We catch up with the shining star to delve into her world of cinema, dance, and fashion, as well as her special bond with the ocean.
By ANANYA BAHL
The Starting Line
I never thought I could be an actor. I was a good student, so my family thought I’d be a doctor or an engineer. Plus, I was a super shy person. Having said this, I did look to movies as an escape—whether I was upset or in a good mood, a film was my go-to pastime for relaxation. Be it Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, or Malayalam cinema, I would relate with the characters on screen. At times, I felt I’m so much like Geet from Jab We Met! It’s also surreal for me to act alongside so many people I literally grew up watching. I started by acting in a couple of shows on television. And then, gradually, my parents encouraged me to act in Marathi movies… and then, I never stopped dreaming!
The Journey From TV to Films
Not just me, ask anyone and they will tell you how tough it is to bag that one film. And any transition is difficult—even from one film to another. I’m so happy I’m finally getting the scripts I really want to do. And I took that risk. Even though I was a big name in the television industry, I sat through audition rounds for movies and waited my turn. I’m reaping the fruits now. It’s worth it. With the advent of OTT platforms, a lot more talent is getting opportunities and I’m happy about that.
When The Tough Get Going
I have a personal mantra for those difficult days. I tell myself I’m unwell every time I feel like I am unable to think or am in trouble. And then, I give myself a day to recover. Because when you spend a day with yourself, you think about the problem and most of the answers lie right around you. I assure you that you will come up with the best solutions.
My Big Break
Love Sonia released in 2018. It may not have done too well commercially but I knew it was my ticket to Bollywood. I travelled the world and attended so many film festivals. It also made me realise how small the world truly is—today, I feel I got the chance to act in Sita Ramam because of the connections I made at those film festivals. And I’m grateful that I get to explore movies in different languages and genres.
Learning From the Stars
I’ve observed and imbibed many things from my co-actors. Farhan Akhtar inspired me to take up martial arts as a fitness tool. Dulquer Salman made me realise I can act in any language medium. Hrithik Roshan’s dancing skills are something I aspire to learn. And Shahid Kapoor is so focused! He’s never distracted and sees through his characters so well. I’ve also learned from the struggles and life lessons of legends like Paresh Rawal and Supriya Pathak. Dancing Queen I’m not classically trained but while growing up, I had a fondness for kathak.Prachi Shah Pandya is my guru and I try to practise the art whenever I get the time. Itʼs good to be ready since you never know when you will need the skill for a movie!
Love Sonia is still the hardest role Iʼve had to play. So, itʼs also my favourite performance. I also loved my character in Sita Ramam. You wonʼt believe it, but I wanted to quit both movies at some point. And Iʼm so glad I pulled up my socks and went ahead with them—people still ask me about these movies!
I was such a hydrophobic until I went to Jordan and floated on the Dead Sea. I also went diving in the Red Sea—without knowing how to swim! And, oh! The sea life I experienced was so breathtaking. It took away any fear of water that had plagued me up until that time. Since then, Iʼve tried snorkelling, too—it is one of the best experiences to see the corals and the beauty of the ocean. So calming. I now aim to do a professional diving course. My birthday plan this year is to head to the Andamans to get that certification.
I love beachside destinations and recently travelled to Goa and Sri Lanka. Beaches are so serene and therapeutic—they off er a lovely respite from hectic shoot days. As for dressing up, I love donning bikinis, kaftans, or something breezy, white, and lacy—a light jacket or a pair of shorts. Donʼt forget to use a lot of sunscreen and moisturiser. I carry large bottles of water to stay hydrated. And coconut oil is essential for me—I use it as a body oil to retain the moisture on my skin.
Travel Memories and Plans
I remember going paragliding in Switzerland. I felt like I was a contestant on a stunt show! My favourite destination right now is Chicago. Even though itʼs cold and windy, I just love it. In the future, I want to explore big cities and even off beat destinations like Uzbekistan. I remember hiking in Arrowhead Lake in the USA. I want to do more of that. Iʼm someone who could sit for hours and admire the beauty of nature. And you know what? I can stare at the sky for hours! Thatʼs my favourite pastime—I want to look up to the future!
QUICK SHOTS WITH MRUNAL
Your favourite Indian fashion label
Coffee or tea?
Comedy or action?
One dish you love to binge on
Biryani, vada pav, Maggi… Basically all comfort food!
Your favourite lipstick?
A nice matte, red colour.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Morning person—I go to bed at 10:30 PM!