Actor Suhani Dhanki is ecstatic to have bagged the role of Princess Laachi in Siddharth Kumar Tewary’s magnum opus Porus. In this interview, the actress talks enthusiastically about how she came on board and why she loves working with Swastik Productions.
What prompted you to take up the role of Laachi in Porus?
Swastik (Productions) has been really amazing. In fact, I started my career with Swastik and I got the confidence to take on more roles because my first experience was so good. Swastik has a warm atmosphere. Every person is very welcoming and approachable and. moreover, it is a safe workplace. I was initially apprehensive as I came from quite a protective family. But working with Swastik has made me realize that people behave with you, the way you are with them. I love how their work is. They make a lot of substance-oriented shows that highlight our rich heritage and culture. Along with research, they portray aesthetic too and I love working on their projects.
What special training did you take for your character in the show?
Swastik Productions has left no stone unturned to transform me into a fearless princess. Right from sword fighting, acting classes, horse riding, rowing, swimming, underwater training, they have made sure to train me well. I am so glad I got to do these things as part of the show.
You started your career as a model and a trained classical dancer. How has the journey been so far?
I have been raised in a family of art lovers. I started my career as a classical dancer when I was really young and my dance teacher, Mirabelle, told me that I was born to dance. But I never really gave it much importance. But when I grew older, I realized that my parents too envisioned me as an artist, that’s when I decided to take up serious training. My mother took me to my Guru, Dr. Sandhya Purechaji and after I met her, my life changed. She not only instilled values and discipline of dance in me but opened my mind to a lot of things like philosophy, spirituality, tradition and innovation. She made me explore everything under the sun and never forbade me from doing anything. Learning from her was like attending a gurukul for me. In fact, she is a big reason for me to start acting; her contribution along with the unflinching support of my parents. It was with her that I went to the Mahabharat office. I have always tried to balance my career as a dancer and as an actor and at no point does my riyaaz stop, nor do I stop performing. With Swastik, they have been quite accommodating with my dance schedules and I have travelled with my guru and for solo shows quite a bit.
So, after Mahabharat I got finalised to play the lead in a daily soap but it was around the time that I got the National Scholarship to Young Dancers from the Ministry of Culture, and it was my final year
of BA in dance and third year in law. So I had to make a choice. I chose my dance and academics and decided to pursue acting only after completing my studies. And then, after my masters and law degree, I started going for auditions and I did the other two shows. The journey has been gratifying.
You have earlier worked in a Mahabharata also. What difference do you find between working in a historical show and a regular show? Share your experience.
My acting choices have been quite diverse. I started my career in mythology in Mahabharat and after that, I played a naagin in Adhuri Kahani Hamari. Following this, I played a dancer in Piya Albela and after that, I am doing Porus which is a historical show. So the trend has been quite diverse and it’s been amazing that I got to explore so many characters and so many different sides of my potential. The best part is, my look in each of the shows is so different that I don’t think my family recognized me at times! In Mahabharat, it was a costume drama, with so much makeup, heavy clothes and big sets. Although Porus is no different, here I represent the Dasyu clan, who are very rugged. So my costume is quite minimalist and comfortable. I wear a dhoti and a kanchuki. I can do anything in this costume. I am playing the character of Laachi in Porus, a character who has never been explored but is a creation of Siddharth Kumar Tewary himself. So for me, Laachi is going to be what I make it. It’s obviously very adventurous and different playing Laachi.
How is it working with Swastik Productions and who do you bond the most on set with?
I bond with a lot of people from the unit actually but the most with my folks in the Dasyu world. We have so much fun chatting and obviously, we are a lot more connected, as we work together. Shraddha plays my mother’s character so I bond well with her and Ashlesha. It’s actually such an irony because I was in school, when I saw Shraddha playing CJ in Miley Jab Hum Tum and that time we were so fascinated by the character. So for me, working with her after so many years in itself is such a big moment. I really enjoy their company. Although they have way more years in the industry, I love how they treat all actors as equals.
What are your hobbies? Any phobia if you have please share.
I love dancing, reading and writing. I love music, it’s the most liberating form of entertainment. I love adventure sports but not ones related to water. I love hiking, rafting and all other random adventure things.