American-born actor and musician Alexx O’Nell says he had to learn and recite sanskrit shlokas in his upcoming web show “Aarya”.
“Having previously learned to read and write Devanagari was helpful, but even so I would say that memorising these beautiful ‘Bhagavad Gita’ shlokas took me about 50 hours in total. They are so embedded in my memory now, that I sometimes find myself reciting them unconsciously, like a song that’s stuck in my head,” he said.
In the show, he will be seen in playing Bob Wilson, a musician. Composer Vishal Khurana has added musical touch to the shlokas.
“Language is itself naturally musical, especially Sanskrit. When you add a layer of melody to the lines, it makes the task of learning them so much faster, and infinitely more enjoyable,” he added.
Talking about his preparation, he said: “When I’m not preparing for a specific role, I use audio courses to improve my general Hindi speaking competence since, besides English, that’s the language I use most: I combine it with my physical exercise so that while I’m working out, I’m strengthening my language skills as well.”
When preparing for his projects, Alexx likes to spend time focusing on specific dialogues within the screenplay, which he thinks might be challenging. For “Aarya”, that included “a whole lot of Sanskrit”.
“I don’t want to leave anything to chance since even the slightest mispronunciation can distract the audience, and keep them from staying truly engrossed in the moment,” he said.
“Aarya” delves into how organised crime and betrayal runs deep in a family. It is about the protagonist Aarya, and how she is pulled into the narcotics business when her family is threatened.
Along with Sushmita Sen, the show features Chandrachur Singh, Sikander Kher, Namit Das, Jayant Kripalani, Sohaila Kapoor, Sugandha Garg, Maya Sareen, Vishwajeet Pradhan and Manish Chaudhary. “Aarya” is an official adaptation of the popular Dutch crime drama “Penoza”.