Interview By:DRISHTI PANDEY

Manjari Fadnis – the ‘Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na’ and ‘Grand Masti’ girl was full of energy when we met her to interview about her upcoming film ‘Wah Taj’. She seemed super excited and spoke to us about her films and journey till date. Read on…

“It’s not fair if someone calls my industry bad because I get very offended personally, because I’m part of the industry”

‘Wah Taj’ seems to be an interesting story all together and also the characters in it so tell us about your character and the preparation you had to go for it?

I’m basically playing Sunanda Marathe in the film who is Tukaram Marathe’s wife. She is a fiery woman, she is a supportive of her husband equally go with him and support him she won’t be a submissive wife, she’s is full on out there giving equal support to her husband and walking shoulder to shoulder to fight in getting the Taj back. So that’s my role in the film. My main preparation was getting the accent right. I’m a Maharashtrain and I know Marathi but not so well phonetically I know how the words sound.  So I would observe my Marathi maids that I have, how they would speak I would listen their way of conversing in Hindi because it’s a Hindi film because Marathi ill know easily and accents ill know my dialogues and say but since it was like I had to speak in Hindi with Marathi accent which was a challenge so I heard I listen to my maids while they talking to me in Hindi which was very helpful so that was one thing I did and also observing the Bhaji walis and how they talk. And I think body language I believe when you wear a particular outfit your body language somehow just comes with that so body language changes with the kind of attire one wears because it happens with me I don’t know about other people. I tend to change with the outfits I wear, my body language becomes different when I’m wearing a saari , it becomes different when I’m wearing a short hot dress, it becomes different when I’m wearing my casual shorts and top so all these things I had to do and then I did a little back story of this girl what she must have been like a little girl and stuffs like that so all that homework I did.

What is that one thing that convinced you to say yes to a script?

Script! Also my character and what role I’m going to play and how challenging it is. Mostly what role I’m playing makes me say yes sometimes scripts give you lot of scope for performance, or sometimes there’s a great star cast so it’s good to be a part of a bigger film for example like ‘Grand Masti’ had a smaller role for me; we were six girls in it but it was a big film with big banner and plus Indra Kumar direction so it also depends on the production house and the director  and  sometimes it depends on the star cast but I like to choose my films on the bases if the script that’s the first priority but there are times with good star cast and all which attract me to the film so it depends.

How has your journey been from ‘Jaane Tu.. Ya Jaane Na’ to ‘Wah Taj’ Do you feel matured as an actor??

My journey has been beautiful. I’ve met some of the most talented, passionate, creative people in the industry and I can boost about haven made really good friends and learnt from a lot of people. It’s been a slow journey for me I have done a few films but those which has satisfied me and I’m happy and I’ve learnt a lot and I’m still growing so even though it has been a slow journey it has been a progressive one which is something I feel good about and I would also like to say that the industry is beautiful it isn’t the way people portray outside the industry who are not a part of the industry and who doesn’t know anything about the industry. They hear all the gossips and bad sad news, a few unfortunate suicides that happen and they blame it on the industry which is a very convenient thing to do for the people who don’t know anything about the industry. What they don’t understand is that there are good and bad people everywhere and there are as many good people in the industry as there are outside and as many bad people in the industry as there are outside. So it’s not fair if someone calls my industry bad because I get very offended personally because I’m the industry and I’m part of the industry. I wish some day they understand that it’s a beautiful world. Yes, there are bad people you’ll have bad experiences but how you handle them it depends on you; whether you bitter out of it or you take it positively so it all depends on you. So I’m very content with my journey till now and I’m striving to do better and become a better actress. I believe this is one industry which teaches you life at the fastest speed possible. I think rejection teaches you a lot because you go for so many auditions; some you get selected for most you get rejected for so, so much of rejection also teaches you about yourself, about dealing with failures, dealing with success because it’s very easy for success to get into your head and then you act pretty stupid and weird and then it just ruins your life like kicking you back to your place. So there’s a lot of learning which goes out in the industry which is beautiful.

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What challenges you the most while shooting a film?  And also were there any challenges came across while good and bad times?  

I love my job and I enjoy every challenge that comes my way. The only biggest challenge is that; not on the sets it’s to do with I think to be an actor it is very important to me emotionally strong because as I said you have to deal with rejections, you have to deal with ups and downs because there are some beautiful ups and there are some downs and every actor goes through that phase.  I remember 2012 just about 4 years back now I was going through my low phase like every actor goes through a low phase. Low phase in terms of people had not seen me too much for I think one year actually because ‘Zokkomon’ had released which didn’t work. ‘Jaane Tu.. Jaane Na’ that was my only Hindi release after 2008 and ‘Zokkomon’ happened in 2011. So basically the audience had not seen me for a while in Hindi cinema but I was doing a lot of work in south films and stuff. And I’m not good in promoting myself I can’t talk about what’s happening in my life; I don’t and I’m horrible at promoting myself. So there was nothing for people to see in Hindi cinema and there was a very reputed newspaper with a very mean column which wrote something very mean so it wrote like “Manjari Fadnis all play no work” which was really sad and it was a very mean and bitchy article which said something like now she has no work and she’s only seen in parties; once upon a time she was a nice girl and now she’s walking around wearing skimpy clothes some nonsense like that I read about me. Actually low phase in a sense because I wasn’t seen but actually I was very happy in life there were good things happening also in Hindi everything was going up for me because I had signed two films that time; one was ‘Grand Masti’ and one was ‘Warning’ with Anubhav Sinha production and that’s the film I’m extremely proud of. I had come back from the shoot after working extremely hard for two months in the ocean because the film was in the ocean deep and was working really hard and I had a break and I came back so some journalist saw me partying with my friends who I had after three months because I wasn’t in the country for a while so when I saw this article about me, I laughed at it first saying “ what do you know, you wait till my film comes out” and then it suddenly struck me that I feel good that this article came at a good time in my life because if that article had come at a genuine low phase when I really didn’t have enough of work because this happens with every actor’s life be it Amitabh Bachchan be it anybody it just happens where either you are so busy that you don’t have time to breathe or there’s a dull phase that you don’t have much work and you keep recreating yourself, you keep rediscovering yourself, you keep doing different things. So if I was at my low phase and that article had to come I would have felt really bad and I had to deal with it, because it came in that good phase that is why I laughed about it but I did feel bad and suddenly got that hit so we have to deal with these kind of things and ignore what people talk. So there are a lot of things which we have to deal with and it’s challenging things which you have to be emotionally strong.

