Mrunal Thakur Curated

Indian Film Actress

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This profile has been added by users(CURATED) : Users who follow Mrunal Thakur have come together to curate all possible video, text and audio interview to showcase Mrunal Thakur's journey, experiences, achievements, advice, opinion in one place to inspire upcoming actors. All content is sourced via different platforms and have been given due credit.

  • Going forward, what kind of roles do you look forward to essaying?

    I just make sure whatever roles I do, I have to be convinced completely. The main agenda is to do different roles and not be repetitive.

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  • How does it feel surreal to have bagged such plum projects back to back?

    This journey has taken me seven years. It’s not been quick and every single day, I’ve dreamt of this. I had already shot for Love Sonia and Super 30 but their release was delayed. And that’s why all these three films have come out in such a short period of time.

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  • Coming from television and regional films, what was the transition in mainstream Bollywood like?

    On TV, it actually gets easy because you play the same character over two-three years. In films, it becomes difficult as you have to impress audiences with different characters and whatever screen space you get. For me, it was a do or die situation. The transition was difficult but not impossible. I have to thank filmmakers who are taking chances with TV actors and there is no stereotype. Now, they just cast the actor and the medium doesn’t matter.

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  • Are you doing any OTT projects?

    I have a Baahubali series for Netflix. It’s a prequel to the SS Rajamouli film. I play Sivagami in it.

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  • Do you miss being Bulbul from Kumkum Bhagya?

    Oh yes, I do! Kumkum Bhagya was an interesting journey. I really enjoyed it. People started recognising me because of that serial. I sometimes wish I could go back to shoot a couple of episodes for fans.

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  • With so many interesting projects, do you feel like you have arrived?

    As an actor, I’m blessed that I’m getting the opportunity to play different characters. I can’t believe this is happening. 2019 was really lucky for me.

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  • Will we see you dancing with Farhan?

    Well, (nodding) you wait and just watch. We had so much fun together. We were super lucky that we wrapped up the shoot before the lockdown. It was an amazing journey with Rakeysh sir, Farhan and Paresh (Rawal) sir. Paresh sir stole my heart. I am in love with him. I love the way he performs. He is so talented. I truly feel blessed. I have another film with him called Aankh Micholi by Umesh Shukla. It’s a full on comedy. It’s a film that you can sit and watch with your family. It was supposed to be a Diwali dhamaka. Now let’s see when it releases.

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  • How is Toofan coming along?

    Dreams do come true, I’ll say. I remember, after college, I went all alone to watch Farhan Akhtar’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. That time I thought to myself that one day I will work with these two (Farhan and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra) or at least, meet them. I remember I even sent Rakeysh sir a message from my old Facebook account. I don’t know if he ever read that message.

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  • You are a part of Jersey. Tell us something about the project.

    Jersey is very close to my heart. It’s a remake of a Telugu film with the same title. The story is very beautiful. It’s very interesting. We want it to reach maximum audience.

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  • How was it working with John Abraham?

    Working with John was so much fun. He’s such a fantastic guy.

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  • Who was your inspiration?

    I have been a huge fan of Madhuri Dixit since childhood. She is titled as Bollywood’s expression queen. I learned from her. I respect her. I adore her. And I really look up to her. All the sequences (in the song) where I’m expressing through eyes is what I’ve learnt from her.

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  • How is the response to “Gallan Goriyan”?

    After Love Sonia, people stereotyped me. They thought if I’m able to do such indie films, I might or might not be able to work in a true-blue Bollywood film. I think the song cleared all such doubts. I’m so blessed to have received so many compliments for the song. Also, it’s my first Bollywood dance number with all the quintessential ‘latkas-jhatkas’. Ever since the song released, people have been calling up to tell me that I have evolved as an actor and a performer.

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  • What is the importance of mentors in your life?

    I did acting workshops with actor Pramod Ghosh. He shared an important lesson the camera should be your friend. He also said that if you are not friends with the medium and the people you work with then things will be difficult for you. If you want to thrive, look for quality among your coworkers. Even when you have arguments with them it needs to be constructive. Before entering Bollywood I called Karan [Johar]. He is always there to help me. My other mentors are producers Tabrez Noorani and Ekta Kapoor. I watched this documentary about rapper Travis Scott and how his mentor pushed him to do more despite his Grammy wins. That’s the importance of a mentor in life.

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  • How do you unwind?

