Sid Makkar and Ankita Sharma play Sunderlal Bharadwaj and Lajwanti in the period drama, Lajwanti. After the initial awkwardness, the two have grown to become comfortable with each other, which they believe has immensely helped their chemistry evolve. In a candid chat, the two tell us about their bonding, the roles they essay, and the show.
Sid, Ankita, tell us about your first impressions of each other.
Sid: Ankita is very much like her character in Lajwanti — mischievous and at the same time, she can get shy. When I first saw her walking in wearing jeans and a top, I thought she looked too young to play the role. I was like, ‘Wait, is she going to play Lajwanti? Because, then we have a young and fresh-faced Lajwanti!’ Initially, she wouldn’t talk too much; she takes her time to open up. But once she did, I realised that she doesn’t stop talking. Today we share a good chemistry.
Ankita: When I realised that Sid was the lead, I was actually quite nervous since this is my first show, and Sid has obviously done a lot of work previously. I used to watch his previous show, Dariba Diaries. We had workshops prior to the shooting of the serial, and he was like a teacher to me. He has been ever so patient: Even for my close-ups, he would stand and give me cues.
When did you two first meet and what was it like?
Sid: I met her during the first mock shoot and wondered how things are going to go because during her look test, she looked rather down and out. I went up to her and asked her what was the worry, and she mentioned that she was called ugly, a label that made her uncomfortable since no one has ever called her that. I delved further into the matter and asked her who called her that. She replied that someone from the production team had said so. I calmed her by pointing out that it wasn’t a personal comment since it was the make-up that was being criticised! It was all very new for her; we had a hearty laugh about it!
Ankita: I was called for a look test and I was super nervous, but what struck me was that he is a warm guy. And of course, I thought he is a good-looking!
Can you share a few quirky habits that you two have discovered about each other?
Sid: Ankita is obsessed with chocolates, in fact, that’s all she wants to eat! At times, during lunch she will realise that she hasn’t had breakfast and then go on to munch on a big bar of chocolate.
Ankita: Nothing that I can think of.
Your show started with a typical love-hate relationship, how is the story different?
Sid: The story is different because of its setting. It is set in a time period that makes it so interesting. In Hindi movies, when we see love stories that were set in the partition era, they have been about either of the characters being Hindu/Muslim. In Lajwanti, that’s not the case — it’s just about two people in love during the biggest upheaval – the Partition
Ankita: Old school romance, which makes it different. It’s like the earlier eras; love is expressed without doing much.
How similar or different is your co-star as compared to their character?
Sid: She is similar to the character barring one trait: Lajwanti isn’t educated, so I keep teasing her that this is why she was chosen for the role. She gets annoyed when I take a dig at her because she is an engineer by qualification. But like I said, there is this spunk about Ankita that livens up her chrachter, Lajwanti. Ankita is very likable; I keep telling her that even if she commits a murder, people will still say, ‘Oh she is so sweet!’ This quality works very beautifully for the character as well.
Ankita: He is wise, mature and doesn’t speak much, just like his character. But Sunderlal, his character is a cold person with a short temper; Sid is not.
What were your favourite scenes together and why?
Sid: It the scene where our characters first meet: we both were stuck in the well and later pulled out. It’s the first time where we both are in close proximity with each other. The scene is great because we experienced the freezing temperatures of Kashmir where we were shivering as water was being thrown at us. We did the same scene in Punjab where it was 45 degrees and then again in Mumbai for a promo shoot. We have shot the scene in three different locations and condictions; over time our equation has changed, and also evolved for the better.
Ankita: We have a lot of nok jhok scenes so the first romantic scene was interesting. It’s this scene where I ask him what I mean to him. It’s special because it came out well, and it was my very first scene.
Do you think today’s audience would connect with a period drama?
Sid: I think audiences connect with characters. So as long as the characters are relatable to them it doesn’t matter what the setting is — it could be futuristic, contemporary or period. Ours is a classic love story and I think it’s interesting that the setting is in the biggest history of India. I really hope they do and find connect with the character.
Ankita: I think audiences will relate to the story. Today, there are just saas-bahu serials. Plus, love stories are eternal, and strike a chord with everyone. It doesn’t matter which period is belongs to: Everyone can relate to it.
Last film I enjoyed:
S: Before I Go To Sleep, a Nicole Kidman movie
A: Tanu Weds Manu Returns
S: I don’t know if it’s a guilty pleasure, but I love getting a massage.
S: Home food
A: Ghar ka khaana
S: Sid, my actual name is Siddharth but I was in America for four years and there no one could pronounce Siddharth, so it became Sid
A: Anku, now it’s also Laajo