 How different is it working in films down south and in Hindi films? In terms of change in language and the whole process?

It’s different but it’s good and it’s fun because I love languages and I enjoy learning languages. Of course Hindi is more homeground, I personally enjoy working in Hindi more but I’ve also enjoyed doing south films as well. It’s been difficult but it’s fun at the same time. And not much difference but main difference is the language and it’s as organised here it’s just a myth that industry down south is more organized than Hindi but I think all the Hindi films. I have worked on till now is extremely organized and well managed.

Apart from acting what interests you more as we have heard you are a singer as well?
I discovered performance live or stage live from singing because my nani was a classical music teacher, my maasi is a professional singer, so singing came to me naturally my mother also sings. I had learnt classical singing when I was in school but I haven’t practiced like others do, so I’m not as good as most of the singers I haven’t really done my riyaas and all because acting took away all my passion and my focus. So yeah whenever I get a chance or an opportunity I do. I’ve given myself a playback in a Tamil film and sang for India Pakistan peace, there’s a very famous singer in Pakistan called as Fakhar-e-Alam I did one song and one album with him called “soniya ve sajna” then I did one single with Raghav Sachar and I have many musician friends and I get along very well with musician personally because of my inclination towards music and I will be soon collaborating with another friend of mine which everyone will know soon.

How was it collaborating with Shreyas and your overall experience working with him? 

It was brilliant and Shreyas and I got along extremely well. His a very chilled out person and so much fun to hang around with, he used to pull my legs and make fun of me but it was all fun and in good humor  so it was crazy time on the sets. He is a very supportive co-star and he helped me a lot even performance wise, and actually when you work with a good actor the whole give and take happens naturally it’s a beautiful process when you working with a good actor there’s so much to learn and they help you grow even while you observing them and we all know his a great actor and he is someone who can come up with something immeditaley. So we both had deiced that we will go in our character looks for the promotions throughout even in the flight we went the same way; so that all already decided but for me and this character because of the lingo and all I need to work harder and I need my dialogues in advance so that I can work on my diction and my pronunciation what I’m saying and how my Marathi twist would come and to work on that so once I’m done my then I’ll say what I have to say but Shreyas on the other hand when he gets into his character even when his in an interview he will answer you back as his in his character. His very intelligent, sharp and witty so it’s really educational to watch him, its an experience to watch him perform and I feel very lucky that I got this opportunity.

We’ve seen you playing different roles and in different genres so is it that you don’t aim for a particular genre? And it’s a conscious decision that you take?

I want to be an actress, I want to be a good actress so I’m working hard and I like to do films which will help me grow I also want to do commercial films which will entertain the audience. I really enjoy doing comedy I really have a good nag for comedy if guided well with a good person to guide me like Shreyas in this and in ‘Kis Kis Ko Pyaar Karu’ Abbas Mastan’s  direction and Kapil’s timing and in ‘Grand Masti’ Indra Kumar’s comic timing when I work with people who have a good nag for comedy I know I can do very well and I’m a very romantic girl so I know I’ll be very good at a combination of a romantic comedy. That’s a genre I would love to be a part of because I love watching those kind of films but that doesn’t restrict me from doing other genres; but  that’s the genre I would like to see myself.

On an ending note, what is that one thing you’ll take back with you from this film? And any particular message that the film will convey? 

What I would take back is the experience and basically the fun of working on this character, so professionally I’ll take that back and otherwise I would take back is this film actually got me back to my roots because I’m a Maharashtrian and I had not gotten the opportunity to live the Marathi culture because I’ve lived north all my life because my dad mostly got posted in that belt till my 8th grade then finally he got posted to Bombay and Bombay is more of a cosmopolitan city. So the Marathi culture which I had missed out living, I lived through this film with the whole attire, with the whole body language and the Shreyas’s company. So I really enjoyed being in my culture.

What’s next?     

I have a short film which is released called ‘khamaKha’ which is on you tube on digital platform and it’s doing really well and people are liking it. Then I have two more releases after ‘Wah Taj’ which is ‘Baba Black Sheep’ and one is called ‘Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai’ so that’s all that will be coming up next.

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