A look into Ankita Lokhande's journey serves as a poignant reminder of her triumph. Amidst her personal and professional challenges, she embodies resilience and determination, consistently rising above obstacles. Her unwavering dedication to her craft distinguishes her, allowing her to shine brightly where many falter.
Right from her captivating debut in Pavitra Rishta to her engaging presence on the popular reality show Bigg Boss, Lokhande consistently charmed the audience with her confidence and allure. We caught up with the actor for the third episode of the #SerialChillers series where she candidly discusses her initial brush with fame, maintaining hope in love, the synergistic bond she shares with her husband Vicky, insights into her upcoming film, and much more.
Cosmopolitan India: Pavitra Rishta got you immense love and acclaim from the entire country. When we talk about acting career takeoffs, we talk about movies. But your performance in the show made people stand up and realise that dream debuts can take place on TV as well
Ankita Lokhande: People really look for their big break in movies, but I was very fortunate to get an opportunity like that on a TV show—that changed my whole life. When I talk about Pavitra Rishta, it gives me a feeling of nostalgia as I lived the character of Archana for five-and-a-half years. She was someone’s wife, sister, daughter, mother, and grandmother; there were a lot of connections and feelings over that time.
I wasn’t sure about what the show would do for me, but I did know that it was being made by Balaji Telefilms. And they make you a star. It was an Ekta Kapoor show. So to do something like (Pavitra Rishta) was a dream come true. There’s nothing bigger than that. You might even reject a film for this. The show has been a blessing and I used to shoot for long hours.
A few months after the show, I visited Lalbaug for Ganpati. I knew that there would be a large crowd in the line but I didn’t expect anyone to know me. But I was mobbed. I asked the security if I could make my way and can you help us. All they wanted was to take a photo with me. That was my first taste of stardom. To get that love is very rare. I feel so connected with the audience that’s always been the same right from the first day. Without their love, I’m nothing.
I didn’t think about what would happen next. I lived in the present. I’ve always been there and enjoyed the moment. That’s the most important thing for me. I was in love with the show. Till today, I’m nothing but grateful for it.
CI: You see yourself more as an artist, rather than a performer? Has that always been the case or something that’s changed with time?
AL: For me, the medium is not important. I always call myself an artist. If I have to perform, it doesn’t matter if it’s the stage, TV or a movie. I always call myself Maya from Dil To Pagal Hai. I am not dancing for the audience, but I am doing so for myself and my happiness. That’s how an artist should be. I try to give it my very best in whatever I do.
CI: You made a return to Pavitra Rishta, in a new format, after seven years. Could you tell us something about how it all happened, your first few days back into a character you know so closely?
AL: I was nervous to begin with. It’s rare for someone to come back to a show, that too after so many years. I kept wondering if viewers would accept me. But what I can say for sure is that their love hasn’t ended and it never will. It was a great experience and I’m glad that Ekta Kapoor was there for me as a pillar of support and pushed me to perform to the best of my abilities. It’s been 14 years and most of my friends are from that show. I feel that the bond is very important.
CI: What made you not lose hope in finding the love that you were looking for? What would you like to say to people dealing with a breakup and have given up on love?
AL: I’ve never given up on love and have always believed in it. I’ve been brought up in a family where I’ve been loved by people. I don’t believe that you need love from only one person. You need it from your parents, in-laws, and a partner. A breakup is difficult, but I’d just like to tell everyone that you have the power to come out of it. It’s all about your inner strength. But you need your family with you. You don’t need to give so much importance to anyone but yourself and your parents, because no one takes care of you better than them. Don’t stop believing in love, you will find it one day. I never thought that the doors were closed for me. When one closes, the other opens. This happens in reality and Vicky came into my life. I knew that there will be a person who will love me unconditionally.
CI: Where did you get the strength to keep going?
AL: I was brought up in a family where the women have always been independent and strong. That’s where I get my strength from. My father is the one who has always believed in me.
CI: What was your initial reaction when you saw Vicky? Did you feel an instant connection?
AL: We met at a club for an India-Pakistan match. We never thought that we’d end up together as husband and wife. What has to happen will happen. The timing was also right as he entered my life when I had decided to move on. Both of us developed feelings for each other at the same time.
What I love about him the most is how he thinks about everyone. He’s soft-spoken, calm, and gives you the chance to speak. He will listen and give you that much-needed balance in life. I’m excited and energetic, and he compliments me so well. When you people are made for each other, you don’t look at perfection.
CI: How does Vicky push you and motivate you to be a better person, a better artist?
AL: We definitely do it for each other. That said, he does it more for me than the other way around. I have always been a person who procrastinates. But he makes sure that I finish my work at that very moment. He ensures that I push myself to work, communicate, be available and never be complacent. He reminds me of my potential and I’m grateful to have me in my life. His feedback matters the most to me. I’m someone who uses my heart, while he uses his brain. So he just improves everything I do.
CI: With so much social media trolling, how did you reach a stage, a place where you felt you didn’t need to explain anything to anyone anymore?
AL: Ever since I entered the industry, I avoided reading what’s written about me. And this goes back to the time when we didn’t have social media. Sometimes I scroll through the comments on my social media account and I really don’t have anything to say. It’s just a waste of time. It’s nothing but negative energy. More than us, it affects the person who’s writing it.
It’s a problem if you say something just as it becomes a problem if you stay quiet. But you can’t explain yourself to people all the time. If it’s something about your work, I will. But I draw the line when it comes to my personal life. I don’t owe an explanation to anyone when it comes to this aspect of my life.
CI: Over time, do you think people have understood you better?
AL: Yes. My fans have and those who connect with me. Everyone has a perception, I don’t know what they’re thinking about me. When they meet me, things change. A coconut looks different from the outside. I will never hurt someone intentionally.
CI: All eyes are now on Swatantra Veer Savarkar. Could you tell us something about your role in it?
AL: It’s coming soon. People are very excited about it having seen the teaser. I couldn’t say no to playing Veer Savarkar’s wife. There was so much scope in the character. It’s a performance-oriented film. Yamuna Bai supported her husband through thick and thin. Her journey is inspirational and the things she went through and did for the country is what people need to know.
CI: What are the roles that you look forward to doing? And what is it that you don’t want to do?
AL: I want to do something which is me. I am an artist who can perform any kind of role. But I am that heroine who has a full '90s vibe. I want to do something which a lot of dance and colour. I don’t want to do any patriotic films for the time being. I want to do a rom-com as well. I’m going through some scripts and things are in the pipeline that you will come to know about shortly.