Indian-American actor Ankur Rathee, who stood out as office intern Arjun Nair in Four more shots please!, has an infectious sense of candor about him. The young artist, who also starred in Taish, the Tashkent files and Thappad, rocked his role as Daman, in the fascinating series Undekhi and has now impressed everyone with his role as unscrupulous builder Arvind Mekha in City of Dreams 2. We talk to the actor about his work as he finishes filming Undekhi season 2.
You were awesome as Arjun Mehka in The city of Dreams.
It’s a challenge to play a character that audiences are supposed to despise at first, but end up sympathizing with. No matter how inhumane a character’s actions seem, it’s our job as actors to find the humanity within them. In Arvind’s case, however, there were plenty of scenes in which this proved difficult to do given his obnoxious nature. However, in the face of unexpected love, it’s amazing the transformations people go through.
How did it go with Nagesh Kukunoor?
It is a gem, kind and understanding of the creative processes of its actors. His set resembles an idea factory, bubbling with new twists inspired by intuitive impulse or creative thought.
You just filmed for Undekhi 2. How will Daman’s character evolve? Will he always be on the defensive towards his family and his father?
This is the eternal conflict that the Indian son grapples with – loyalty to the family versus loyalty to the spouse. Who has the most rights over Daman? Papaji or Teji? Can a son really turn his back on his blood without blaming his partner? Can he side with his wife without alienating his family? Or perhaps the biggest concern: What about his voice and his belief system? His desires and desires?
What kind of roles are you looking for?
There is a wacky side to my personality that most of my scripts haven’t used yet. I think I would like to be part of the comedy genre then.
Dream Bollywood directors you want to play for?
I work for one now actually. I can’t say who, but it’s going to be a very ‘Bollywood’ movie, with a capital B. I look forward.
Actresses with whom you would like to work?
Alia Bhatt and Anushka Sharma.
I can’t take names, but I have shows coming up for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Voot. I also have three films in preparation at the moment.
Your fashion choices?
I like to dress up, like the nine yards – tuxedo, bow tie, dress shoes, etc. But Mumbai’s social scene is unfortunately mostly geared towards clothing. There seems to be an unspoken correlation between being popular and dressing casually at events.
The things you always wear?
My self-esteem and my conversations with God