ankur rathee, anuja joshi, shehzada

Ankur Ratheer might have grown up in the US but his roots are in India. The actor has been working in the country since 2019. He came into prominence with his role in Four More Shots Please! Ankur Rathee followed it with some more amazing work in projects like Taish, Inside Edge and Undekhi. He was last seen in the Kartik Aaryan starrer Shehzada.

Recently, Ankur Rathee got into an exclusive conversation with Bollywood Bubble. He spoke about saying yes to Shehzada, moving from US to India for work and playing gay characters on screen. Ankur Rathee had a very sweet romantic ‘cross-country’ proposal for wife Anuja Joshi, and he discussed that too. Excerpts from the interview:

You have spent a great part of your life in the US. Why did you decide to pursue an acting career in India?

“Although I spent many years in the US, my family and my upbringing have been very desi. My first language was Haryanvi and then Hindi. After I started school, that’s when English became a part of my life. My mother and I learnt English together at the same time. I grew up watching so many Hindi films as a kid. So, there was always that seed in my brain that I wanted to be an actor in India. Eventually, when the opportunity came, I was like why not? If not now then when?”

Your character in Shehzada is a little bit naïve and has the potential to become caricaturish. So, what was it that made you say yes to it?

“During my first call with Rohit Dhawan, we ended up talking at length about our comedy inspiration. We talked about Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Robin Williams and Jim Carrey. Right after that, I realised what Rohit’s vision for the character was. It was a spoilt individual but not a spoilt brat. He is a good hearted guy who has grown with a lot of privilege. The take on it was very comical. He told me that he had seen a lot of my work and I do the serious drama very well. He had seen Thappad, Taish and Undekhi. But when he saw my Instagram, he saw that I have this other side in me as well. I have that goofiness and comedic timing as well, and he wanted to see a mix of both the worlds in my character.”

Every actor has a dream to become a leading man. But most of the roles you have done till now have been supporting characters. Do they fit in your vision for yourself as an actor?

“Playing a leading man is something that I 100 per cent see in my near future. But when I first came to Mumbai and started my career, my driving force was that I wanted to be a part of memorable projects. I wanted to do projects that I would be proud of. I have had the offers to play leading roles in many OTT shows and films, but they didn’t resonate with me. I rather did a film like Thappad that started conversations between people. But that’s not to say that my vision doesn’t include doing leading roles, very soon.”

You have also played characters on the sexual spectrum, something many actors would not opt for. Where does that security in you comes from?

“I think it’s just my understanding of what it means to be an actor that might be different. As an actor, my job is to bring to life characters from all aspects of our society. When I take up a role, I don’t see if it is comfortable. In Inside Edge, for example, I play a gay lawyer and activist fighting for gay rights in India. I think it is an important issue that people are still facing in India. So, for me it wasn’t about what would the industry think of me or would I get typecast.

I won’t lie, but those thoughts came to me too. But most important was the opportunity to play a different kind of character and tell a story that was important for people to hear. The doubts that came later, came from people around me and the fear starts settling then. But the biggest lesson I have learnt in my career is nobody knows anything. Everyone acts like they have this game figured out. But the matter of the fact is that the game is evolving with the audiences.

There was a time people told me not to do OTT as I won’t get films then. Today, the same people appreciate my work and tell their talents to choose some OTT shows over films. So, I believe in suno sabki, karo apni. (Listen to everyone, but do what is true to yourself). If I had listened to everyone, I would still be sitting at home jobless.”

Do you think having a mixed experience of American and Indian culture, helped you understand these characters well?

“Absolutely. I have grown alongside gay friends. I believe the more travelled you are, the more languages you speak and the more kind of personalities you surround yourself with, helps you understand people and characters more. For an actor to get a wide amount of experience, helps develop more compassion and empathy. As an actor, for me, empathy is the cornerstone of being an actor. So, growing up amidst two different cultures and two different income class has helped me approach my craft better.”

You had such a beautiful proposal for your now wife Anuja Joshi. You even travelled across the country for it. What prompted you to do that gesture?

“Anuja and I had been dating for 7 years by that point and I knew that she was ‘the one’. The pandemic was in full swing at the time and I thought that since I was sure, why should I wait. I told my parents that I wanted to propose to her and asked them why don’t we drive. The flights were operating very less at that time. So, I asked my parents and they were very enthusiastic for it. That is what led to that beautiful proposal. It wasn’t just my idea, it was the love and support I got from my family and her family as well. It was definitely a group effort.”

What does the future hold for Ankur Rathee? Is working in the West on the cards too?

“Yes, for sure. I have a few things lined up that I can’t yet speak about. But I recently got management in the US as well. My manager also manages the Oscar winner Viola Davis. So, I am in good hands. I expect to work there, as well as here. The world has gotten very small. It’s a very unconventional profession, but I am embracing it.”

Also Read: ‘Thappad’ actor Ankur Rathee gets engaged to girlfriend Anuja Joshi; check out his pic of proposal