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Expressive. Charming. Affable. She is born to act. Mrunal Thakur

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Mrunal Thakur – The New Breakout Talent

After a stint in modelling, acting in Marathi movies, and television serials, MRUNAL THAKUR became a household name following Balaji Telefilm’s Kumkum Bhagya.

 But ADORN’s cover girl rose to fame in an instant with the hard-hitting film Love Sonia, directed by Tabrez Noorani and produced by David Womark, which was released recently.

 Critically acclaimed for her acting chops, Mrunal comes across as a committed and professional actor. Case in point: she had just wrapped up a film shoot at 7 in the morning on the day of our cover shoot with her. She was tired, had the sniffles, but not once did she show her discomfort.

 Flashing her million-watt smile that could melt the coldest of hearts, the cheerful actress was fun to work with. And as soon as the camera rolled, the immersive leading lady was at her expressive best – a range of emotions flashing on her face in the flicker of a second. Needless to say, we got some amazing and candid shots of her!

 Here’s what the dynamo of an actress has to say about her career, hobbies and more.

Tell us something about yourself. You earned a degree in Journalism from KC College, Mumbai. Was acting your first choice or did it happen by chance?

My father is very fond of Bollywood cinema. As a young man, he would spend all his pocket money to watch movies in theatres. A big fan of Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan, we would get to watch films on weekends at home. It’s the magic of films that rubbed off on me and kept me enraptured all my life.

Since the age of six, I remember recreating on-screen characters at home in front of my parents. At 16, I went for an audition after being referred by my friend, and I landed the role. That changed my course of profession – from my first choice of dentistry to journalism, and finally, to acting.

 You have been working in Marathi movies, modelling and acting in TV serials for the last six years. How did you land the role of the protagonist in Love Sonia? And to top it, you were chosen from among 2,500 aspirants for the role!

I started my career with television. I did two Star Plus shows – Mujhse Kuch Kehti Hai Khamoshiyan, and a crime thriller Arjun. Post that, I started getting offers for Marathi films. I wanted to explore that medium as well. Filming for TV and films is totally different!

I learnt so many things on sets like the camera angles, the fine art of wearing make-up, learning lines and styling in terms of costumes … it wasn’t easy.

I consider myself fortunate to have had the best co-actors, who taught me how to deal with the production and how to learn the lines. It was challenging as we shot practically the entire month, and this served as a training ground for me.

Later, I yearned to explore, play different characters, and so started auditioning for TVCs. It was amazing to work with different film-makers.

Then I landed a main role in the TV serial Kumkum Bhagya. Simultaneously, I was trying for films as well!

Auditioning for Love Sonia wasn’t easy. I remember testing for around 89 rounds! But I had a gut instinct during the first round of auditioning of Love Sonia … I had a feeling it’s me! They wanted to find a perfect Sonia, who would look like a villager and a vulnerable 17-year-old. I lost around 14 kilos in a span of five months, and started doing research by enlisting the help of an NGO, Apne Aap. I visited Kolkata’s red light area, met the survivors and heard their stories; learnt the body language and there was so much more to note. Honestly, I was eager to play this character. I wanted to perform. And Love Sonia it was!

The film is not for the faint-hearted. Tell us about your experience of working with national and international stars.

It was a very sensitive issue and I always wanted my debut film to be such that it would leave an impact on people’s hearts. It was a very difficult film but I am glad that I got to be the voice of the voiceless.

Truth be told, I did have nervous breakdowns on sets, so much so that I despised male touch. The only thing the film-makers kept telling me was after watching this film even if one girl is saved, our mission is accomplished!

I feel blessed to be playing the title role in a film with so many big names in it. I was so star-struck by Demi Moore and Freida Pinto. I discussed the character with most of the actors on sets. I asked them what they would do if they were Sonia. I would take their advice and so Sonia was an amalgamation of the director’s brief, real inspired stories, research and the advice of my co-actors.

Love Sonia catapulted you to fame and your life has suddenly become hectic. How does it feel? Tell us more about your forthcoming ventures.

It feels great. The best thing is that everyone loved my performance as Sonia. Because of the film, I got a chance to travel to many countries for film festivals where it was being shown.

I watched the film on the big screen at London Indian Film Festival (LIFF) for the first time. I was overwhelmed and teary-eyed when I received my debut award at LIFF.

The journey from now on, I believe, will get tougher, after the first film. What next? That was the question bothering me. I tested for Super 30 and after couple of screen tests, I bagged the role!

My first film was based on sex trafficking and the second is based on education! 2018 was very lucky for me as all my hard work paid off.

Currently, I am shooting for Baahubali – Before the Beginning where I will be playing Sivagami for Netflix Original Series and, Batla House directed by Nikhil Advani opposite John Abraham.

How was the experience to work with Hrithik Roshan in Super 30?

Simply wonderful! I am so glad that I got a chance to work with Hrithik – the most humble, handsome and hard-working man. I can’t wait for the world to watch the film.

What’s the toughest part about acting?

The toughest part is to stay away from your family, hop from one hotel room to another, and I absolutely miss home-made food.

What is your dream role?

I want to be known as a versatile actress. I admire Meryl Streep and would want to share screen space with her. I would love to be part of Casablanca 2, if there would be one in the future. My dream is to work with my favourite director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

We believe that this is your first editorial cover feature … How was the experience at the ADORN shoot?

The experience was amazing! Fashion photographer Toranj wanted the moodboard to suit my personality. She wanted it to be very effortless.

To be honest, I was a little bit nervous. But once we got going, I got really comfortable. I was in love with the hair, make-up and the outfits. Mixing classic diamond jewellery with urban wear like puffy jackets, jeans and denim T-shirts turned out to be fun.

Absolutely loved the shots, and am excited that I am going to be on the Jan 2019 ADORN cover!

Are you fond of jewellery?

Of course, who doesn’t like jewellery? But I must say that I am not that crazy about it either. I love wearing diamonds (only on occasions). I prefer very light, simple and elegant designs.

Whenever my mother opens her jewellery box, I love wearing her pearl nose pin (nath). When I was little, I would wear the nath, hide in the bathroom and try to sing and imitate Madhuri Dixit’s dance moves on the number ‘Humko aaj kal hai intezar’ … (laughs). I also love wearing silver jewellery, especially jhumkas.

Have you made any jewellery self-purchases so far?

No, not really! I only get it for my mom.

 What is your style mantra? Are you a keen fashion follower?

Yes, I am a fashion follower. I love Priyanka Chopra’s style. I love wearing anything that is comfortable and suits my body type. I enjoy wearing a sari, but mostly you will find me wearing Lucknowi chikan kurtis and jhumkas.

When not in front of the camera, how do you pass your time?

Depends on how long I am not going to shoot. If it’s a one or two-day break, then I love spending most of the time at home with family, watching movies and, trust me, we end up watching 2-3 movies a day! I prefer travelling if I am not filming

for more than a week. I have recently started reading again, and really enjoy autobiographies!

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Vulnerable Charm

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Racy Romanticism

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Miss Sunshine

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The Look of Love

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Jewellery | SAVAAB

Yellow jacket | THE SOURCE – READY TO WEAR


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Doll Face

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T-shirt | MARKS & SPENCER

Faux shrug | PEPE JEANS

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