Come July 20th, &TV’s EkMahanayak Dr B.R. Ambedkar will move into a new phase with Atharva roped in to play young ‘Bhimrao Ambedkar’. Nayisadi, nayashehar, nayavichaar, par bhedabhauasamaanata ka nahichutahaisaath. Bhimrao karengeasaamantakekhilafsangharshkishuruaat, kyaaapissnyaykiladaimeindenge Bhimrao ka saath? In conversation with Atharva, who talks about this big opportunity to portray a great leader and a character as inspiring as Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, the preparation for the role and much more.
- You will be portraying the role of Dr B.R. Ambedkar. How did you bag this role? How does it feel?
It is an honour to be chosen to play a character as inspiring as Dr B.R. Ambedkar. I always wanted to essay Babasaheb’s character on screen, and it is a dream come true for me. His life and legacy have been a source of inspiration for many. A great leader, thinker, social reformer and most importantly, the founding father of the Constitution of India, Dr B.R. Ambedkar was a leader par excellence whose legacy is unparalleled. Portraying a character of this stature is a big responsibility, and it is a big moment for me. Dr Ambedkar’s books and works have deeply inspired me. I have grown up reading a lot about him. I never thought that I would get an opportunity to be a part of a show and play Dr Ambedkar himself one day. I went through multiple rounds of auditions and the look test before finalised for the role. It is no doubt a big and proud moment for me.
- How much do you know about the show EkMahanayak Dr B.R. Ambedkar?
&TV’s EkMahanayak Dr B.R. Ambedkar is a never-told-before life story in the Hindi GEC space of this extraordinary personality, crusading spirit and how he became the precursor of united India. Produced by SmrutiSushilkumar Shinde’s SOBO Films, the show is an inspirational story of Babasaheb and his journey from the age of five to becoming the prime architect of the Indian constitution. With its disruptive and compelling storyline and talented cast, the show has rapidly climbed the popularity charts to become the audience’s favourite show in a short time. My family and friends follow the show ardently. And the moment they got to know that I have been selected to portray the role of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, they were on cloud nine and very proud, just like me. I had been watching the show regularly and had never imagined that I would be essaying the lead role in it one day.
- Portraying a legendary leader or a personality has its pros and cons. Your comments?
Firstly, it is an honour and a momentous moment to play the role of young Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar. Essaying a character that has inspired so many people’s lives and is such an inspiring personality is a once in a lifetime opportunity. However, when one portrays a legendary character or a prolific personality of this stature, there are always comparisons drawn to the real person. Be it their look, mannerisms, persona, dialect, and overall depiction. Every minutest detail is taken into account. Apart from these, knowledge and research are of utmost importance. It is imperative to read, observe, understand, and absorb everything about the personality. Your every step is under the watchful eyes of the viewers.
- What preparations did you make to get into the role of Dr Bhimrao?
To understand the life journey of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar and to be able to do justice to the character, I have done thorough research. From reading various articles printed about Babasaheb’s practices to referring to biographies written by the various authors, I read up and grasped complete information on him, especially his teachings. We also have an eminent researcher on board who has been prepping me a lot about Dr B.R. Ambedkar. Besides reading, I am also watching various documentaries made on him in my spare time to understand the flow of emotions that I need to portray.
- Are there any daunting challenges you had to deal with while preparing for the role? Is there any fear or preconceived notions that come from playing such a legendary character?
Every role comes with its own set of challenges. And it all the more challenging when essaying a well-known and legendary personality. It is upon the actor to turn these challenges into opportunities. During the audition itself, I realised that amount of hard work, commitment, and study is crucial to get the right nuances of the character. I could feel the power and attentiveness it demanded. It is a big responsibility to enact and do justice, create that aura and connect with the audience. Every step will be watched minutely. Hence, research and understanding his life and history is imperative. The production team, along with the researcher, has been guiding me through the process. We have an extensive workshop planned to prep for the role.
- How much do you know about Babasaheb and his contribution to the nation and the community?
Babasaheb is one of the most prominent voices in Indian history. Be it his fight for equality, women empowerment, his involvement in the reformation of education, or the oppressed’s upliftment. He has positively impacted the lives of all Indians, making him the leader of the greatest times. His ability to challenge and mobilise a revolution that redefined democracy for the Indian soil made him an inspiration to millions of Indians. While everyone recognises his contributions and achievements, only a few know about his life story, and the show highlights this very aspect.
- Are you aware of Dr Ambedkar’s journey and his challenges during his growing up years?
Dr Ambedkar’s journey is carefully documented in many scholarly speeches, videos, and research books, a man who has etched a prominent place in millions of Indian hearts. He always stood up for what he believed in, from fighting the challenges of caste discrimination to equality in education. He used his education as an important tool to change his life and the lives of others around him and his community.
- We all have grown up reading about Dr Ambedkar. Any particular teachings of Ambedkar that have inspired you?
The caste divide has been shadowing us for years, but I strongly believe we have come a long way ever since. Dr B.R. Ambedkar laid the foundation of a unified India by bringing millions of Indians under the ambit of one nation and one constitution. His teachings and philosophy still resonate with the Indians across the country, even today.