‘My male friends were jealous because I was working with Demi Moore’: Mrunal Thakur


Mrunal Thakur, who played the bubbly and vivacious Bulbul in Kumkum Bhagya, makes her film debut with Love Sonia in a de-glam role. The movie, which has already won acclaim at international film festivals, is now releasing in India. The actress talks about playing the title role of a girl trapped in the global sex trade, how she prepped for it and why she chose an unconventional project for her debut.
Love Sonia is finally releasing in India. What are the thoughts going through your mind?
I am quite excited and nervous because this will be the first time that people will be buying tickets for my film and sharing their views. I am also eager to know how they absorb the movie and what message they take away from it.
This film tackles the serious issue of sex trafficking. Didn’t you want your debut film to be a love story or a romcom?
I always wanted to do a film, but wasn’t sure what kind of movie I would do. This one is about two sisters and what happens to them. When I auditioned for it, I connected with the character because I love my sister a lot. Also, on TV, I had done light roles, characters that were close to what I am in real life. Here, I was out of my comfort zone, I wanted to try and push myself. Also, despite being a newcomer, I got an opportunity to play the titular role, for which I salute director Tabrez Noorani. I worked with the most dedicated and passionate people in the film. Most of my male friends were jealous of me because I was working with Demi Moore!
What kind of prep did you have to do?
I had to lose some weight, but since I was already working out, it wasn’t difficult. We also did a couple of workshops. I went to Sonagachi (Kolkata) to meet the girls (who are into flesh trade) to figure out what their real life story is.
It took them a little while to open up and express themselves. Hearing their stories gave me the chills. These girls look so full of life but their stories are so hard-hitting. They are the real winners for me. They have a right to live a happy life.
How difficult was it for you to shoot the scenes?
The director, Tabrez Noorani, made sure that he did not shoot anything that I wasn’t comfortable with. There he used sound and camera angles. Yet, I broke down during several scenes. There is this one scene where I, as a 17-year-old girl, is being sold off to a 60-year-old man. I told my director that I cannot do it. All he said was, ‘Mrunal, I will not force you to do it, but remember if you do the scene and the world sees it and even if one girl is saved, that’s your achievement’. That egged me on. We finished the scene in one take. I can’t tell you the satisfaction I got. I felt I was not just performing, but doing something for a cause.
After Love Sonia, you have Super 30 with Hrithik Roshan..
Yes, my first film is about two sisters and my second one is about education.
As an actor, I have the benefit of being a privileged voice for an issue, twice! Working with Hrithik was amazing. My first reaction when I met him was thinking that his eyes are so pretty! I was star-stuck. I had to tell myself to focus on my scene (laughs).

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