Actors Priyanka and Ankush pair up opposite each other for the first time in Kurban

Set in a rural backdrop, the film sees Ankush playing a complicated character called Hasan, and Priyanka his innocent wife, Hijol
Priyanka and Ankush
Priyanka and Ankush

They have worked together in many films but never quite as a pair. Talented actors Priyanka Sarkar and Ankush Hazra are cast as a couple for the very first time in debutant director Saibal Mukherjee's film Kurban, which is set for November 24 release. Set in a rural backdrop, the film sees Ankush playing a complicated character called Hasan and through his life's trials and tribulations, the filmmaker underscores the ebbs and flows of human life. Priyanka plays his innocent wife, Hijol, who is bold, and assertive and doesn't hesitate to ask for what's rightfully hers. The plot captivated us, and we had a fun-filled chat with the duo about the same and more.

What made you say yes to Kurban?

Priyanka: As professionals, we have to do different works in different mediums but very rarely do we get such roles which we genuinely enjoy playing from the heart, and Kurban is one such project. As artistes, it’s also our responsibility to document our society, and I feel it’s a very imp project that tries to showcase a relevant social issue through a fresh narrative. I saw a lot of potential to perform and had a feeling that the filmmaker, Saibal, could bring it to life the way he perceived it.

Ankush: It’s very rarely that such intense and sensitive subjects come our way where we feel there’s a scope to do something new either with the characters or with the looks. There may be stories that are interesting but not often do we get chances to work around the characters. In this film, I thought I could bring in some difference in my looks through experiments which will match the depths of my character, Hasan, and his story. The background and ambience of the film gave a lot of scope to work around the character’s looks and costumes.

<em>Priyanka and Ankush</em>
Priyanka and Ankush

Tell us a little about the characters?

Priyanka: I play Hijol, a Muslim girl who isn’t exposed to the external world and her life revolves around her family comprising her son and husband. But she is very strong and is not hesitant to express her demands and knows what she wants and doesn't want and can state that emphatically. My role had a lot of scope to break myself as an actor and build the character from scratch. I also had to pick up the body language and diction of a rural Muslim housewife and also, Hijol has some moments with her husband Hasan. Hasan is an intense, sensitive and reticent man who can’t be bothered about things around him. To live with such a person is very challenging and I had to bring out those emotions in Hijol.

Ankush: I play Hasan, and as Priyanka says, he is always very aloof from her, though he performs all the duties of a husband. There are some scenes that are so intense that they drained me as an actor. Also, Priyanka has done a splendid job as Hijol. To play a woman who literally pleads with her husband for a physical relationship and yet does not look vulgar, is no mean feat and Priaynka excelled in that.

You both are part of superhit web series like Shikarpur and Chotolok. Has the OTT world been a game-changer for actors, you feel?

Ankush: Of course, and why only us? There are many actors all over the world who are also called superstars now, thanks to OTT content. At times, their project budget is way higher than many a commercial theatre release. Also, for some weird politics many of the actors who were prevented from getting work, are doing great jobs with increased opportunities.

Priyanka 
Priyanka 

Priyanka: It’s a wonderful thing and I feel there’s no way now that you can be lackadaisical or casual about your performance since the audience has quality global content on their fingertip. You can’t do shoddy work and get away with the same.

How much have you grown as actors over the years?

Priyanka: We always feel we give our 100 per cent but I feel it should go beyond our performance in front of the camera and begin right from the time of script reading so that we can get involved as a team to enhance the content even more.

Ankush: I feel your 100 per cent might not be enough for the audience since that’s unquantifiable. I feel acting cannot be taught, you either have it or you don’t. Also, patience is important besides your luck in getting the right opportunities. 

<em>Ankush</em>
Ankush

What are your coping mechanisms?

Ankush: I feel I am very lucky to have reached so far from a small town like Burdwan. It has been a long and gratifying journey and I feel like a newcomer even to this day. I was a nobody whom people accepted and adored as an actor and I wish to continue entertaining the audience with good stories.

Priyanka: I agree with Ankush. I also have no one and I feel I have done a brilliant job so far and I try to stay humble and grounded always.

Upcoming projects?

Priyanka: I have an upcoming series called Lojja.

Ankush: I will start shooting for Mirza from November end.

Pictures by Pritam Sarkar

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