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PR Yesterday: In praise of Ankita

sashashyam IF-Sizzlerz
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Posted: 08 August 2012 at 1:00am | IP Logged

Yes, folks, Ankita, not Archana.

I have watched Ankita as Archana from the inception of PR, with a break of only a few months from mid-2011 till the leap, and I have always liked her smile, her chicness, her talent for crying without the slightest distortion of her features (a gift to be prized above all else in the world of TV soaps) and  to make even heavy duty rona dhona look palatable, her ability to convey deep affection without becoming cloying,  and last of all, her being so easy on the eyes even without any support from the wardrobe manager for PR. I did not like her over the top hysterical scenes, especially of late, when she looked demented, screeching in high decibels and pointing a painted finger nail right to within a foot of the face of  the unfortunate whom she was scarifying.  

In all these months and years, however, I have never, before yesterday, felt like giving Ankita a standing ovation for  scene or a sequence. Probably this was because I am not really sentimental by nature, and the standard good beti, bahu, patni, maa routine does not get to me, no matter how competently performed. Nor do the vehement deluges of regret or anger or despair that are so frequent in her role as Archana; I always prefer subtlety that is not in your face. I admired her every now and then, for I know how tough heavy duty scenes must be to enact, but this was always admiration from the head, not the heart.

But it was different yesterday. When she had finished the scene with Arjun (and Purvi), and was crying her heart out in her mother's arms, I did stand up and give her that standing ovation, with 12 encores, as they do in the West End or Broadway. And this time, it was from the heart.

It was not just the weariness writ large on her face as she enters the Karanjkar residence, and spots Arjun, his hand in Purvi's as she looks down at him lovingly. Nor the way in which her expression shifts imperceptibly from being tired and wan to a tremulous, as yet  dawning happiness, as she asks Arjun how he is feeling and the young pair move apart in haste.

It was not even the gentle, affectionate  candour of her long monologue to Arjun, when she praises his qualities of head and heart unstintingly, in simple words that are nonetheless incredibly moving, and this without becoming maudlin, the occupational hazard in emotional scenes.

It was rather the unselfconscious humility with which she stops him from touching her feet and instead  begs his pardon -  her regret and her desire to make full amends are both so deep that there is no room there for any  ego, and this was reflected effortlessly in her face and her tired eyes.

It was the  little hiccup deep in her throat as she pulls Purvi to her and confesses that she had been totally wrong about Arjun. It was the  voice  in which she scolds Arjun for misjudging her, with the chiding just a flimsy cover for the overflowing affection she now feels for this young man, who has pushed himself to the limit and beyond to comply with her demands.

It was the  clear smile that lights up  her eyes,  and smoothes out the tired lines in her face,  as she asks Arjun if he is prepared to marry her daughter. She knows the answer, of course, she has known it for a long time now, and even now, as Arjun is speechless with the unexpectedness of this manna from Heaven, she sees the relief in  his face and is satisfied. When he finally finds his tongue and assures her that he will love Purvi more than he loves himself, and that he will never give them any cause for complaint, the way in which her face registers growing joy and contentment is a treat to behold.

But most of all, I loved the last scene, when Archana confesses to the truth that she has herself not faced up to till then: that her mother had been right, and that in her desperate need to gain the trust and affection of Teju and Ovi, she had, even without realising it, sidelined Purvi to some extent.  That it was because of the bitterness of her naakaam rishta (failed relationship) with Manav that she had lost faith in love itself, and had become sakht (hard)  in her dealings with Purvi and Arjun. When she tries to explain that she did not, however, feel that she had, at that time,  been wrong in trying to keep Purvi away from Arjun, her voice becomes totally suspended, and she cannot proceed. She waves her right hand in a helpless gesture that is more eloquent than any number of words could have been. She might not have had any happiness in her life, she says, with  a catch in her voice that is enormously touching, as some rishtas  did not succeed, but she was now happy in the happiness of Purvi and Arjun.

As she buries her face in her mother's shoulder, the tears, held back till then,  finally appear, and in abundance. But this time they are not, as often in the past, a hysterical  accompaniment to her outbursts, but a gentle, cleansing flow that lightens her heart of a by now unbearable burden, and lightens ours as well.

The praise and applause for this bravura performance should go not to the writers, for it was not the lines that were new or especially appealing,  but to the actress who made them seem so by the nuanced delicacy of her performance. Ankita deserved every one of those 13 curtain calls.

Arjun is, thanks to Archana, going back straightaway to being Arjun Kirloskar, which is a relief to me and the many others who had had more than enough of the Born Again garage hand. Hallelujah!

