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South Asian actor takes Manhattan!

Ankur Bhatia brings the consummate, sophisticated New York laid back look to life.

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As South Asian actors like Dev Patel, Freida Pinto and Archie Panjabi captivate the imagination of Hollywood directors and producers, Ankur Bhatia steps onto the American scene. Having moved to New York to pursue a master's degree in Mathematics and Finance, Bhatia worked as an actuary for a well known accounting firm before realizing he wanted to go into showbiz.

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Having just won the Best Actor Commendation Award at the NYU First Run Film Festival for the movie Coconut Grove, playing a funny, street-smart waiter, he's set to sign bigger roles.

SquareKey.com catches up with the actor, in between auditions and photo shoots in Manhattan.

SquareKey: What's the most interesting work you have done, something you really enjoyed working on?

Ankur: I really loved working for Payal Sethi's Grant St. Shaving Co. The day I auditioned for this part, Bunty, who is an Indian pick-up van driver in the movie, I knew I would enjoy playing him. However the audition was in English and I did not feel the lines so my audition didn't go well at all, and I knew I won't get the part. While walking out, I just requested to read it once again but in Hindi, and they agreed. That was it; I nailed it as I could feel the character and was in the moment. It's all about being in the moment. It was also a great learning experience for me; I came to realize how important it is to understand a character, and live that character.

SquareKey: Describe your personal style. How has it changed since you moved to New York?

Ankur: I usually stick to clothes that are comfortable. For me, black top and good blue jeans does it most of the time! Before moving to Manhattan, I used to live in Connecticut, where I went to graduate school. At that time I used to mostly shop from Gap and Abercrombie. I used to wear two sizes larger than mine. I loved looking bigger than my actual size and that was kind of my style. But when I moved to Manhattan, I saw people wearing sleek fitted clothes and it looked stylish and appealing. So gradually I started changing my style, started buying shirts and jackets from Zara and Hugo Boss. I tend to like European styles, as it complements my body type, is fitted and makes me feel great. I believe though, that what you wear, you should be comfortable and free with, and at the same time have your own style statement. I also love wearing leather boots!

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SquareKey: Where do you shop?

Ankur: If it's casual I buy mostly from Diesel, Armani Exchange. For jackets and shirts I prefer Zara, Hugo Boss. For jeans, its True Religion or Diesel. For belts and shoes, its Gucci and Ferragamo.

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SquareKey: What are your hopes for your career? Is it easier being South Asian today and working in film and TV given how well some of your counterparts are doing today?

Ankur: Well, hopes are always high! I believe in any career you choose, there is certain time and effort you have to invest before you can see the results. For me I have focused on doing independent films with great subjects and interesting characters. It has given me the opportunity to experiment with my characters, learn new tactics while overcoming some of the weaknesses. This has also helped me showcase my work in different film festivals worldwide. I have evolved as an actor and so I am very confident of my work. It is not easy for anyone, be it South Asian or any other ethnicity. It's just that sometimes it is harder for us to fit as most of the leading characters sketched in TV and films are non-Indians. It's like a non-South Asian looking for work in Indian film industry. But having said that, there are now a lot more Indian characters in TV and films here, and it is emerging. Ultimately some of it depends on luck. If you are in the right place at the right time with the right skills, you are golden.

 

Square Key Editorial Team.

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