Interview with Kratika Sengar, Jhansi Ki Rani

Interview with Kratika Sengar, Jhansi Ki Rani

Kratika Sengar, who plays the title role in the historial saga Jhansi Ki Rani airing on Zee TV shares her challenging experience about her legendary character in the immensely loved epic show.

The most important phase has started in Jhansi Ki Rani. What do we look forward to in the serial now?
Even as India feels a blast of patriotic fervor this Republic Day, the Rani of Jhansi rescues her child Anand Rao and father Moropant Tambe from the clutches of the British. The Rani hoists the Jhansi flag on her fort annexed by the British and sternly announces that absolutely nothing could possibly stop her from getting her Jhansi back from the British — a scene bound to give goose-bumps to every Indian across the world. The grand episode on Wednesday, January 26 marks the beginning of a fiery battle for Indian Independence between Rani Laxmibai and the British.

How do you feel playing the role of a legendary character of the stature of Jhansi Ki Rani?

Rani Laxmibai is considered to be the epitome of female bravery in India and essaying the role of a landmark character in history makes me feel very proud and at the same time extremely lucky to have bagged this role. Knowing about the Rani has been a great humbling experience, memories of which I will cherish forever. It’s no mean task to essay a historical character like Jhansi Ki Rani especially when the story track revolves around the famous battles she fought.

How has the character inspired you as a person? What kind of research have you done to play this role?

Once I was confirmed to play the role of Manu I was professionally trained in horse riding and sword fighting. I spent some time browsing the net and pouring over books to know more about “Jhansi Ki Rani”. Also, I had been to the workshop to learn the shloka's and the body language of how Jhansi Ki Rani was. Enormous research and micro-level detailing has gone into ensuring that this landmark struggle for India's independence comes across as impactful and memorable for the ardent followers of the show.

Has there been any change in your personality after playing Jhansi Ki Rani?

Since we shoot almost throughout the day its difficult to be normal at times as I continue to be in my character. The character of Rani Laxmi Bai has definitely instilled a lot of discipline in my life and I also feel stronger as a woman playing the role of the Rani. Struggle, Patriotism, Nationalism and National Integration have found new meaning in my life post Jhansi KI Rani experience.

Jhansi Ki Rani is an action packed drama. The war phase has started in the serial. Did you undergo any special training for the war sequence? Any anecdotes or experiences while training?

The hours devoted to training for the battle scenes have been increased and the actors are up at the crack of dawn to rehearse for the major war that is currently being shot. I train for nearly 4 hours each day to perfect my sword wielding technique.
The ancient art of Malakhamb has been brought to the sets by a trainer in the efforts to increase my stamina, flexibility and endurance. Malkhamb is a traditional Indian sport in which a gymnast performs feats and poses in concert with a vertical wooden pole or rope.
There have been many such instances where I have fallen off my horse but Thank God! There has not been any major injury. But, once my horse lost its way and went haywire… I lost control and was about to fall off a cliff … Sameer Dharmadhikari rushed in at the right moment and saved my life. The memories of that day still send shivers down my spine.

 What challenges do face shooting for the outdoor war sequences?

With no stone left unturned in ensuring a grand re-creation of the Azadi battles, the upcoming episodes will be a sheer delight to watch! It’s a crazy adventure shooting for the battle sequences! The heat, the grime, the heavy costumes and jewelry, it can all get very strenuous at times. In a battle sequence, one ends up damaging or losing a lot of props and jewelry. So it constantly needs to be replaced and the damaged jewelry is truly any costume designer’s nightmare. But, the result you see on screen completely justifies the pains we’re taking!
Re-creating battles from a bygone era is a challenge in itself. A thousand women with ornate jewelry ranging from earrings and necklaces to payals and bangles, hundreds of men in bejeweled pagdis, kadas and traditional neck-pieces, even animals adorned with olden era baubles and gems — all to be captured in violent, vigorous battling action is not an easy task.

Tell us about the promo shoot in Kolhapur and the scale of production in the war scenes?

The historical drama is headed towards an exciting climax and currently the channel wants to recreate the power, the rage and the magnitude of this landmark historical war.
People in the production team say that Zee TV has spent close to Rs.4 Crores on the final war sequences of the show. Manpower to the order of 2000 soldiers, almost a hundred elephants and horses, bulk orders of ammunition such as replicas of swords, archery sets, shields and armor, special war wardrobes for the manpower hired, international graphic experts flown in to enhance the grandeur of the war sequences have sent the budget of the show sky-rocketing.
Zee TV is walking that extra mile to translate this vision into reality and give the audience a genuine flavor of the Rani's epic war.

The patriotic fervor of the country is in full swing during Independence and Republic Day. Do you see patriotism in a different light after portraying the role of the Rani?
Yes definitely! Patriotism will never remain the same for me again. As a kid we used to celebrate Republic Day with great enthusiasm in school. Unfurling the Tricolor and singing the National Anthem early morning filled our hearts with pride but reading about the great leaders and living the character of a legendary figure, who began the Indian Revolution against British Colonialism and for Indian independence, day in and day out changes your outlook towards the concept of ‘Freedom’ and ‘Struggle for Independence’ completely.
ulka gupta nice pic by ekamchohlaulka gupta at golden templeulka gupta at homeKratika Sengar

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