Actor Ashlesha Sawant, who is playing the role of Pritha in Siddharth Kumar Tewary’s (Swastik Productions) Porus, has been getting a great response. However, the actor admits that she was hesitant in taking the role initially. “The character of Pritha is very special to me because at first, I was very sceptical about playing the role of a mother. But then my producers and the creatives explained to me the concept and how it was not about ageing on the screen. The whole setup is supposed to look young. Pritha has a very different shade. In fact, for the first time, I am not playing a negative character, she is very real. Her whole deal is that she is a mother, not of Porus, but she is forced to raise him and love him as her own. She does not hate Porus but she didn’t want this life for her husband and her son as well. All in all, the character is very challenging. I have never done a historical show which prompted me to take it. Also, I have never worked on an outdoor setup, I have never stayed away from home, so I wanted to try that. I wanted something challenging which will break me,” she says.
And surely, getting into her character’s look was challenging for Ashlesha. “I call myself a child-woman. I am a very fidgety person. I am all over the place. So the costume and the hair is always going to be a struggle for me. As soon as the shot is done, I don’t stick around, I like to play, I just sleep anywhere. So it is quite a task to take care of the costumes and the accessories and the hair. But I am an actor and you have to take everything in your stride,” she says.
The actor adds that she loves working on the sets of the show. “I have never seen such a grand set. Hats off to the creators, the producers, the art directors. I don’t think even the audience has seen something like this before on television. This is at another level altogether. It is a fabulous experience to work on the sets of Porus. The sets are really magnanimous and beautiful! All of the people that I have been around have created an atmosphere of energy and positivity, so it is really nice working with everyone. All of them are very special and sweet. I bond with almost everybody. But the special ones are Laksh, Rati, Hrishikesh, who plays my husband, Ripudaman, Suhani and Shraddha. I bond with them the most,” she says.
Of course, working with Swastik Productions is a pleasure too, says the actor. “They have only one vision, that is to make the show a grand success. And in the path of doing so, they are extremely humble, extremely sweet and understanding. This is the mark of a winning relationship between the actor and the producer. Both my producers; Siddharth Tewary and Rahul Tewary, are very nice and I look forward to meeting them on the sets whenever they come. Siddharth sir is also a passionate director. He is the captain of the ship, and his vision is so big and bold. You can see that he loves his shows and that is something which is very admirable. I always get to learn something from him. On the other hand, it is fun to work with Rahul sir. He can crack a joke any time and make you laugh, he is full of warmth and love for everyone. Blessings and lots of love to both of them! Swastik Productions is a team of very hard working and genuine people,” she says.
Kyuki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi to Porus, Ashlesha has had a noteworthy journey, talking about it, she says, “I got into acting at a very young age of 17. There was a Miss Pune Contest in Pune, which I won accidentally and the coordinators there started circulating my pictures and portfolios everywhere. Then I landed in one of the auditions. Balaji was casting for a series called Kya Hadsaa Kya Haqeeqat. I came to Mumbai after I was cast and met Ekta. She told me that I will play the lead, but since I had no background in acting, I was supposed to take a workshop with the director of the series, Mr Anurag Basu. But he realised that he wanted the lead to have a more Indian look and I was not like that. So after two months of shooting, I had to leave and I was broken. But then Ekta cast me in Kyuki and I remember she told me that she will change my life and till now I am eternally thankful to her for that.”
Ask her what are the changes she has observed in the industry since then, and she says, “About four years back, the wave of regressive concepts dominated television and I found it difficult to be a part of it. Now that more and more new concepts, mythological and historical shows are coming up, regressive concepts have stopped. They have not completely gone but they have stopped somewhere. It is a positive change. I would like to see more real concepts dominating the Indian television. In the technical department, there is still some scope for growth.”