Becoming a character by forgetting yourself is no mean feat. In a candid, informal session, actors Mona Singh and Arjun Mathur of Made in Heaven share how they 'get into' or become their characters.
Every actor goes about preparing his or her character in a different way. For some it is instinctual, for some it is all about practice, for some it requires drawing upon sensory memories. In Film Companion’s Streaming Adda 2023, a number of critically acclaimed performers of this year were invited to speak about their how they became on with their unique characters, their struggling years, maneuvering through social media as a celebrity and the pressures of being a star for the public.
The panel of actors featured the likes of Mona Singh and Arjun Mathur from the Made in Heaven S2 team, Gulshan Devaiah and Adarsh Gourav from Guns and Gulaabs, Wamiq Gabbi for her performance in Jubilee, and Gagan Dev Riar for Scam 2002- The Telgi Story.
The session was hosted by Suchin Mehrotra, who began by asking the actors a fun question, “If I was a fly on the wall and I was watching you guys prepare for these characters in the weeks leading up to shoot, what would I see?”
Made in Heaven Season 2 gamechanger, actress Mona Singh gave an interesting response, "So, for me, I think, I take inspiration from music. So every time there is a new character that, you know, comes to me, I try to find my song. And I constantly listen to that music, I keep reading my dialogues, but I mostly practice in front of the mirror in the bathroom, always.” laughed the actress candidly, “And I always look demented.”
She jokingly mimicked herself practicing for a few moments, saying, “I keep doing that,” before a follow up question was posed, inquiring if she has a single specific song or allots a different one for each character. To this Mona answered, “One or two songs, always. Always. Always I find the song. Even to cry, I have to find a song. I relate to, uh, music.”
On the other hand, her co-star, Arjun ‘Karan’ Mathur had a different approach to preparing his character. He laughed while declaring that for Karan in Made in Heaven, he would have mostly been seen either working out or removing body hair for his LGBTQ+ hunky character. He honestly admitted, “Generally, I’m ashamed to say I don’t prep too much unless it’s a part that really requires me to change my physicality or vocal quality.”
He further explained that if he has to play a normal character, a guy like himself, then “there is really no prep for me.” He then simply prefers referring to the text or script constantly, having multiple conversations with the director, and then following “an instinctive thing” on set. As Arjun admitted, “That’s the way it comes out best for me.”