    I like watching films. I can relate to Ranbir Kapoor’s character in Tamasha. I have adopted a cat and I unwind with it at times. I like to spend time with my family as well. Even when I travel, I don’t sleep. I observe people. In fact, I once took inspiration from the way a girl slung her bag on her shoulder and even used it in Love, Sonia.

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  • Most of your films have actors with a lot of experience. Is that a conscious decision?

    I am working with Abhimanyu Dassani (Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota) [in Aankh Micholi] who is still new to the industry. I think it was all about opportunities. I didn’t get picky about screen space. I am inspired by Irrfan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Pankaj Tripathi. They can light up the screen even with a few minutes of their presence onscreen. Many of my friends refused roles waiting for the lead character. Then they regretted it because the character they let go was really good. The screen space shouldn’t matter.

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  • How was it working with Shahid Kapoor and Farhan Akhtar?

    Farhan is very dedicated, so is Shahid. I saw Farhan follow his diet and getting that body. People take years to lose weight. From Farhan I take away dedication. From Shahid, I have learned to live in the moment. He is focused. He knows how to segregate work from masti. Their experience on different film sets is also something I like listening to. I pick their brains about it. I like knowing the story behind certain scenes in films.

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  • What is the learning process?

    An engineer gives four years [to her studies] and knows her path. In acting, every project is new. Even though you go to workshops you can’t say I know everything about the craft. Every film entails going for a new job, trying to adjust and figuring out whether you can feel the character or not. Every director has a different working pattern. Directors Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (Toofan), Umesh Shukla (Aankh Micholi) and Gowtam Tinnanuri (Jersey) are completely different in the way they function. This [working with different people] also helps me get an idea about myself. I can choose films in a more informed manner. I don’t want to be in a comfort zone, I want to do something that I have not done as Mrunal. I want to be in the skin of the character. People gave me such feedback for Love, Sonia when they said they didn’t move during the entire film because they liked the character. I have learned and evolved as an actor.

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  • How do you juggle these different roles?

    It’s been difficult. I’ve learnt my lessons. It’s unfair to the characters [simultaneously]. But I could shoot major chunks for each part before moving on to the next, thanks to the scheduling by the associate directors. Also working for TV trained me to switch on and off [between characters and work schedules] at short notice. I have also chosen songs that help me relate to a character storyline. Paresh Rawal plays my father in Toofan and Aankh Micholi. So, we talked about the other film on each set and there was a sense of continuity and point of reference for each film.

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  • Tell us about your current films?

    I am working on three projects. I just wrapped up shooting for Aankh Micholi in Patiala. The second is Jersey, am currently shooting for it in Chandigarh. And then I have Toofan, around 70-80 percent of it has been wrapped up. I am happy about doing three different films this year. The dream of being on movie sets has come true after seven years of hard work.

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  • If you ever get an offer for a TV show, would you be all game for it now?

    It will depend on how big it is and how long it's going to run. If you see, the top-rated shows run for four-five years and I really want to explore. I did television and reality shows, Marathi films, an Indo-American film and commercials. Now, I have entered Bollywood and want to enjoy this space for a couple of years.

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  • You started your career with television. Do you enjoy watching them now?

    I enjoyed the first season of 'Naagin' which starred Mouni Roy. I am happy that even today people recognise me as 'Bulbul' from Kumkum Bhagya. I really enjoy watching reality shows because it's a platform for raw, young talent. I hope that good shows are being made. It depends on which audience you catering to. People in rural areas want to watch people flying and makkhi turning into a lady. But things are changing now. Audience which exists in the metropolitan cities is now turning towards Netflix and other digital platforms. So now, there's too much content. It's like a platter and it's up to the audience to watch what they want.

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  • After doing an intensely-challenging film like 'Love Sonia', how do you de-stress yourself?

    As an actor, you always carry something or the other with you. I didn't know what sex-trafficking was all about. I was upset when 13-14 year girls were trafficked from India to other countries and vice-versa. It was very stressful. But today, when I meet the girls again and look at their smile, the constant effort of making this society a better place and living life happily, it's something that gives me power. I will be meeting the girls from 'Apne Aap' when I will be visiting Delhi for 'Batla House' promotions. They are my energy. They are the only ones who de-stress me by saying that they are happy that I did a film like this for them. I am happy that I started my career with 'Love Sonia' because I feel I am more responsible, educated and aware of this issue. In fact, because I am so inspired by Anand Kumar, I want to do something for the kids of sex-workers from red-light areas. Sometimes, they are denied their basic rights because of their parents' profession. We are currently working on it. So probably by September/ October, we will have a concrete thing planned. So, you cannot leave your characters behind.