Enough said.  By way of a complete change of scene, let us take Balan and his Jhumri/Varsha,  landing up in the noise, jostling and general hectic activity of Mumbai. I seem to have been mistaken in the  nature of their relationship; I took it, perhaps naturally,  to be totally abusive and exploitative on his side, and full of forced submissiveness on hers. No, there is a definite sense of belonging together between them, which is fleetingly reminiscent of the 'old shoe love' between the characters played by Naseeruddin Shah and Lillette Dubey in Mira Nair's much feted Monsoon Wedding. It comes out most clearly when he is scolding her for standing around and getting jostled, and laments aloud, when she insists on being taken to see her Lalla at once,  that he did not know what he had done to be burdened with this balaa (infliction) nor when he would be rid of her! They then proceed completely amicably out of the station, where he surprised me by trying to get the cheapest ride possible to his destination in the Chandi Bazaar.  Old habits die hard, it seems, despite all the crores made for him by Vishnu!

The precap has a chilling shot in the police lockup, of Godfathers Sr. and Jr., both staring balefully at Manav's back as he stands there talking to Inspector Sameer Rane. The venomous hostility in Vishnu's drawn features mirrors and amplifies the rage in his baba's, as Balan swears vengeance on Manav, and Varsha's face is a study in frozen panic. The drama is now picking up speed, folks.

Shyamala B.Cowsik

NB: I felt strongly about Ankita's tour de force  of a performance, and I wanted to share it with you all. I am sorry for being 12 hours late with this, but I cannot manage late night posts these days, and in any case the forum was yesterday almost totally pre-occupied, and not with this episode! So perhaps it will not matter after all.

Lastly, as I noted in an earlier comment, Arjun's recovery from 2 bullet wounds (of unclear location) is so swift as to raise the suspicion that he had somehow got hold of the sanjeevani  herb with which Hanuman brought the stricken Lakshmana back to life. There is of course the other option of  water from the Holy Grail, which heals all wounds, as so dramatically shown with Indiana's father in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. However, I always prefer our homegrown stuff, so the sanjeevani  it shall be.

Further, Arjun has not only managed without any pyjamas, but he is in the same outfit as when he was put to bed, so it is all just a matter of a day, it seems.  So complete is his miraculous recovery (though he does try for some degree of versimilitude by getting up with difficulty and wincing periodically) that he actually hobbles off immediately to the mandir with Purvi to fulfil her mannat!  It is too much, even for PR!!!



Edited by sashashyam - 09 August 2012 at 1:40am

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Posted: 08 August 2012 at 2:33am | IP Logged
Thanks for putting this wonderfully...precisely my thoughts...
If it hadn't been Ankita for Archana, I wouldn't have felt so...
The feelings of dejection, disbelief in love...a dawn amidst dark for purvi, that she found the best for her in face of Arjun...was portrayed so well...
And the end when she confessed her feelings was how we all talk to our aai when we are all broken and want someone to listen us...and cuddled her and purvi both...
Portraying a mother's and daughters role at the same time...that too so convincingly...
There's no point of a whole family hating you, than just two people in your world who loves you and care for you wholeheartedly...

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Posted: 08 August 2012 at 2:53am | IP Logged
Thank you for such an honest post.It is sometimes hard for people to word their appreciation for people but you have done so beautifully,complying to where and when it was needed.
 
I have always believed that Ankita is a brilliant actress.It is amazing that she gives me so many reasons, as time goes by to be proud to call myself her admirer.Of her and her work.If anybody has seen Pavitra Rishta since the beginning, they would know how much Ankita has transformed as an actress.She has grown bolder, more confident and has polished her art and as a result giving us amazing performances through out the course of this drama.Her accomplishments are all the more applaudable, given the fact that the source material of the show hasn't changed much.She has to cry and despair in almost all scenes...however she has shown range within the limited frame with just a change of expression, body language, dialogue delivery etc.She learnt alot from Sushant as well but she has improved so much, even after he left the show.Now I pray that she get's work and help her to increase her range of acting and I am sure she will excel in that as well.She deserves the best of the best.Just wanted to add that it doesn't hurt that she is a stunning beauty and she has some a different personality.She couldn't be more different from her character in the show but she makes us believe that she is Archana.She makes ud believe her anguish, her pain, her loss and her love as well.God bless her with all the kindness she deserves and much more.Thank you.

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Posted: 08 August 2012 at 7:24am | IP Logged

Beautiful 'beautiful' write-up on Ankita Shymalaji'.I would like to call it write up on mom Archana as well'

Being a new mom'learning new things everyday, yesterday my heart as a mom poured tears n tears watching the mom Archana'.no words to describe her acting, her radiance even while crying'she was poised and ufff'.so many tender feelings all at once. Starting from her hairstyle, saree, pallu, her tired eyes, her face everything was perfect to the T.

