Actor Ankit Bathla of Thapki Pyar Ki fame, who has worked in Indonesian shows, says there are a lot of similarities in the television content of India and the archipelago.
"There is a lot in common between the (TV) stories of India and Indonesia. I guess people love to watch romance, drama and horror. So, these are the things which are predominantly common between the two countries and what is also interesting is that the language is pretty much similar," Ankit told IANS in an email interview.
"In Bahasa Indonesia (the local language in Indonesia), there are a lot of words that are from Sanskrit. So it was quite interesting as the stories were not really difficult, but still the only problem that I faced is the language which really took some time. But while I can't say I'm a master of it, but yes, I do have a hang of the language," he added.
Ankit had first landed in an Indonesian show due to his popularity in an Indian entertainer.
"My popular show 'Thapki Pyar Ki', which was aired on Colors channel was dubbed in Indonesian language and it telecast there. It was a big hit, so that's how I managed to be in Indonesia which was just for a meet and greet of seven days. But seeing the fan following and love that Indonesians had for me, I was there for almost seven months instead of seven days... That's how I did their shows.
"The language was difficult initially, so we used to speak in English and they would be dubbed in their language Bahasa, but eventually, we did learn the language. I think a it's a pretty interesting and very good language to learn," he said.
On the experience of working in Indonesian shows, Ankit said: "Well, cinema is cinema, acting is acting beyond borders... and I loved working in Indonesian shows. The only difference was obviously the language and the way they shoot is really interesting because they make content of more than an hour every day, whereas we make content for just 22 minutes (run)."
Ankit is not the only Indian actor to have worked in Indonesian shows. Mrunal Jain, Shakti Arora, Shivin Narang and Shaheer Sheikh have also done their share of shows there.
Why are Indonesians keen to work with Indian talent?
Ankit explained: "I think they are keen to work with Indian actors and talents because we are popular in Indonesia (as they have seen Indian shows). There is a lot of love that we got from Indonesia. It was really brilliant to see the fans standing for you hours and hours waiting for you to just come down with banners in their hands, with gifts in their hands."
He missed his home in Delhi after seven months.
"They wanted me to extend even more, so that's when I requested them that I really want to go back to my country because I miss home, I miss my family and I miss working in the Indian market," said Ankit, who is now back in India.
"I do keep going back to Indonesia to do meet-and-greets and work for them in their shows. In fact, recently I've come back from London where we were shooting for a web series which is called 'The Man from Bekasi' in which I played the role of an undercover agent and it was again a very interesting experience," Ankit said.
He is happy to spend Diwali with his family in Delhi.
"I love the Diwali celebrations and enjoy buying new clothes. I love to gift things from Ahujasons... My mom and dad love shawls and stoles and that's what I'm going to gift them this Diwali as well."