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  • From an actor's perspective, is it easy or difficult for you to be non-judgmental about the characters that you play, especially when it's modelled on a real-life person? What's the head-space like?

    That's where the research part plays an important role. Before being an actor, I am a citizen. When you are an actor, people idolise you. They look up to you. When a film releases and the audience watches it, they will learn something or the other. And my intention as an actor primarily is that people should learn good things because somewhere down the line, they are going to imply that in their lives. When the series of bomb-blasts happened, it was very important for me to convince that whatever my character is going to play is something that I feel as Mrunal also. I don't want to do films with which I don't connect. I don't want to fool my audience.

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  • With the bridge gaping down between commercial and content-driven cinema, do you feel you are blessed to be a part of two big films where you were not just reduced to a glam factor?

    When I and John spoke about our journey in Bollywood during interviews, he mentioned that he could make mistakes. But, my generation actors don't have that opportunity to make mistakes. Either you are here or there. Fortunately now, we also have stories which are very well-balanced. With films like 'Super 30', 'Article 15', 'Batla House', the balance has been well-maintained. Initially, people told me how I could be a part of a film which had an item number (Saki Saki) and I just told them to relax. When I personally watched the film, I felt that Nora's character in the film was very important to the script. It's just not me but also Nora's fans who will come and watch the film, which also allows this film just not only be in the real space but also balances it commercially.

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  • What about doing a film where content isn't the king but it has a big name attached to it?

    If I am not able to convince myself then how would I do the same to the audience? I want to do a comedy but there should be logic to it. I want to do a masala film but it shouldn't be like the first half is something else and the other half is something else. Even if it's a masala film, it needs to be a proper masala film. I want to explore cinema. 'Love Sonia' was a completely different film and so are 'Super 30' and 'Batla House'. Before the film, I was unaware of what 'Batla House' was all about. I didn't know what happened in that encounter. To be very honest, after my research, I found out there was a bunch of bomb-blast series happening and after the encounter, they just stopped. I felt that I should do this film. There are many people like me in Mumbai and various cities who were not aware of this incident.

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  • Don't you want to be a part of out-and-out commercial films?

    'Love Sonia' wasn't a commercial film. I haven't yet realised what a commercial film is. 'Article 15' is also a commercial film where they are in the real space and at the same time, they have done commercially well. I don't understand the criteria on which a film is declared a 'hit' or 'super-hit'. I have seen most of the films which the critics don't have good things to say about, also crossing 100 crore. So, I am still trying to understand and figure out what the word 'commercial' or a 'hit' or a 'flop' means.

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  • Your choice of films has been quite brave. Is that a conscious effort from your end or is it that things just fell into place for you?

    There is no conscious effort as such. I think I am blessed to get these films. It was just like I was going with the flow. I believe in 'every opportunity is golden' and whatever I had, I tried and tested and auditioned for and if it's a yes from the makers' side, I immediately grabbed it. I want to be a part of projects, which connect with people. One of my friends who is not from the industry told me that she was disappointed when she found me missing in the trailer of 'Super 30'. I told her I wasn't upset. Instead, I was happy because the story is about Anand Kumar. The moment a heroine comes in for no reason, it just becomes senseless. I told my friend, 'Yeh toh sirf trailer hai, picture abhi baaki hai mere dost.' (laughs). I admire actors like Pankaj Tripathi and Irrfan Khan. The screen-space doesn't matter to me. What matters is to be a part of a good film. This is the initial phase of my career and working with filmmakers like Vikas Bahl, Nikkhil Advani helped me to explore as an actor. I learnt so many things from them. So, 'screen-space' isn't the thing in my head right now. But, the only thing I want to do is to be associated with good films. I want people to talk about it rather than being trolled.

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  • How do you feel about the box office collection of your film Super 30?

    I am very happy and proud that a film like 'Super 30' is reaching the audience and thankful to all the people responsible for making the film tax-free, so that it reaches as many as possible; not just in metropolitan cities but also in the rural areas. I felt 'Super 30' was the film which deserved to be told. We have so many heroes in our nation. I am happy that films are being made on people like Anand Kumar, Sanjeev Kumar Yadav. I am proud to be a part of 'Super 30' where I got the chance to work with Hrithik.

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