The 'giving away' of the bride moment was just beautiful'but unfortunately the day we were all looking forward to sooo much was marred by the sad news early morning. Or else our mood, forum mood would have been all filled with celebration!

The BEST BEST part I liked yesterday was when Archana opened her arms to hug Purvi sooo lovingly'she has so much love to give and unfortunaltey Ovi and Teju are pushing it away L And who can understand her love more than Manav, and he himself is not letting that happen. But don't want spoil my mood now writing about them'I better linger in the thoughts of Archana-Purvi and Archana-Sulochana and make atleast today better than yesterday.

 

Thanks so much for writing about yesterday's episode, the much awaited episode was lost in yesterday's sad news.



Edited by smilegirl - 08 August 2012 at 7:24am

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Posted: 08 August 2012 at 7:24am | IP Logged
Superb reflection of many of our feelings regarding Ms Lakhande! 
I was attracted to PR only because of her. She must be  a tremendously sentient human being to be able to act so movingly in a difficult role. God bless her. And thanks to Shyamala for being a spokeswoman for those of us who lack the gift of 'lucidity and simplicity' (S. Maugham) in our writing and verbal utterances.

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Posted: 08 August 2012 at 7:30am | IP Logged
Originally posted by parameswaran

Superb reflection of many of our feelings regarding Ms Lakhande! 
I was attracted to PR only because of her. She must be  a tremendously sentient human being to be able to act so movingly in a difficult role. God bless her. And thanks to Shyamala for being a spokeswoman for those of us who lack the gift of 'lucidity and simplicity' (S. Maugham) in our writing and verbal utterances.
Absolutely agree with you! I felt all those feelings that Shymalaji wrote but can never write them all up like she does! I also kept my fingers crossed hoping she would write something about yesterday's episode...n lo n behold my eyes lit up early morning  looking at the write up :)

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Posted: 08 August 2012 at 8:16am | IP Logged
Shyamala,
You are absolutely right.. This was the first time since I have been watching PR-2, that I totally liked Ankita's acting (ARVI part). She still burst into her crying jag at the D-house..But, let us not go into that.
She was the epitome of Purvi's mother, yesterday. Her love for her child, Purvi, her helplessness about causing unhappiness to the other side of the family, was so well protrayed by Ankita..
I especially loved the way she told Arjun that he was wrong about her... "Mian waise nahin hoon..."..It was very touching... It showed Archana's despair about how misunderstood she is by everyone, not going into whose fault it is, but the way the situation is as such... All of her dialogues with Arjun were very well written too, but Ankita used them and portrayed them so well, i was very impressed yesterday. Her tender daant to Arjun about hiding the 10k news from her, her loving smile at Purvi when she hugs her, the look she gives Arjun while hugging Purvi and says to "tumhara Arjun acha ladka hain", and her apologizing to Arjun for doing this to him... were just awesome.
I never was a fan of her constant tears, high pitched melodrama, always thought was OTT, but have always liked her restrained acting...like the way she watches Arjun paying in the hospital, watches him walk away silently, watches Purvi's anguish when they are waiting for Arjun...She is very good at that... She can speak volumes with just an expression and her eyes. I dont know why she doesnt stick to this style of acting much. I wish she did.
But, I am probably in a minority as high drama and OTT acting is what is needed in day time dramas and people watch it for that. 
 
One other thing about Archana, in particular, liked the fact that she recognized the fact, that maybe because of her experiences, she was a little too strict with ARVI, a little negligent of Purvi's feelings...was very well done by Ankita... In the end, you could feel her pain at her failed rishta...which she acknowledges in her mother's arms...
 
For yesterday's performance with Arjun...this is for Ankita Clap..
 
Arjun did a great job too... saw the tears rolling down his cheeks.. he showed how much he was touched by Archana's words...and the way he promised about Purvi..as always..awesome..Embarrassed..
For once, I wont go into raptures about Arjun Purvi..
 
Because the day went to Archana - Ankita totally...
 

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Posted: 08 August 2012 at 8:26am | IP Logged
Dear Shyamala Aunty,

You deserve a round of applause for this brilliant piece. Clap Clap Clap

I really was able to connect with Ankita yesterday. Her acting was en pointe and was beautifully choreographed to showcase her natural talents. 

I loved that she addressed all our outstanding concerns with regards to the tests, her conditions and even her lack of compassion for Purvi during her time of need. 

Will be back with more later.

Much luv - Laurie

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