Ankita Lokhande was reminded of Sushant Singh Rajput when she saw Shaheer Sheikh as Manav: ‘It’s very emotional’
- Ankita Lokhande, in a conversation with Hindustan Times, said that late actor Sushant Singh Rajput ‘was there everywhere, in every scene’ when she shot for Pavitra Rishta 2.0.
Ankita Lokhande, who became a household name with the long-running show Pavitra Rishta, in which she starred opposite late actor Sushant Singh Rajput, says she never stopped ‘living’ her character Archana. So, when she got an opportunity to be a part of the reboot, Pavitra Rishta 2.0, it was like coming home.
“I have been living Archana for 12 years. I was never out of the character, I definitely feel that because I have loved Archana so much, that it was very easy for me to become her,” Ankita told Hindustan Times, adding that it was ‘very emotional’ for her to return as Archana.
On the first day of her Pavitra Rishta 2.0 shoot, Ankita says she was a little tense. “I remember I was nervous because I did not know how to go back on the sets of Pavitra Rishta and start playing Archana again. It was a little difficult but I was okay with that afterwards when I started shooting and met the whole team. Everyone was very nice and welcoming.”
Ankita recalled how Pavitra Rishta 2.0 came to life after a meeting with producer Ekta Kapoor. Ekta wanted them to work together again and Ankita suggested a Pavitra Rishta reboot. “Because this was my show... Mujhe nahi chahiye tha ki 5 saal baad koi aur Pavitra Rishta kare (I did not want someone else to do my role in Pavitra Rishta five years later), I would have been very angry,” she said.
Pavitra Rishta 2.0 will retain the essence of love and romance from the original but Archana will be seen ‘in a very different way’. “She is more confident this time and talks about her likes and dislikes. Otherwise, pehli wali Archana was in that compromising state all the time. ‘Main compromise kar leti hoon (I will compromise)’, ‘Manav, aap kisi aur ke saath shaadi kar lo (marry someone else)’. This time, Archana is of the 21st century, she is working, she is very confident and she fights for her love,” Ankita said.
As Pavitra Rishta completed 12 years of its launch in June, Ankita went live on Instagram and paid tribute to Sushant. She said that the show is ‘definitely incomplete’ without him and he was the only Manav to Archana. With Sushant no more, Shaheer Sheikh is stepping into his shoes in Pavitra Rishta 2.0.
“Isme koi sochne wali baat hi nahi hai (This is a no-brainer), Sushant and I created Pavitra Rishta. We were Archana-Manav and we will always be Archana-Manav for people who have loved us. People have cried for us and people are still crying. Every journalist I am actually talking to is crying because they are so connected to Pavitra Rishta and that’s the best thing you can ask for,” Ankita said.
“We created something which was very organic. With Sushant and me...logon ko magic dikha (people saw the magic), because it was there. Of course, when I started shooting for Pavitra Rishta, Sushant was there everywhere, in every scene. Shaheer jab aata hai set pe (When Shaheer comes on the set), because he is in that get-up that I have seen Sushant playing for so many years. It’s very emotional but I just feel that he is there. He is watching all of us,” she added.
Ankita said that she has received a ‘really good’ response to the Pavitra Rishta 2.0 promo. However, she acknowledged that there is a section of people who are unhappy. “See, I don’t know what to say. People have their opinions and thought process. Maybe they are not liking it so they are not liking it, that’s okay and that’s their call. I can’t force people to like my show. But I can just show you what I am doing with a lot of hard work. My team is working hard,” she said.
“Nobody can force anyone to love anyone. Aane dete hai, dekhte hai kaisa lagta hai logon ko (Let it release and let’s see if people like it). People are so much in love with Sushant and me that they don’t want to see Shaheer and Ankita, and that’s okay. But there will be new fans also na jo shayad hum dono ki jodi pasand kare (who might like Shaheer and me as a couple)? Always see the positive side, I see that. I can’t go to people and tell them to love Pavitra Rishta. No way. But when they see it and if they really feel the love, they will love it. If not, they will not. That’s okay,” she added.
Ankita also talked about the support that she received from Sushant’s family. When she released the first look of Pavitra Rishta 2.0, his sister Shweta Singh Kirti shared it on Instagram Stories and wrote, “I am so happy about this. Wishing luck to the Pavitra Rishta team.” She wrote in another post, “Prayers for the success of Pavitra Rishta.”
On being asked if she discussed Pavitra Rishta 2.0 with Shweta, Ankita said, “Yes, of course, that is why she did that. She is a blessing in my life. I call her ‘didi’. Shweta di and I have always been very good friends to each other. She is my strength, actually. She always supports me to do good. I think Sushant’s family, every sister, they have supported me throughout, and unki blessings hai toh sab achcha hi hai yaar (if I have their blessings, then all is good). Everybody is there for me in the family. I sent the teaser to Rani di, they all loved it. They always used to tell me, ‘Ankita, work hard,’ and now I am working hard, so they are just appreciating it.”
Fans should ‘only expect love, nothing else’ from Pavitra Rishta 2.0, Ankita said on a parting note. “Bohot saari cheezein aisi hoti hai jo hum pyaar mein bolte nahi hai (Many things are left unsaid in love) and that is what Archana-Manav are. Bina kuch kahe woh bohot saari cheezein bol jaate hai (They manage to convey a lot of things without actually saying anything) and that’s the beauty of Pavitra Rishta and people will love it, I am very sure,” she said.
Pavitra Rishta 2.0 premieres on September 15 on Zee5.