Maanvi Gagroo, who shot to fame with one of India’s earliest web series, Pitchers, and has recently appeared in Milind Dhaimade’s film Tu Hai Mera Sunday, recently caught up with Guardian 20. She talked about why she prefers acting in films, even though the content in the web space is always great.
Born and brought up in Delhi, Gagroo, shared with us that she was a little apprehensive about the role she was offered in her film, as there wasn’t much screen time for her and she was worried of getting lost in the star-laden cast. “In a multi-starrer film you are worried that you’ll get lost and not get noticed. But when I met Milind, I felt like because he was so involved in each and every character that I felt like he is going to do justice to all the characters.”
She plays the character of Vinta in Tu Hai Mera Sunday, which is about five youngetrs who are dealing with the issue of getting one’s own space—not just physical space, but also mental or emotional space.
Talking about the challenges involved in playing the character, Gagroo said, “It might sound silly but Milind never gave me any directions. I’d ask him what do I do but he’d just be like, okay, just be yourself. He kept telling me, ‘Be yourself, be yourself.’ And I was like, no, but give me something. So that was my struggle. Initially I had a little bit of issue with that, and I was like what do I do? I was trying to figure it out. But after a time you need to have complete faith in your director.”
Gagroo, who debuted with a Disney TV show, called Dhoom Machao Dhoom in 2007, and did a series of advertisements for Idea, says that she loves working in films the most.
“I enjoy films the most, between stage and camera acting, I enjoy camera acting more which is really rare because most actors prefer the stage. But my deal was that I started with camera acting and then I started doing stage. So, with camera acting I feel more at home and I think it comes more easily.”
She further added, “What is exciting about the web is that the content is great and there is such good stuff. I enjoy the web, but as a medium I enjoy films more. You are attached to the film and then you develop the character and you are involved in its every aspect and after you finish shooting you have dubbing and then you start promoting the film.There is excitement about the music launch so love the whole package.”
When asked what kind of a leading role she would want to now play, Gagroo, who is a trained dancer, said that she is a huge fan of masala films and is even ready for an negative role. However, she doesn’t want to do anything regressive.
“I love masala films, I would love to dance. The only thing I don’t want to do is anything regressive and that I think is the problem with female leads on TV. I understand that not every character will be this activist character, but at least normal characters that we see in our daily lives. Around us, we see such strong women or people fighting their own struggles, but somehow in films there is such gender bias/stereotyping. Even if it’s an evil woman character, I would love to play it. I’m not endorsing that anyone should be evil but the character should have some substance.”
Gagroo said she loved Bhoomi Pednekar’s character in Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, and Kangna Ranaut’s character in Simran. She is also a huge fan of Konkana Sen Sharma who remains her idol in Hindi
We asked Gagroo—who is a psychology major from Gargi College, Delhi— if there ever was a plan-B for her in terms of a career choice. She said, “I had never planned to become an actor, actually. I had started acting while I was still studying so I was like, this is so fun, I will keep doing this. But I never thought of making a career out of it. I even applied for my master’s and I got through and then suddenly I got this one film—Aamras—so that is how it all began.”
When asked about her idea of a fun Sunday, which is also a theme of her recent release, Tu Hai Mera Sunday, Gagroo said, “I just want to chill and do nothing. In fact, there are times, since we don’t actually have a schedule in this field, that we sometimes don’t have weekends as such. So whenever there is a day without work that is my Sunday and I don’t even feel like going to the gym on that day, so I just sleep, read, watch something on Netflix.”