Mrunal Thakur: Filmmakers ask me despite being a heroine, why I play small roles
Actor Mrunal Thakur, who has been a part of web anthologies Ghost Stories and Lust Stories 2, and is seen in the recent web show Made in Heaven, talks about why she is okay being part of just one segment and not being insecure about screen time.
For actors, it’s very easy to get insecure of the screen time they get in a project as compared to others, and whether they are the face of a project or not. However, for Mrunal Thakur, challenging storytelling comes first, and rest everything takes a backseat. She was seen in one of the four stories each in web anthologies Ghost Stories (2020) and Lust Stories 2, and one episode of recently released Made in Heaven 2.
“Sometimes, filmmakers do question me that, ‘You are a heroine, why would you put yourself in a position where you are only playing a small role, almost like a guest appearance in someone else’s film.’ This is really something that I never thought of and not that I want to think about,” she tells us.
The 31-year-old adds that her approach towards acting is to “emphasise on the passion for storytelling” rather than the length of her role. “An actor’s biggest challenge is to deliver their performance in as little time as they can,” she says, crediting the late actor Irrfan who she draws inspiration from. “One of the biggest examples of this, and a person I worship, is Irrfan sir. He started with roles that didn’t have much screen space, but jitna bhi woh aate the, ek chaap chhod ke jaate the, and people remember that for life. He is my inspiration, and hence, screen space is never an issue for me,” she asserts.
Asked if she ever felt apprehensive before signing any of these projects that she is not headlining, and Thakur says, “What excites me is the filmmaker, because each one of them has a different way of working, and their journey is unique. I want to change the definition of smaller roles... there’s nothing like that. I work in this industry because I am passionate about acting and the process of storytelling.”
The actor, who has been part of films such as Batla House (2019), Toofan (2021), Jersey (2022) and Gumrah, further explains that being part of short stories in an anthology doesn’t mean the team is putting any less efforts while making them. “We shoot 120 days on film, so you get so occupied with the film that you do, and can’t give any other longer commitment. These short stories, for which the shoot lasts for five to six days are equally exhausting, but they allow you to take small mini breaks in-between. It’s challenging and in a way, every actor is selfish, as far as their performance is concerned. A long format of what I did would be too much for the audience to absorb, that’s why there are shorter stories,” she elaborates.
Thakur, who has had a successful transition from TV to films, stresses that there are some stories that need to be told and then the format does not matter, be it short film, feature film, an episode or a whole series.
“Sometimes, emotions in a story are such that you can’t show them in a long format. So, I’m glad I’m getting to be part of important stories,” she says, adding, “Someone once told me, ‘It’s exciting whenever you do a new film because we know that you will being something new to the table’. Sometimes I feel great to hear such comments, but at times, I also feel that bahut pressure ho gaya hai, ab next alag kya karein. So, I just keep experimenting with the work I do.”