When it comes to Bollywood, Vaibhav Tatwawaadi seems to have a special connection with historical dramas. After starring in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani, the actor will next be seen in Kangana Ranaut’s Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi. Does he consciously choose to do this type of films or is it just coincidence? “I won’t do a film just for the sake of doing it. I am open to work in any genre but I should get emotionally attached to the story. I need to feel for the character I am playing. Manikarnika... is a gripping story. ” he says, admitting that his stint in it is certainly not a coincidence.
He adds, “I did Lipstick Under My Burkha which had an ensemble cast. People were skeptical about whether I should do the film but my role was highly appreciated.”
Vaibhav plays the role of Puran Singh in Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, who was a soldier in Rani Laxmibai’s army. “It’s an important role because he has fought several battles for her. He was in love with Jhalkari Bai (played by Ankita Lokhande), who was also a warrior,” says Vaibhav. Ankita makes her debut with this film.
Known for films like Coffee Ani Barach Kahi, Shortcut, Cheater, Bhetali Tu Punha among others, Vaibhav says that the shooting for Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi has already started and his preparations are in full swing. “I have started training in sword fighting which is quite challenging. I had never done horse riding before, so right now we are doing the rehearsals and simultaneously we are shooting for the film. I am learning a lot of new things. Considering it is a period drama, the dialogues are different too,” says the actor who has been training under Hollywood stunt director Nick Powell (known for films like The Last Samurai and Gladiator).
The first schedule of the shoot was recently wrapped up in Hyderabad and Jodhpur last month. Ask him about the Pavitra Rishta actress he is paired with and Vaibhav says that they sort of know each other. “Ankita and I have lot of common friends. We are aware about each other’s respective work, which helped break the ice. We are also from Maratha background, so that was also the common thread,” he says.
Baahubali raised the benchmark when it comes to fantasy and historical films. So is there a certain kind of nervousness among the team — whether they will live up to the expectations of the audience? “There is no denying that Baahubali has raised the bar but technically we are at par. The important factor is that we need to tell a story in a certain way, which we are doing,” he says before signing off.