Ankur Vikal : An actor who faced the Leopard!
Ankur Vikal, an actor well-known for his versatile roles in films like Slumdog Millionaire, Mango Souffle, Maqbool, and Missed Call, recently had a one-to-one scene with the Leopard in his upcoming film THE FOREST. He was the only actor in the film who had actual scenes with the Leopard that were not Computer Graphics. The actor had a tough time shooting his scenes with the Leopard in Thailand - he had to scale a tree which was very high, and after a lot of practice, it took him too much effort to climb fast. Each time he climbed up assuming that he was fast, the Leopard, named "Kali," would run up effortlessly like lighting, proving to be much faster than him. In one take while he was hurling himself from the tree as the Leopard reached him, he dislocated his shoulder. Ankur elaborates, “The Forest is a tightly structured, racy thriller with an ecological message about animal poaching. What I like about the film is that the animal rights message is contained, rather than being in your face. I find this technique more powerful than films that push the message or issue on the audience, and focus little on story or character." With this film, Ankur hopes to do many such message-oriented movies. Way to go! In 2012 and 2013, he will be acting in many international projects in South Africa (May), America, and Sri Lanka.
Ankur is currently shooting in South Africa with Dhanush on his next film "Mariiyaan" that is a multi-lingual picture, in which he plays a character who works in the mines of Namibia.
Ankur is also planning to produce an interesting film under his own banner "Gunda Films."
Ankur Vikal’s Journey:
An actor who hails from M.S. University Baroda with a degree of Architecture switched to NSD in his fourth year to become an actor. And at NSD you are bound to meet teachers who eventually leave impressions in your life, and Ankur met Naseeruddin Shah who came as a guest lecture and kick started his career with Naseer’s theatre group Motley in the year 2000, where he has acted in many plays that are still running. The plays have travelled all over India and abroad. He has acted in plays and films in English, Hindi, Telegu, Gujarati, Urdu, and other regional dialects. Ankur says, “Naseer sir is an institution of acting by himself and as an actor I learnt the art of Riyaaz and Self-Awareness from him."
Ankur is moving ahead with his successive characters that he has played in many films, and all of his films have received critical appreciation from all parts of the globe. Ankur sets himself apart from other actors with his versatility and by picking up challenging and meaty roles. His films have gone to Cannes Film Festival (Missed Call), the Oscars (Slumdog), and many films (Maqbool, Mango Souffle, Striker) have been highly critically acclaimed films out of India and traveled to many films festivals worldwide. On asking him about what kind of characters he prefers to play he replies, "I'm looking to play characters who are integral to the script and are not there just for exposition. Ideally every role in a film should be integral, even the smallest ones. I would love to play saints and sinners, and everyone else in between. I would love to bring truth to any character."
As Ankur has studied architecture from M.S. University in Baroda, he still designs sets for many plays and also designs performance spaces as a hobby to be built someday. He has recorded voiceovers of BBC Plays and several Disney animation films dubbed in Hindi, as well as ads.
2002: Mango Souffle
2005: Missed Call
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2011: Blemished Light
2011: Bulb Hila
2012: The Forest
Manto Ismat Haazir Hain
Safed Jhooth Kaali Shalwar
Katha Kollage II
The Caine Mutiny Court Martial