Mrunal Thakur Exclusive Interview: “John Abraham Is Very Kind & Generous”

Mohnish Singh |Aug 19, 2019

After establishing herself as one of the leading faces on Indian television, Mrunal Thakur has now transitioned to Bollywood. Let us hear it from her how does she feel to be part of some terrific projects.

There is no dearth of actors who got their start on television before making a crossover to films. Extremely beautiful actress Mrunal Thakur is the latest addition to the ever-increasing total. Mrunal Thakur began her acting career with the Star Plus show Mujhse Kuchh Kehti... Hai Khamoshiyaan.

She then appeared in Ekta Kapoor’s popular soap opera Kumkum Bhagya. Mrunal Thakur quit the show and, also, a television in 2016 to pursue a career in Bollywood.

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Image source: Instagram

Fast forward to 2019 which saw the release of her debut film Love Sonia. It was soon followed by high-profile Super 30 opposite none other than the Greek God of Bollywood Hrithik Roshan. The biographical film turned out to be a massive hit at the box-office, helping Mrunal Thakur find a footing in the industry. The actress is currently seen in the Nikkhil Advani directorial Batla House opposite John Abraham.

A few days before the release of the film, STARBIZ correspondent Mohnish Singh met Mrunal Thakur for a candid conversation. In this interview, Mrunal Thakur talks elaborately about the success of Super 30, her new film Batla House, and how has it been jumping from the television to films, and much more. Excerpts…

What is the best reaction you received for Super 30?

The best reaction I got was from my father when he said that not for a single second I looked like I am from Maharashtra and not Bihar. Another one was when I was asked when did I rehearse or take part in workshops? I don’t share the back-story with them - my parents - because once you know that, there is no curiosity for the film. It was like a surprise package for them.

John Abraham said you are one of the most disciplined actors he ever met.

When you want something for so long and then you finally achieve it, it brings that discipline to you. In television, you learn discipline, too, because there you have deadlines. You have to be there. May there be floods or you have a temperature of 102-degree Celsius. You have to be on set. The best line I ever heard while working on television was, “Ma'am you arrive on the set there will be an ambulance ready here for you”. When it comes to discipline at work, I don't want to risk anything. I just want to make sure that I give my hundred percent. And nothing like doing films with John Abraham.

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Image source: Instagram

How was it to work with John Abraham?

He has so disciplined himself. So, when you see actors like John Abraham being on set, rehearsing, reading and having conversations which are very important and something that many people don't prefer, it feels great. That was very important and that happened on the sets of Batla House. So, it made me very comfortable and happy about my work. He is also very kind and generous.

How was it jumping from television to films?

I had to wake up at 4:00 am to work out before going to the television set to shoot for 12-14 hours and then reach home. That is not the hectic life I am living when working on films. Secondly, I get to work with the best filmmakers and being associated with a team which is so talented and successful feels good. Television actors don’t get time for their personal life; the people who work in television work hard. As for changes in personal life, my parents are prouder of me now.

What are the major differences you see in both the mediums?

When I met television actors, they said they aspired to be Bollywood actors and wanted to step into the industry through television. Though, after one-and-a-half year, casting directors started saying stuff like Bollywood is not something that you can attain, so stick to television. And those actors today are like that you have opened those doors for me. So, I feel very proud that television actors look up to me. Things are changing, some filmmakers are casting newcomers or from television background. We have so many actors like Kritika Kamra, Mouni Roy, Vidya Balan and more who started on television and now achieving so much in Bollywood.

When did you know you wanted to be an actor?

I have always wanted to be an actor since I was a child but you need stability to move to Mumbai and pursue your dreams, and stability comes from television. Television has taught me everything, be it acting or dealing with the industry. I used to be an impatient person but through television, I became a calm and disciplined person. One rule I have for myself is if I am going to do something, it has to be my best.

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Image source: Instagram

Who has been your biggest supporter throughout your career?

My family played a very important role in fulfilling my dreams. There is frustration after two and two-and-a-half-year where I was sitting at home doing nothing. But during that time, I worked on myself; I worked on my Hindi; I traveled for the experience; I worked on my body language because these things play a role in my career. We have a very different background and there were no films that related to my background, so that was more challenging. Thank goodness, my family was in Mumbai, so it helped a bit.

Did your background in journalism help you with your role in Batla House?

