Special: Actor Sharvari Wagh on playing Maya in The Forgotten Army and Sunny Kaushal
Fragile yet strong, that’s how you’d describe 23-year-old Sharvari Wagh, who debuted in Kabir Khan’s mini-series, The Forgotten Army - Azaadi Ke Liye, which released on Amazon Prime on January 24. Starring Sunny Kaushal and Rohit Choudhary besides Sharvari, the series traces the rise of the Indian National Army — founded by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to liberate India from British rule, and its struggle from the perspective of its foot soldiers.
A part of the Rani of Jhansi Regiment of the INA in the series, Sharvari essays the role of Maya with great conviction. She will now be debuting on the big screen with Bunty Aur Babli 2. We sat down with the actor for a chat during her recent visit to the city. Excerpts:
How was it to reprise the role of Maya, who fights alongside her male comrades for Independence?
It’s very humbling to get such an offer at the very beginning of my career. When I started reading about the Rani of Jhansi Regiment, I felt sad that not many of us know that such a female combat regiment existed in pre-Independent India. It was the first and last of its kind. But, it has not received its due worth in history, and was never taught at school.
How did you prepare for such a combative role?
I trained rigorously, and did a lot of strength and endurance training, besides learning how to handle a rifle, and do march past. It was all over a period of one or two weeks. The best part was, just like in the INA, we girls and boys all got trained on the same grounds together.
Since when have you wanted to be an actor?
When I won the Clean and Clear Fresh Face contest while in college, I was offered an ad that I enjoyed being a part of, despite having zero knowledge about camera angles. It was then that I decided to give acting a try. I did a nine-month course at Jeff Goldberg’s Studio, besides weekend theatre workshops.
With no connections in Bollywood, how difficult has the journey been?
I have been auditioning since 2014, and it has taken me five years to reach where I am now. But I have no grudges, since there are many, who I am sure, have struggled more or are still struggling.
Is there anyone whose acting you like?
Alia Bhatt is my most favourite, since she has so much honesty in her eyes, in all her performances.
Tell us, are you seeing Sunny Kaushal?
Not at all (laughs)! We crack up every time people write about it. I just messaged him saying that three people here have already asked me this. You are the fourth one now. I met him at the audition of The Forgotten Army for the first time, and we have become great friends.
Fashion & fitness
‘I do pilates with Yasmin to keep fit. There are no sugar and dairy products in my diet, since I have PCOS. My comfort food is pani puri. When it comes to formal occasions, I am all dressed up, but left to myself, I wear simple casual dresses, denim and sweatshirts. I don’t like wearing heels, so, if you catch me in them, you can be sure I’ve been styled.’