Ulka Gupta in and as Jhansi Ki Rani

Hum angrez ki zulm nahin sahenge.” Turban tied round the little head and brandishing a flaming sword, this is the vow that a slip of a girl takes, drawing around her girls of her own age. This is the nucleus of an all-woman army that would at a later-day fight the British in one of India’s glorious chapters of the struggle for Independence.
And it is to fight this war that Ulka Gupta has been trained. Playing the queen of Jhansi on the small screen involves not just patriotic dialogues but a lot of martial arts that would be alien to any 14-year-old. So for a month and a half, Ulka would make her way to the Versova beach, and learn how to ride. “She fell from the horse a couple of times but now she can handle any horse,” certifies Dharmesh Shah, director of Jhansi ki Rani beaming on Zee TV.
Then there was sword-fighting and soon there will be shooting. “I do my stunts myself,” declares Ulka, before one has the chance to ask if she does. She has found riding “very easy” and is confident of picking shooting easily enough. “Ulka gets so excited about the fight sequences,” laughs her director. “People are surprised to see a kid on horseback.” Like a seasoned actor, she has learned to take the light and stop when asked to, even when doing a scene of facing a lion with a spear in hand.
But sometimes Shah insists on getting a double. “There were two scenes which I refused to let her do. In one, her hands would be tied and she would ride with the reins between her teeth. We only took her close-ups for that. The other scene was a race with Nana Saheb.”
For Ulka, a Class VIII student of Rustomjee International School in Mumbai, the over-all experience of playing Laxmi Bai is a “lot of fun”. “I am getting a bit more importance in school. When the chapter on 1857 is taught, my friends point to the portrait of the queen of Jhansi in the textbook and giggle ‘Ulka, tera picture dikha raha hai’.” There are other benefits too of doing the title role of the serial. “Ulka was not good in history earlier. But ever since she got involved with Jhansi ki Rani, her interest in the subject has grown. Now other students ask her about Laxmibai.”
At home, she has shed all lethargy and does her chores herself. “Uss ke upar Jhansi ki rani ki aatma chad gayi hai,” her mother wonders.
But the daughter of actor Gagan Gupta is aware of the distinction between reel and real life. She bears no grudges against Aroona Irani for constantly picking on the motherless Manu (Laxmibai was born Manikarnika) on camera. “Aroonaji is a sweet lady,” she protests. “When she was playing Saloni’s daughter in Saat Phere, they made her cry. Here she can protest,” recalls her mother.
When she is not shooting, Ulka is playing with the other kids of the show, studying or learning how to operate a camera. “Camera is a thing of which I know a bit,” she asserts. Some day, she wants to become a producer-director. Her idol is Manoj Kumar. Such is the pull of on-screen patriotism.

Aucun commentaire

Fourni par Blogger.