Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s sports drama Toofaan released today on Amazon Prime Video. The film featuring Farhan Akhtar, Mrunal Thakur and Paresh Rawal in the lead is getting unanimous praise from all over.
In a candid conversation with Spotboye.com, Mrunal shares her experience of working on the film, collaborating with Rakeysh and Farhan, and more. Read excerpts from the interview:
Mrunal, in Toofaan you play a headstrong wife to Farhan’s Aziz, who motivates him to get back in the ring. In real life, who plays that role of a motivator for you when you are down and about?
It would be unfair if I just take one name. There’s a full force and army behind me who have made me so strong and made me capable of doing the work that I do. My father has always been there for me. My mother and my sister have always told me one thing, whatever happens, happens for the best. Good things take time so I just have to keep working hard.
Farhan and Rakeysh come with a huge success behind them in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. How was it for you entering that successful team?
In my acting career, if I was most comfortable on any set, it was Toofaan. It was a toofani experience as they embraced me and accepted me as a part of their family. Nothing like working with living legends. Every time when I woke up, even before I was an actor, I would ask myself what is it I can do that can motivate people. When I associated with Rakeysh sir, Farhan and Excel I realised that they bring out such extraordinary stories. They decided to make this story of an ordinary man and make it look extraordinary. An ordinary girl like Mrunal got to be a part of such an enchanting experience.
Rakeysh is one of those directors who is on every actor’s wish list. How was it for you to mould yourself as per his vision?
There’s one thing about Rakeysh sir that I admire the most. It’s that he is so precise in what he wants. The beauty about it is that he would never direct you. He will tell you your part and let you play with it. Despite his age, I feel he is very young at heart and that’s why the youth connect to his films a lot. He feels that an actor doesn’t need to act, but just feels the part and he did the same to me. He called me Ani, short for Ananya, and just explained my backstory and my relationships in that story. All these magical moments can’t be acted but only felt. Another thing he would do is ask me what I would feel if I was in my character’s place and let me explore that. Rakeysh sir has spoiled me and I will keep comparing my other directors with him.
And how was working with Farhan?
I was scared initially, but his sense of humour made everything easy. He is a big Bollywood fan and it runs in his veins. He knows every movie, character and their dialogues and would even enact them. We also had Hussain Dalal with us who is one of the jolliest people I have ever seen. Farhan would bring an energy on set that made you say that if he is working so hard and not complaining, who am I to complain. He is one of the most secure and hardworking actors I have met. I really can’t wait to work with him again not just as an actor but also as a director as I want to explore that side of him.
Toofaan will also mark your OTT debut. Any nervousness since you have only had theatre experience yet?
Not at all, rather I was dying for this experience. I realised the reach of OTT is so big and I have reached out to so many big actors worldwide and they have responded to me. Similarly, not many people know but we have dubbed Toofaan in English so that people outside can enjoy it too. I think somewhere down the line it is opening windows of opportunities for me too. In future, if a director in France sees me in Toofaan and wants to cast me in a French film, I’d love to do that.
A lot of TV actors who transition to films often talk about the stereotyping they go through or inappropriate requests that are made to them by makers. Have you ever been in such a situation?
I feel the biggest power I have is to say no. If I felt anything wrong happening, I walked off. And I want to tell this to my Television friends that if you will take yourself seriously, people will too. You need to believe in your talent and have a little bit of patience and things will come to you.
You work with Paresh in Toofaan and also in Aankh Micholi. How was he different on the two sets?
I felt like I had met three Paresh ji. On set, he was completely different from his character on screen in Toofaan, and then completely different again in his character in Aankh Micholi. That’s the beauty of him as an actor and I hope I become like him someday. He played a Marathi character in Hera Pheri and in Toofaan, again he plays a Maharashtrian, but both are so different and I hope that I imbibe that quality in me too.
Image Source: Instagram/mrunalthakur, spotboye archives