki Rani.

How did you bag the role?
“I heard that the production house was looking for a young girl to play the role of this warrior princess, so I went for the auditions and got selected. Moreover, I know the Zee TV people and they were eager to cast me in this role.”

Is this your TV debut?
“No. I first faced the camera in Resham Dankh, then I got Saat Phere, in which I played Savri, Saloni’s daughter. I think I’m fortunate to get to play such a strong character.”

While shooting, were you nervous or excited?
“Both, because it was a huge task to play this role. I’ve worked hard, I’ve learned horse-riding and sword-fighting which is really difficult. Honey Sir taught me all this and I know I have done my job, the rest is up to the audiences.”

How difficult it was to play Jhansi Ki Rani?
It was not at all difficult. In fact it was interesting to play this role. Right from my childhood I love horse riding. And thanks to this show, I got to learn horse riding. My trainer was very strict but I managed through it all. I enjoyed a lot

Have you done any research for this role?
“I have read a book about her, and my teachers and parents have helped me in my research. She made all Indians proud. The production house gave me big, fat books on her and I have read everything about her, from her birth to her death.”

Were you fond of acting since childhood?
No. its not like I was fond of acting, but yes, it does come naturally to me. Since my dad is an actor, acting is in my blood.

How do you manage your studies and shoots?
“I’m a Class 8 student and I go to school from 7am to 12noon. After lunch, I travel to Umargoan, near Mumbai, for the shoot. I carry my study material along and, whenever I get a break from shooting, I study with help from the production unit. My teachers also help me out a lot. Right now, I have a holiday from the shoot so I’m using this time to study. This will help me in my terminal exams, which will start in October.”

How is it to work with co-actors like Aroona Irani?
“It was nice. I have always loved her work, and it was a good learning experience for me to grow as an actor. She and my onscreen father, Sailesh Dattar, who is a theatre actor, have helped me improvise my dialogues.”

Are you enjoying your star status?
I’m just happy that I’m making everyone around me smile.

Now you are in 8th Standard; in future how will you cope up with your studies?
The same way as I am doing today.

Do you see acting as a career option?
I want to be a camera- person or action- director. But I also love acting, as we get to do many things as an actor. My camera uncle teaches me camera handling and I am inspired by my action- director. I love both of them.

You said many things about you- that you go to school, then come for shoot… what else do you like to do?
I love eating. Basically I love to eat especially non vegetarian foods like chicken, prawns and aloo brinjal made by my mom. In fact I love my mom’s cooking.

Can you tell us about your family?
Like I said, my dad is an actor. He has done theatre with Ila Arun. I have one brother and sister and all of them are very proud of me.

Who is more close to you?
Both my mom and dad are close to me. I like mom ’cause she’s frank and allows me to do what I want. But when I play whole day my mom gets very irritated.

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