Mrunal Thakur tells us why this is her year, despite the pandemic
From her Hollywood debut with Love Sonia, to starring opposite Farhan Akhtar and Shahid Kapoor this year, Mrunal Thakur is on quite a roll!
Breaking stereotypes comes rather naturally to Mrunal Thakur. From making the nearly-impossible transition from television soaps to films, to scoring a Hollywood break (Love Sonia, 2018, alongside Demi Moore and Freida Pinto) before her Bollywood debut with Hrithik Roshan in Super 30 — her journey has been full of breakthroughs. While she continues to make a case for short-haired Hindi film heroines — a rare breed she admits, she’s forming quite a beeline for herself with upcoming projects opposite Farhan Akhtar and Shahid Kapoor.
On a pleasant March morning, just before the COVID-19 outbreak completely changed our world, we caught up with Mrunal at Rooh, New Delhi, where she channelled her favourite festive looks for Summer celebrations.
Q. After Super 30, Batla House and Netflix’s Ghost Stories, do you finally feel like you’ve arrived in Bollywood?
I feel settled in front of the camera — that’s for sure! Be it a web film or a Bollywood movie, the medium doesn’t matter to me anymore. I want to get out of my comfort zone and work with different directors and explore various genres. I am willing to be uncomfortable and under-confident. I realise how lucky I am to be able to make that television-to-Bollywood jump, and I want to set an example for other aspiring TV actors!
Q. What was it like to play a Karan Johar bride in Netflix’s Ghost Stories?
(Giggles) Name one girl who doesn’t dream of twirling in a Manish Malhotra lehenga on a Karan Johar film set! When you’re signed by Dharma, you get a welcome SMS. And in that moment, you feel a light breeze rustling through your hair, and the Dharma tune (she hums) playing in the background. It was all that and more, working with KJo. Ira was a fun character to play. Although throughout the movie, I wanted to scream at her, “Run Ira, run!” I never quite understood why she married her crazy husband!
Mrunal wears a Torani Aasmani organza sari
Q. Tell us about your upcoming projects. Which one of them are you most excited about?
I have three films in the pipeline — Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Toofan with Farhan Akhtar, Jersey with Shahid Kapoor, directed by Gowtam Tinnanuri, and then Aankh Micholi by Umesh Shukla. Although the first two films I’m doing are both sports drama-based, I am most excited for my character in Toofan, which is about the journey of a boxer. It really challenged me and I can’t wait to share more, but it’s too early now. Unfortunately, given the current circumstances, all release dates have been deferred.
Q. Aankh Micholi is your first venture into comedy. Is it true that comedy is the hardest genre?
Of course, comedy is a very difficult genre. Especially when you’re working alongside actors such as Paresh Rawal. You have to be super alert and can’t afford to miss your timing! But I am happy I got to shoot Aankh Micholi — it ticked off so many bucket-list items for me. Shooting in Europe, check. Wearing a slinky dress in the snow without freezing, check. Filming at a sarson ka khet, check.
Q. How has quarantine been for you so far?
Lockdown has been a rollercoaster of emotions for me. I am taking it one day at a time, and trying to be as productive as possible. I’ve been giving Marie Kondo’s organising techniques a try, catching up on classic novels such as Of Human Bondage and Sophie’s Choice, trying my hand at baking delicious ragi and oats breads, and also completing my graduation in Sociology through distance learning, which I’ve had on my mind for the past 10 years!
Q. What’s next?
I don’t think this has been announced yet but Bhuvan Bam (Youtuber) and I are cooking a crazy series for Youtube. I’ve also been documenting my quarantine journey at home. Once we are in a better place, I might share it with everyone — perhaps on my own YouTube channel.
Q. If you could swap your wardrobe with any personality — real or fictional, who would it be?
Real — Priyanka Chopra Jonas, because she’s a trendsetter. I love the chic, New York vibe that she channels. For a fictional character, I’d go with Cinderella’s wardrobe. I grew up watching Disney films and always adored fitted corsets and billowy ballgowns. If I had my way, I’d wear them in real life too!
Q. What’s your go-to festive outfit?
I’m obsessed with my mother’s saris. I love the versatility and timelessness of her Kanjeevarams and Paithanis — I pair them with my neutral-toned blouses whenever I’m in a fix. I am also very fond of my grandma’s beautiful pearl and ruby-encrusted choker, which I’ve worn to a couple of award ceremonies too.
Photographer: GORKEY PATWAL
Hair and Makeup: BANNY CHOUDHARY
Hair: NITIN SANKLA
Styling: SPARDHA MALIK
Junior Stylist: DURVI GROVER
Junior Writer: DISHARI BASU
Location: ROOH, NEW DELHI