Ankita Lokhande: I Haven’t Done Anything Wrong With Sushant Singh Rajput | Exclusive Interview

Actor Ankita Lokhande is back to play Archana on-screen, a character that made her who she is today. The actor says that she always believed in her role and waited for years to become Archana again. In an exclusive interview with india.com, Ankita talks about her love for Pavitra Rishta 2.0, her chemistry with Shaheer Sheikh, the trolling she received after Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, and how there’s a part of Archana that will always remain inside her no matter how many other characters she plays in the future. Excerpts:

You got to relive Archana, probably one of the closest things to your heart – do you feel lucky?

I feel very lucky… somewhere I always used to talk to God about this ‘if given a chance, where would I want to see myself’ and I used to say that I want to relive those six years of my life. I have loved Pavitra Rishta so much with my heart and soul. I just wanted that one opportunity to go back to those days and God gave me that. I feel I am a blessed child. I got those moments to live again. It’s something else… I was glowing while shooting for it again. I have never seen any actor portraying the same character after 12 years – I am just fortunate.

Archana was already there. She didn’t leave me. We are just so attached to each other that I am here again promoting Pavitra Rishta as Archana again. I have loved Pavitra Rishta like how! I was sue that Pavitra Rishta will never ditch me for anything because I have given it my all. It will never go wrong for me.

Your chemistry is a winner, whether with Sushant or Shaheer. What do you tell yourself before doing any romantic scene? Is there anything that helps you build that kind of connection with your male counterpart?

Sushant always used to tell me that ‘I’ll even romance a tree if that’s what is required’ and I have learned that from him. But here, I was romancing Shaheer. He is a good-looking guy. With him, it was very organic. We just recreated Archana and Manav because we felt like them. Archana and Manav are ‘love’. They are an emotion. People want to have that kind of chemistry. I used to see Manav in Shaheer. It was very natural and it was good.

Were there jitters or goosebumps before you went on the sets to reprise your character?

Of course, I was apprehensive before starting Pavitra Rishta 2.0. You can play different characters but when you are playing Archana, you have to bring back that innocence, simplicity, connection with the audience, and the way she talks from her eyes. I used to wonder if I’ll be able to deliver all these things. When you are on the set and you are performing, you don’t realise a lot but when I watched the show, I was able to see Archana. I never wanted the audience to see Ankita, and that’s what happened. I have cried myself while looking at Archana and Manav in the show. It’s important for actors to love and to feel the characters they are playing. Only then you will be able to deliver that to the audience and it goes directly to the heart.

You seem like an emotional person. You have spoken about how you couldn’t resist tears when you started shooting for Pavitra Rishta 2.0. Do you sometimes think like ‘Why do I get attached to things and people so much?’.

That’s my beauty I think. It’s rare for people to be emotional these days. People want to celebrate, share their happiness and even their problems. I think I am that person with whom people want to share their issues. I don’t want to miss out on that. However, I think it’s really not good for my own self and for the sake of my mental health to be so attached to things. Honestly, I had stopped watching Pavitra Rishta when it got over because I couldn’t just go back to that zone and feel like Archana. It was very emotional. The more you face your emotions, the stronger you become. I never run away from emotions though.

Do you think it’s high time for Archana in Pavitra Rishta to speak for herself and shed her coy image? 

I understand that. Archana is a very simple woman. She has been speaking for herself but she is not rebellious. She is slow in realising her feelings and she gradually understands what she wants for herself. Every woman is not the same. We all are different. I, myself, am not rebellious. I will never do that. If something is going wrong, I’ll take my time to understand the situation and then react. Each person reacts to situations differently. Archana takes her time but when she realises the care and support from Manav, she says ‘now I am done.’ She thinks that she has given all her life to others all this while and now, there is someone who loves her more than herself and she wants him now. That’s the beauty of the show. She’s working in a cafe this time. I think that’s a big difference. She, in fact, goes to the man Varsha is dating and asks her to back off. She speaks there. I see a lot of Ankita there, honestly.

How does your fiance, Vicky, react to the trolling and hatred you receive on social media?

He is not on social media anymore. There was an account where only my photos kept getting uploaded. But, even that’s not there now. The reason is that he also received a lot of criticism on social media when Sushant left. We both are okay with people commenting or saying bad things about us. We are not answerable to people. We have a separate life of our own and we are happy there. The kind of personalities I and he has, what people are thinking about us doesn’t affect us. We are not worried. Social media is not our life.

Sometimes, he tells me ‘mat dalo meri video’ but I want to put something sometimes. If people choose to troll us there, it’s their call and their wish. I will not judge them the way they judge me. People who are fighting for Sushant start talking bad about me, I am okay with that also. They have their emotions for Sushant but they have to understand that I have not done anything wrong to him. I have been there for him. I don’t know how to explain it. Maybe they will understand one day what he meant to me and what I have been for him. Until then, I see trolling and I choose to ignore it. I don’t go on social media and check what people are talking about me.