Actress Mrunal Thakur has worked with some of the most popular names in the film industry. From working with actors like Hrithik Roshan to John Abraham to Farhan Akhtar to Kartik Aaryan to Shahid Kapoor – she has been working incessantly with every big name. She has been applauded a lot for her last film, ‘Toofaan’, which did exceedingly well on the OTT platform on which it was released.
The film is going to now have a world television premiere on Zee Cinema this Sunday. In a candid chat with Outlook, Thakur opens up about how the film came to her, how she managed to get the characteristics of a doctor to perfection, how director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra helped her build the character and how she feels OTT is giving a lot of opportunities to every actor. Excerpts from the chat:
‘Toofaan’ did great on OTT. Now it’s coming on TV. How did the film come to you?
It's like how one film leads to another, from 'Love Sonia', I got 'Batla House' and because of 'Batla House', I got 'Toofaan'. I think the recommendation came from Nikhhil Advani sir. He recommended me to Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra sir to just have a look at the footage of 'Batla House'. At that time I was dubbing for the film.
As you played a doctor, were there things which you had to learn or practise to get the part right?
If you see the opening scene of the film, you will see that I am putting stitches on Farhan Akhtar's forehead. I had to learn that. If you see, interns get a banana to practice the stitching. They don't get a fresh wound where they can practice on. They have to practice on a banana so that they get a hang of it. Banana skin is very thin and you have to be very careful with them. I think somewhere down the line the medical entrance exam that I gave in the past did help me a little bit. I was not afraid to do that (the stitching). I was really close to Ajju (Farhan's character) as I was doing the stitches. I was holding a needle that was eyes very close to his eyes. Even when we are acting we have to be very careful. So such interesting things I had to learn.
Did Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra give you any brief for the role?
He just said, be yourself.
That’s it? He is known to be very technical when it comes to explaining the detailing of a character to the actor?
He just explained to me that Ananya is a liberal girl and that is one of the reasons why she is independent. She has got many opportunities to fly abroad and be a doctor. But she chooses to be a doctor in Dongri, and just help the people there. She is Maharashtrian. She loves her father. She lost her mother but at the same time, she is someone who believes in spreading love and believes in making your weakness your strengths. These are the major key points that he give me and then he said you just play around with it. It is your field now, so just play as you wish. Any time when I feel that you are distracted or diverted, I being the coach will just tell you that Mrunal you are going in the wrong direction and I will get you back on the right path.
There has been an unprecedented surge in women-centric content, especially on OTT. Do you feel actors who were probably not getting enough due in films and TV are finally getting a lot of work on OTT?
Absolutely. There is so much content happening on OTT. There are a lot of opportunities. I love how there is no discrimination like 'Oh you're from television background', 'Oh you're from film background', 'Oh you're from theatre background' - it is all equal. I feel like it is the biggest advantage. Also as an actor, when I am entering into the business now and into acting, it is the best time. I can balance between films and between OTT shows. I have a lot of options. So that's an amazing platform for actors.