There's a lot of me in Lajwanti' says debutante Ankita Sharma
Lajwanti, the new show on Zee TV, has a periodic setup and revolves around the era of partition between India and Pakistan. It is a story set against the backdrop of the largest mass immigration in the history of mankind, the India-Pakistan partition.
The story goes like this. Lajwanti is a bright-eyed, courageous village girl with an indomitable spirit, who always stands up for the truth and is forever hopeful that even in the most turbulent times, it’s her love that will help her stay afloat. Initially reluctant to marry a city boy, she falls deeply and madly in love with Sunderlal, one of the few privileged young men of Badami Baug. He is a deeply passionate lover, a man who feels he owns his woman. Raised to believe that a woman’s first and foremost duty is towards her man, Lajwanti tolerates Suderlal’s temper and rushes into his arms at the first sign of truce from him. The show explores what happens to this tempestuous relationship in the face of the partition and twist of circumstances that questions the sanctity of their relationship and tests each of them on their love.
Debutante Ankita Sharma who plays the lead role of Lajwanti says, “I was auditioning for various shows in Chandigarh. I must say that not all auditions that happen in Chandigarh are genuine ones but my mom encouraged me to go and take this particular audition. I gave my best shot and thereafter I was called to Mumbai for a look test. After getting through 2-3 look tests with the costumes, I was selected. Now when I recollect, it seems so gradual but trust me, every moment back then felt like an anxiety attack as I loved the role and I wanted to play ‘Lajjo’ as the character resonates with me. I have studied engineering and I am a classical dancer by profession. I have done many classical shows and have also shot for a short film that was nominated in the Toronto Film Festival. That is when I started looking out for more roles. Lajwanti is a dream role and having bagged such an author-backed role is a great start to my acting career. I have gone to great lengths to get into the skin of the character and the first thing I did was to read the book written by the legendary writer Rajinder Singh Bedi Ji. I now find a lot of similarities between me and my on-screen character Lajjo. Sunderlal and Lajwanti are just made for each other as the two effortlessly slip into their roles of the domineering man and his hopelessly-in-love, doting wife. But their journey of love must survive one of the biggest upheavals of Indian history - The Partition. The production has managed to bring alive the partition era through meticulous research”.
On her equation with co-star and Producer Ila Bedi, she says, “Sid Makkar was finalized for his role before I was cast. I knew that he has done a lot of quality work before Lajwanti and that got me nervous as it is my debut and I have no prior experience. But he has been such an amazing co-star, friend, companion and most importantly, a mentor. Ila ma’am is like a mother figure to me. She has guided me when I needed it the most, helping me to bring out the right emotions and finer nuances during a lot of scenes. If I were to be honest, I could not have asked for a better debut and launch pad.
To give the show the touch of authenticity, the scenes have been shot in Kashmir and Punjab as well. Also many scenes have been shot in various locations around the border Patiala, Pehelgaum and Kashmir.
There are many emotional moments we witnessed in the show and sharing one of her memorable moment she adds, “It was Lajjo’s wedding day and her bua has always been a loving but tough lady. She’s been raised by her bua, bauji and her brother with a lot of love. On the wedding day, Bua advises Lajjo to be mature and take care of her new family. Lajjo listens to her obediently and towards the end of the conversation, she says, ‘Sab sikha diya aapne, aasu chupana bhi sikha do’. This is where bua breaks down and so does Lajjo. Ila broke down while explaining this scene to me and I didn’t need to use glycerine as I had tears rolling down eyes while performing the scene. It still gives me goosebumps!”