Yes, I did journalism, but I did not get a degree because, during my studies, I was working on television as well and juggling college. It was hard. I did my studies till 5th semester but I couldn't finish the 6th semester. What I learned in journalism helped me with Batla House (2019) as a newsreader. The norms and principle and the if's and but's of journalism is something I was already aware of.

Have you met the person your character is based on?

The character I am playing is based on Shobhna Yadav, a well-known news anchor. I met her; she was with her husband DCP Sanjeev Kumar Yadav. She has such a spark. Her husband is a silent person but Shobhna Yadav is there, she is a woman of today’s time. If something is wrong, she will not hesitate to put that issue up front and she is a fun person as well.

How are you celebrating your success in Bollywood?

People have asked me how I feel seeing my films garnering so much success. I told them that I am enjoying the success being at my house wearing pyjamas eating daliya. Everything is the same. I had the same experience when I was on television because the TRP on television keeps fluctuating, we actors give our best. The success and numbers matter, but I try it does not influence me so much that it starts to affect me negatively.

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Image source: Instagram

How was it playing Nandita Yadav in Batla House?

I feel Nandita Yadav is just not the amalgamation of director’s brief or just not the writer’s scenes but she is also an amalgamation of what John Abraham thinks about the character, about what Ravi Kishan thinks of Nandita, about what Shobhna Yadav thinks about this character. I felt a bit pressure of staying true to Shobhna Yadav's personality, though Nikkhil Advani said that I should do it my way and then Shobhna Yadav can watch it and comment on it. So, when you are working around so many talented people, your graph as an actor increases. I am happy to be working with some of the best professionals in the industry.

Do you feel any pressure to do better than several debut star kids?

I feel the main struggle starts after the first film. It does not matter if you are star kids or not, it does not matter if you are an outsider or not. After the first film, it is decided whether this person has the calibre to be an actor and if they have then they should receive deserving roles or characters. Which I believe they do get and I am happy with Super 30 and Batla House. I am very happy with the fact that the person deserving of good roles get good roles. These are the changes in the industry I have seen. A filmmaker doesn’t cast someone because that person is somebody’s child. They first see if the person has the capability, has the talent then they move forward.

Do you think as a female actor the need to be always presentable is important?

Being presentable is very important because being presentable shows your confidence tenfold. More importantly, rather than being presentable, one should be comfortable because when you are comfortable, you have the liberty to be more concentrated on the topic at hand. So, being presentable is important because you get a lot of attention and something that I really want to say is that it’s not easy being a female actor. I have never in my life went through so many clothes, so much makeup and so on, but right now it feels necessary to be presentable because the entire nation is looking at you and the entire nation is judging you. So, the importance of being comfortable is necessary.

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Image source: Instagram

What is one of the best pieces of advice you have gotten?

I learnt one thing from Hrithik Roshan that three hours before the premiere of KahoNaa... Pyaar Hai (2000) and at the end of the film, he was the same person. He knew what his capacity was. It does not matter if someone says I can do something or I cannot do something. The failure and success similarly should not matter to you as a person, to you as an actor. That's important because if I take my failure too seriously, then I won’t be able to give my best. If someone is criticizing my work, then I would like to evolve myself, take those criticisms into consideration and work hard on myself.

How much is the success of the film important to you when picking up roles?

I don't have the box-office in my mind when I choose roles. Films like Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety (2018) was a very under the radar film, yet it did amazing at the box office. Films sometimes are something else on the script and something else on the screen. The execution, choreography, direction, acting and music everything matters. Nobody thinks the film will be a flop before doing the film. All I think before saying yes to a role is if I relate to the character or not? Because to relate to your character is very important to me as an actor. In the case of Batla House, it was more important because my character is a journalist. I don't want to do any role where I have to force myself to care or I am uncomfortable with because if am not comfortable how will my audience who are watching enjoy the end process.

Are there any films you rejected initially but now regret?

I believe in one policy and that is: Every opportunity is a golden opportunity. When film offers have been given to me, I have given auditions for them, look test for them. Now, it is up to the makers if they want to cast me or not. I am happy that I was part of Super 30 and Batla House. Somebody asked me that my work so far has been mostly based on real events and if that is my motive? That was not my motive, it just happened like that.

Do you have any wishlist of directors you want to work with?

There are so many dream directors: Zoya Akhtar, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, etc. Any director from the Marvel franchise.

Do you have any offers for Marathi films? Will you be pursuing them?

Yes, right now I do. I am thinking about doing some, but things are in the decision-making process.


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