Mrunal Thakur awaits the theatrical release of 'Sita Ramam' on August 5. In this interview, the multi-lingual actress talks about her role in the movie, working with director Hanu Raghavapudi and actor Dulquer Salmaan, and her upcoming projects.
I debuted as a TV actress with 'Kumkum Bhagya' and the serial was dubbed in a number of languages, including Telugu. I had not imagined that I would one day debut in Telugu with a Vyjayanthi Movies outing. Around 12 years ago, I used to watch movies during my stay in Kerala. The love people here (down South) shower on cinema is touching. It's mesmerizing to receive all the love here in Telugu for my debut Tollywood movie. It is a dream debut.
It took me eight years to bag a Bollywood debut. After 'Love Sonia' (Hindi) in 2018, I had no work. I was doing dishes at home. I was down. I had to bide my time for this day when I am doing 4-5 films at a time. After I bagged 'Sita Ramam', I was bombarded with congratulatory messages. Girls who are aspiring actresses have a dream to play a character like Sita Mahalakshmi in a film like 'Sita Ramam'. I was a 4th Assistant Director at one point in time. I have grown from strength to strength in the entertainment industry over the years. I am almost 30 now.
I was shooting for the Hindi remake of 'Jersey' in Chandigarh when Hanu sir wanted to meet me to give a narration. I met him at a Mumbai cafe later. I have known his work for years. It took me a fraction of a second to accept the film. My character, Sita Mahalakshmi, shares a beautiful bond with Ram (Dulquer). This is the first time I have used traditional and completely Indian costumes. I love Kathak and I got to reconnect with the dance form. This is also my first romantic drama after the TV serial 'Kumkum Bhagya' (Hindi). It's a rare character in every sense. My Hindi film roles have been serious and intense.
We are 2020 girls. We are not coy, we are not shy. But Sita Mahalakshmi is coy. She doesn't open up easily. She sits straight, looks graceful, she wants to be presentable, and her language is chaste. The characterization is detailed. I have never done some of the things that Sita does in this movie.
I am romantic in real life. I am the kind of person who loves to write letters to my friends. I am receiving hand-written letters from my friends ahead of my birthday (August 1). I am really overwhelmed. I also like to receive proposals. All the eligible bachelors out there, please send me love letters, because I am single (laughs).
Rashmika Mandanna is a star! I have common scenes with her. She is a ball of energy. She is in three different cities on three consecutive days. Her journey has been extraordinary. Incidentally, she is making a Bollywood debut at a time when I am making a Tollywood debut. She makes sure people feel comfortable on set if something goes wrong.
'Jersey' (Hindi) was hit by the pandemic. People ask me how I could play a mother. An actor has to be versatile. It is not like an actress shouldn't play a mother. My mother became a mother when she was 18. I have no inhibitions or reservations. I would like to surprise the audience. I want to entertain them. When I watched 'Jersey' in Telugu, I found it so beautiful as a story. That's why I accepted the Hindi remake when director Gowtam Tinnanuri offered me the role. I am happy to be playing a variety of roles.
I have had a lot of respect for Vyjayanthi Movies. When I watched their 'Mahanati' at a film festival in Melbourne before its theatrical release, I was jealous. Since then, I wanted to do a period drama that feels like a classic. Keerthy Suresh was extraordinary in it! Sometime later, I was on the same set doing a film like 'Sita Ramam'. When C Ashwini Dutt garu revealed the title, I really loved it.
After the trailer of 'Sita Ramam' was out, Karan Johar texted me and appreciated me. Mammootty sir released the Malayalam trailer. Vijay Deverakonda supported our movie. It's overwhelming to receive love from many industries.
People have stopped putting in the effort to sustain relationships. 'Sita Ramam' is a film where relationships and bonds are nurtured by the characters. We don't cherish/appreciate people around us until they are gone. We have drama, comedy, talents like Sumanth and Tharun Bhascker, there is mystery, there is war... This film is a complete package.
I am more than willing to do Telugu movies. I don't believe in language barriers. If anything, I love to learn new languages. By the way, Ashwini Dutt sir has promised to help me bag roles in the future. After a film like 'Sita Ramam', it is not going to be easy!
I have movies coming up in Hindi. 'Pippa' is based on the Indo-Pak war of 1971. It is a heroic tank battle film that underscores the bravery of Brigadier Balram Singh Mehta. 'Pooja Meri Jaan' is going to be extraordinary and every Pooja and her friends inside and outside India are going to enjoy it. 'Gumraah' with Aditya Roy Kapur is also in the making and it is a crime thriller.
Aditya Roy Kapur is a hot guy and desirable. That's what people say. I am playing a cop in 'Gumraah' and I have no romantic scenes with him. Obviously girls on set were distracted by his looks (laughs).