After having been ‘Missing In Action’ for some time now, Manjari Fadnnis is now all set to re-announce her arrival with the extremely talked about series ‘The Freelancer’
Last Updated: 10.10 AM, Aug 24, 2023
She came, she saw, she conquered... and she vanished... only to resurface again! We are indeed talking about the ‘bubbly-cious’ lady Manjari Fadnnis. After having made her debut in Bollywood, she went onto films down south as well. After having been ‘Missing In Action’ for some time now, she is all set to re-announce her arrival with the extremely talked about series ‘The Freelancer’.
OTTplay caught up with the multi-talented Manjari Fadnnis for an exclusive interview. Here are the excerpts:
To start with, why were you MIA when many wanted to see MIA (Manjari In Action)!
(Laughs...) There came a point in my career a few years ago, when I was just not happy with the kind of work coming my way. That’s why I consciously decided to go out of action. I will go MIA till something really excites me and challenges me; I will not sign. I had done projects in the past before going to MIA where I did some different and interesting characters. But unfortunately, at the box office, it did not work. Having said that, like, I still got a beautiful response from the journalists and the media. And they've all been extremely supportive of my work. And I'm extremely, extremely grateful to them. The fact remained that even though it seemed that I was missing an action, I wasn't.
This happened around 2017… right?
Yes! Around that year, I decided that I was seriously getting out. I'm going to work on myself and will do theatre for some time. And which is why for two years, I did theatre. I did two amazing plays. To me, they were extremely fulfilling as an actor. And, as a person, it was creatively and emotionally satisfying in every way. I got to learn a lot. And at the same time, I just waited for the right projects to come my way. And I'm so happy I did that. Because, after that little break that I took, I started getting better offers. In the projects thereafter, people saw me in a very different roles… for the first time ever. I'm so happy about the reactions that I got from there that I started getting the kind of complex and challenging characters. So, let me tell you… I am not MIA anymore… I am BIA… Back In Action!
How does it feel that people still relate to your character in ‘Jaane Tu Yaa Jaane Naa’s Meghna and your ‘what’s this’ game?
I think it's a beautiful feeling that a character you have had the opportunity to play, still kind of moves people and affects them in a beautiful way. And they still remember it! I am saying this, because we are in an industry where the attention span is so short. People just tend to watch and forget. In this kind of scenario, if people still remember your character that you have played so many years ago, it's so gratifying!
Back then, there were people who also found the character annoying!
You are so right! Around fifty percent of people absolutely loved my character in the film, while the other fifty percent found it annoying, as they felt that my character was dumb. She's this, but I think over years, it kind of people have started understanding of character better over years. Even today, after so many years, I get messages as to how much people can relate to my character in the film. At the same time, I do wish that other works of mine get as much love from the audience. I just wish that happens too… (smiles).
Not many know that you had started off as a contestant in a singing based reality show in 2003. What’s happening on your singing front? Are you still training in music under Sucheta Bhattacharjee?
I actually gave my first play back in 2009, when I sang for Yuvan Shankar Raja. I did the playback for the character that I was playing on screen in a Tamil film. That was a beautiful track. But here's what happened. Unfortunately, when people saw my name printed in the album, they mistook me to be Manjari, the famous singer down south. Recently, I have made a few singles with some musician friends of mine, which I have yet to release. I hope you guys get to hear a lot more of me.
How did The Freelancer happen to you?
I have been wanting to work with Neeraj Pandey sir for many years now. He has always been one of the people in my wish list of directors. And finally, when I kind of got a call for the audition, I tested for it with Neeraj sir actually directing me in the audition! Finally, I got shortlisted. I do have to confess that; it was a tough competition because they had tested a lot of girls and the shortlist of girls were all brilliant. When I finally got selected, I was extremely emotional and excited.
Can you touch upon the role, your character?
I am playing the role of Mrunal, who happens to be Avinash Kamath’s wife. My character is more of an emotional anchor to the strong, hard actor. We have a very deep bond and both of us are very deeply in love with each other. Apart from that, there is also an unfortunate tragedy, which also binds us. And also, because of that tragedy that happened, my character becomes mentally unstable. My character is very emotionally volatile. She is easily triggered and extremely vulnerable.
The series is based on Shirish Thorat's novel ‘A Ticket to Syria’. Have you read the novel?
No. I haven’t.
Since you have not read the novel, what were the reference points for your role?
I had no reference point for my role, I had to create my own reference point. I did a lot of interesting reading about the psychology of what my character was going through, among the other aspects.
What was your immediate response/ reaction after you were offered the role?
I was so happy that I was getting to be a part of a brilliant project.
What are the parameters that you see before saying yes to any project?
The most important thing for me is the screenplay and who is making it. Also, the director and the team which has put up the project, I think that's very important for me.
Which has been the most memorable moment/s while shooting for ‘The Freelancer’?
My first scene in the series. You have to see it to understand what I am saying!
What are your future projects?
I am doing a project called ‘Pune Highway’. There’s ‘Penthouse’ with Abbs-Mustan sir. There is also ‘Chalti Rahe Zindagi’, which has been creating waves internationally.
Before we wrap up, what’s your take on your co-star Imran Khan making a comeback?
He has been MIA for way too long! Not just me, but many are eagerly waiting for him to make a comeback!