POPULAR ACTOR ON HIS WHIRLWIND JOURNEY, FUTURE HOPES AND CONTRACTING COVID-19
by ASJAD NAZIR
A NEW wave of young talent is set to make 2021 exciting and one to look out for is rising Indian TV star Akshit Sukhija.
The rising Indian star has gone from modelling in Delhi as a 17-year-old to pursuing an acting career in Mumbai and despite not being formally trained, delivered a winning debut in drama serial Silsila Badalte Rishton Ka. He followed that up with a popular lead role in Colors TV drama Shubharambh, which recently went off air after one year and over 170 episodes, but it has set him up for a bright career.
Eastern Eye caught up with Akshit Sukhija to speak about his Shubharambh journey, life in lockdown, contracting Covid-19 and future hopes.
What has the experience of acting in Shubharambh been like? My life changed after Shubharambh, and in terms of acting it taught me a lot, including so many technical aspects. If I talk about acting, I evolved as an actor and saw drastic changes in myself in the last 175 episodes. I saw myself going from 10 per cent to 90 per cent. My channel, production team and everybody else have been happy with my work, which I am thankful for. The whole experience has been so great. I feel so lucky I did this show and character (Raja), which made me realise I love this profession. I loved my profession more and more everyday thanks to Raja.
What was the memorable highlight from the show’s journey? Exactly before the lockdown, we were shooting the part where Raja gets to know about the reality of Mota Papa, which was a major turning point of our show and my character’s journey after 80 to 90 episodes. But then lockdown happened and shoots stopped. We shot for up to 22 hours a day straight to bank episodes, before full lockdown. I still remember how powerful that scene was and what we went through to shoot it. That section of the story would have been even more powerful, including a one-page monologue from Raja, but changes had to be made due to lockdown. Despite that, I will remember the day we shot as it was the major highlight of our show.
How disappointed are you it has gone off after a year? Honestly, I am not disappointed, but a little upset because, as you can understand, when you work with a great team for 15 months you get attached to the environment, entire team, producer, TV channel and characters. So, it’s a little upsetting, otherwise, I am proud the show ran for a year and very excited to explore myself as an actor going ahead. I am happy I will get to do something great in another project, but do feel Shubharambh would have worked for six months more.
How did you cope with getting Covid-19? Physically, I was fine the day I tested positive and didn’t have a fever. But as I tested positive, I followed all the protocols and self-isolated myself. I had to live for 14 days in a corner of the house alone, which was mentally tough. The show was still running, so the storyline had to change. I was feeling fine and not able to do my work, which was the worst feeling. So, those 14 days of quarantine were mentally very exhausting and worse than the three months that we were all in lockdown.
Do you think the lockdown has changed you in any way? Lockdown has changed me a little bit. I have learned that we are used to having luxuries, but can live our life with basic necessities. I also realised the huge difference between living alone and with family. It was far lovelier staying with parents during this time. I have heard that people were feeling lonely and going into depression. Fortunately, this had not happened with me as I was with my parents during the 100 days of full lockdown. So, I learned the importance of family.
What else did you learn? I learned many things about our industry and acting. I saw how we changed the way of doing things and adapted to the situation, including how I portrayed my role.
What is the acting plan going forward? I am open to every kind of platform right now, be it movies, OTT or TV. If I like a script or project, I will take it up.
Do you have a dream role? I have so many! The first would be Shah Rukh Khan’s character in My Name Is Khan or from Don. Khilji from Padmaavat, shows like the original Vampires Diaries, and a genre that gives me a chance to play a grey character.
Who would you love to work with? Right now, there is no wish list to work with anyone in particular. I just want to work with good people like Pankaj Tripathi sir – if I get to work with him, I’m sure I’ll get to learn many things.
What shows do you enjoy? I don’t watch TV shows much, but I binge watch American and British series on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
What inspires you? I am a big fan of Shah Rukh Khan sir and Bohemia paji. Both life stories are similar in that they have risen up from tough beginnings to achieve great things and receive so much respect. Their dedication towards their profession and journey of not giving up through tough times inspire me. Other than that, my parents inspire me as they never stopped me from doing anything and have been very supportive. Without my parents, it would have been difficult and that is why they inspire me every day. They taught me that rather than doing bad things, I should invest myself in good things.