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‘The Forest’ Star Ankur Vikal: An Actor With an Edge

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Ankur Vikal (front left) is seen with Jaaved Jaffri, Nandana Sen and Salim Ali Zaidi in Ashvin Kumar’s “The Forest.”
  • MUMBAI, India

    Ankur Vikal, with films like “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Mango Souffle” and “Maqbool” to his credit, recently did a sequence with a leopard in his new film, “The Forest.” He was the only actor in the film to have actual scenes with the leopard that were not computer-generated. 

    The scenes were shot in Thailand and Ankur had to climb a tall tree fast to “escape” the animal, who was trained and named “Kali.” “Kali” would run with terrific speed and reach the tree before him. In one of the shots in which Ankur hurls himself down from the tree, the actor actually dislocated his shoulder. 

    Ankur is slated to do many international projects in South Africa, the U.S. and Sri Lanka, and is currently in South Africa itself shooting with Dhanush on his next film, “Mariiyaan,” in which he plays a character who works in the mines of Namibia. He is also planning his own production.

    Passing from M.S. University, Baroda with a degree in architecture, Ankur switched to the National School of Drama in his fourth year to become an actor. There, he met Naseeruddin Shah, who came as a guest lecturer, and he soon kick-started his career with Shah’s theater group Motley in the year 2000, where he has acted in many plays that are still running. He has acted in plays and films in English, Hindi, Telugu, Gujarati, Urdu and other regional languages. 

    “Ideally every role in a film should be integral, even the smallest ones. I would love to play saints and sinners, and everyone else in between. I would love to bring truth to any character,” the actor said in a statement.

    His experience with architecture has allowed him to design the sets and performance spaces for many plays in which he has acted. He has recorded ads, voiceovers of BBC plays, and several Disney animation films dubbed in Hindi.

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