Actor Ankur Bhatia has won many hearts on screen — whether it is by portraying a pivotal character in the thriller web-series Aarya or playing the kindhearted Ibrahim Parkar in Haseena Parker. The Bhopal-born model’s heart, however, lingers in New York. In a chat with Travel+Leisure India & South Asia, he talks about this home away from home.
Excerpts from the interview with Ankur Bhatia
T+L India: You were born in Bhopal. Do you have any fond memories of the city?
Ankur Bhatia: I was born and raised in Bhopal. I have spent the initial 20 years of my life there, so it is home for me. All my memories with my family and friends are majorly from Bhopal. Every other weekend, we used to go for long drives by the lake. The sunset in Bhopal is breathtaking!
T+L India: What was your first impression of New York?
Ankur Bhatia: It was surreal! It was my dream to come to New York for higher education. Even though I had researched a lot about how the city operates before visiting, I was still awestruck by the tall buildings, architecture, culture and its fast pace. It was a big change [coming] from Bhopal to New York.
T+L India: What was it like adjusting to a new country?
Ankur Bhatia: It was a lot of fun. While it was a bit hard in the beginning, it was still a lot of fun. It was a way to advance in terms of technology. The beauty of New York is that you find people from all around the globe, and everyone has been in the same situation as you at some point in life.
T+L India: What do you like the most about New York city?
Ankur Bhatia: I think if you have lived and survived in New York, you can live in any part of the world. The biggest perk is being exposed to so many people from around the globe. It educates you about different cultures and broadens your perspective towards the world. I love the diversity in New York! I also love the fast-paced life; you are pretty much on the move all the time. There’s an energy in the city that can only be felt when you are in New York city.
T+L India: Any hidden gems in New York that are close to you?
Ankur Bhatia: Jackson Heights, which is in Queens, is very close to me. It was the first area in New York where I lived for almost a year. It’s an Indian-Pakistani neighbourhood. When here, you feel like you are in mini India, in New York. It is home away from home.
T+L India: What role does travel play in your life?
Ankur Bhatia: As I have been actively pursuing acting work in New York along with being a part of the Indian cinema, I am constantly on the move. I am pretty much a global nomad! This year, I was filming a movie in Abu Dhabi, after which I went on to shoot another project in Rajasthan, followed by London in summers, and a web series in Pune. Currently, I’m filming a new project in New York. So basically, I am living my life in a suitcase and I love it!
T+L India: Your most memorable trip?
Ankur Bhatia: One of my most memorable trips was a trip to Estonia and Split in Croatia. I shot for a TV commercial there. I’d love to go back!
A destination that makes you nostalgic: Canada
Top two travel must-haves: Ear phones and a book
A place you like to disconnect from the world: Abu Dhabi
Next bucket list destination: Hawaii, United States of America
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