“I think I am made for Telugu cinema and I am here to stay,” says Mrunal Thakur in a conversation with Outlook when asked about her excitement level after the success of ‘Sita Ramam’, her debut in the Telugu film industry that has grossed great figures at the box-office. However, reaching where she is today took her 8 years of challenge and struggles. “I would only say that the biggest challenge for any actor is patience and to wait for the right time.”
“For me, to be able to make that transition from TV to films was difficult. There were times when I felt like I am only meant to do dishes and laundry at home and It was also because I wanted to be part of a good film, not just any other film," she says, citing examples of how people assumed that her transition from TV to film was smooth.
"All that but I know it has taken me 8 years to reach where I am today and I take immense pride because this is my journey. it doesn’t have anybody’s recommendation or anything. Having said that, I am happy that I am able to break the stereotype where TV actors could only be TV actors. I am here to break that stereotype and do something out of the box where I am not just a TV actor but also a Bollywood or Tollywood film actress but I am representing Indian cinema altogether so I am really proud of that," she says.
Mrunal was part of some successful TV shows including ‘Mujhse Kuchh Kehti...Yeh Khamoshiyaan’, and ‘Kumkum Bhagya’ before she switched to the big screen with the 2014 Marathi film, ‘Vitti Dandu’. Her Bollywood debut came in 2019 with Vikas Bahl's biographical movie ‘Super 30’, narrating the story of mathematician Anand Kumar (played by Hrithik Roshan in the film) and his educational program of the same name.
Her Telugu debut ‘Sita Ramam’ is a period romantic drama film written and directed by Hanu Raghavapudi. The film also stars Dulquer Salmaan, and Rashmika Mandanna. The film is set in 1964 and depicts the story of Lieutenant Ram, an orphan army officer serving at the Kashmir border, who gets anonymous love letters from Sita Mahalakshmi (Played by Mrunal). Ram is on a mission to find Sita and propose his love.
Mrunal, who was in holidaying in Chicago during this interview, wished to be in Hyderabad to witness all the reactions. “…but the funny and the best thing is when I landed in Chicago, people started addressing me as Sita Mahalakshmi and I was like this is my best achievement ever because to be known as the characters I play onscreen is the best feeling,” she says.
Mrunal says that she waited for these validations for a very long time.
“That's what any artist wants right? for the audience to know about the work that they do and I think finally it's happening after a really really long time. This kind of love I have never experienced because I think this is the first time I have gotten this role where I could be me and showcase my talent as far as acting is concerned. There were various graphs in the character that I could perform and kathak which I really enjoy doing so there were a lot of scopes for me to do things. Earlier I felt like I wished I had so much to give but there was no opportunity so I am happy that it's happening now,” says Mrunal.
When asked if she is going to be part of more southern films now, Mrunal says with utmost conviction that she is the kind of person who doesn’t want to restrict herself just to Bollywood.
“I have started my career with TV, then did Marathi movies, then did the Indie films, Bollywood and now Telugu so I am really happy with the way they welcomed me. They made me feel like I am part of them, and they never made me feel like I am a north Indian and it’s very rare. You know all my friends have mentioned that it’s not easy to make a room for them in their hearts but for me, the entire process is really overwhelming. Trust me as much as I enjoyed shooting for the part, it made me feel I am kind of made for Telugu cinema as well so I am here to stay,” she says.
After releasing in Telugu along with Tamil and Malayalam on August 5, ‘Sita Ramam’ will now release in Hindi on Sep 2. Mrunal says she can’t wait for the Hindi audience to see the film.
“I am excited about that and looking forward to it,” she says.