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Exclusive! Mouni Roy: Interesting roles are being written for women and we have OTT platforms to thank for that change

In an exclusive interview with OTTplay, Mouni Roy talked about how her special-appearance meeting with Brahmastra director Ayan Mukherji turned into a full-blown discussion about her villainous role in the film, explained why she would never shy away from taking on negative roles, and answers our questions about all the ‘Shivaaaa... Shivaaaa...’ memes that are still floating around on the internet.

Exclusive! Mouni Roy: Interesting roles are being written for women and we have OTT platforms to thank for that change
Mouni Roy

Last Updated: 02.51 PM, Feb 18, 2023


To some, she is fashion’s favourite child, while others call her the social media queen. But there’s this one aspect to Mouni Roy that everyone seems to be agreeing on—that she is damn well good when she is bad.

During a virtual interview through a video-calling platform, the actress, whose vocabulary does not include catchwords like ‘umms’ and ‘uhhs’, revealed how she was ‘dying’ to be a part of the Brahmastra universe (her last big release), why she doesn’t give two hoots about being typecast as the ‘grey gal of Bollywood’ and reacted to some of the memes that her film has inspired in the last few months or so.

This is an edited chunk from a lengthy interview with the star. Read on...

OTTplay: So, going back to your last release, the concept of Brahmastra is really new, especially in India. So, while taking on the role, did you have any apprehensions ki yeh chalega ya nahin chalega? Or, did you think how's the audience going to react?

MR: Not at all, I think I had gone to meet Ayan for a special appearance in fact, and you know, the meeting was supposed to last for only 10 minutes. And we ended up talking for three-and-a-half hours. And the moment he kind of narrated the universe of Brahmastra to me, I was completely sold. And I knew that even if it was a special appearance, I wanted to be a part of that world. I wanted to do it. Six months later, it turned into a full-fledged main (character), as in the main negative or the villain, the antagonist's role and I couldn't be happier. There wasn't a moment of doubt in my head that whether or not I wanted to do the character. I mean, I was getting to work with Shahrukh sir, Nagarjuna sir, and Mr. Bachchan, Ranbir and Alia in one project. Like I would have been really foolish and plus, it's such an important (film) and such a strong, powerful character. Junoon was something that was challenging me after a very, very long time. So, I was dying to be a part of it.

OTTplay: You have been liked for your negative roles in the past as well (Naagin, soap opera) and then we had your big reveal as you being the villain of Brahmastra. Do you fear that going forward you will be typecast as the go-to person for negative characters?

MR: Not at all! I mean, I have always played positive parts that didn't shy away, like shy Ayan away from casting me for a negative (the villain) part. So, I don't I think times has changed. And I also think that interesting, very interesting roles and parts are being written for women and we also have the OTT (platforms) to thank a lot for that and for this change. There are so many new stories coming in, you know, there's so much heart in these stories and so many of them are so Indian in nature. So, I truly believe that this is a great time to be an actor, to experiment and to show your personality. And I'm very happy that Brahmastra happened. And, you know, it doesn't matter for me. Honestly, it doesn't matter if the part is positive or negative. Now, as long as it's a good part, it's a meaty role, it’s an author-backed role, and if I have something to add to the script, or to the movie, I would blindly do it.

OTTplay: As you already know by now, your character Junoon was undoubtedly one of the winners of Brahmastra and anyone who’s watched the show has appreciated your work and rightly so. How was it like to receive so much love and adulation for a negative role?

MR: Overwhelmed! Did not expect it! (I am) extremely grateful, thankful, and I could go on using more adjectives, but it wouldn't be enough. Really, really, really grateful that all the audience's received the character in the film so well.

OTTplay: Junoon was very intense in her approach towards whatever she chose to do and was quite offbeat. So, what are the qualities that you have sort of learned from her? And, how did you prepare for the role?

MR: I guess they're two different questions. So, how I prepped for the role. To begin with, I had to unlearn a lot because Junoon was not is not like any other character I have ever played. Like you said, she's very powerful, but at the same time, her confidence is very... it's a quiet confidence. It is very inwardly, (and) there is no projection outside. She should evoke a certain kind of fear or power just by standing there, just by looking. So, that was a very difficult character for me to understand to begin with, and then you know, then to kind of go and act. So, Ayan (Mukherji, director) was very clear from the beginning that he did not want it to be loud or caricature-ish, my acting. We kind of sat and discussed with the writer and me and, you know, whatever little workshops that we did, or readings that we did, he used to explain it to me that her relationship with Brahma Dev is like my, Mouni’s relationship with Shivji—my relationship with God. Or say, Lord Krishna, so it was just between the two of us. And I mean, I was just operating from there, whether I had to say a dialogue, or I had to just stand there or I had to do movements. And then, you know, it was a very difficult character for me to prep. But, I guess, Ayan would explain things to me in a way where I would understand it, there was great synergy and energy between the two of us. And yeah, that's all (smiles!)

OTTplay: So, what are the qualities that you imbibed from her? Like you mentioned, ‘the second part of my question’?

MR: I guess the confidence, and the quiet satisfaction of knowing that she will achieve what she wants no matter what. And the focus with which she will, you know, try and attend the Brahmastra... Yeah, these qualities.

OTTplay: Since you mentioned Ayan, his passion for movies is palpable, right? So how was it working with, as they call him, the wonder boy of Bollywood?

MR: Magical! He is a wonder boy, and I think I truly think he kind of understands and value the culture, the diversity that our country has and the fact that it's an origin of many Astras, like you say. You know we keep watching all these different universes that the West creates, the Hollywood creates, but, we as Indians, we will never understand that our we are a country of storytellers. There are so many stories from North to South, East to West, and so many different cultures, religion and mythology. And he, I truly believe, the fact that he thought about creating this universe and kind of infuse mythology and science-fiction and the kind of world you were created with the VFX it's never seen before in our country and kudos to him for trying to do that. And, I'm very thankful that he included me to be a part of this world and project (laughs!)

OTTplay: I am sure you know about this: Brahmastra dialogues have generated a lot of memes on the internet. With some even going to the extent of calling them ‘dated’. Your two bits on that?

MR: (Laughs!) Nothing, yaar! Why focus on anything negative; give us love. I'm only concentrating on the love and there's so much love that has poured in. Why should I concentrate on anything other than that? (Chuckles!)

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