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Mouni Roy: Salman Khan has had no role to play in my Bollywood debut

Mouni Roy: Salman Khan has had no role to play in my Bollywood debut

Mouni Roy: Salman Khan has had no role to play in my Bollywood debutRoshni OliveraThe actress gets candid with BT | Aug 13, 2018, 01:00 ISTAs a child, she nurtured dreams of being an IAS officer, but destiny clearly had other plans for Mouni Roy. After slithering her way into the hearts of viewers, TV’s naagin is now set for the big screen, as she stars opposite Akshay Kumar in 'Gold'. In a candid chat with BT, Mouni speaks about making the transition, choosing to keep her personal life private and why she doesn’t like Salman Khan’s name being dragged into her interviews. Excerpts...
You are all set to make the transition from television to films with 'Gold'. Considering the fact that i t’s not easy for TV actors to make a successful shift to Bollywood, how would you describe your journey?
Television has given me everything and I am a very proud TV actor. Films, for me, is another medium and yes, this is a very exciting phase of my life with 'Gold' releasing and some other projects in the pipeline. It’s been quite a journey. There was a period when I was very busy with 'Naagin' and later 'Naagin 2', and was completely caught up in the shoots and other events. Then suddenly one day, I got a call for Gold’s audition. I remember I was on the set of Naagin and had to remove my make-up and rush for the audition during lunch break. I requested them to shoot somebody else’s scene after the lunch break, because it wouldn’t have been possible for me to finish the audition and return on time. After that, two months passed by and there was no news. Then one day, I got a call saying that I had been shortlisted and the make rs wanted to meet me. We met, they spoke to me for two minutes and I was on board. I had already read the script and loved it, and I was absolutely elated to be a part of Gold. That’s how it all began.
A few years ago, while talking about Bollywood, you had said that you’d rather stick to playing lead roles on TV than do something insignificant in films. You chose to wait and that has paid off...
I am a very secure person and that’s how I have always been because of my parents. I don’t like to rush into things and would rather wait for the right time. I’m extremely emotional, but all my emotions and fantasies are restricted to literature or my close friends. When it comes to work, I’m clear about things. So yes, I was always sure that I would never leave everything that I have, to do a film just for the sake of it. If it was something that didn’t excite me, I wouldn’t take it up because I was content with what I had. In that sense, I am a h appy person.
Television, too, has its share of ups and downs. You made your acting debut with the popular show, 'Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi', but after that, there was a lull until you returned with 'Devon Ke Dev Mahadev'. How did you cope with that?
Actually, that was a different phase and there was something else going on in my mind at that time. I was contemplating going to Delhi and becoming an IAS officer, I was very good academically and my dad always wanted me to be an IAS officer. But I also loved acting and so, eventually, I decided to stay back.
When news of you entering Bollywood first emerged, it was said that Salman Khan would give you your first break, which clearly is not the case. So, did Salman have any role to play?
You should actually pose this question to Ritesh (Sidhwani, producer of 'Gold'). Salman Khan has had no role to play in my Bollywood debut; I don’t know how these reports emerged and I wonder why anybody would do that for me. Is it so unbelievable that after acting for 10 years and being a Bengali, I can’t land a Bengali character’s role by myself? It was hurtful.
Go on...
How could such false news do the rounds? What hurt me was that the media gave me no credibility as an actor. It was my moment, but they took it away from me. Also, if I talk about this, it will look like I am using Salman sir’s name for publicity, and I don’t want to do that. He is someone I love and respect immensely. I have been his fan since I was a little girl, and I used to collect his posters and pictures. So, I don’t want to just take his name, but now that this has come up, let me clarify that I have not got a single call from Salman Khan’s production house for any role.
What about 'Dabangg 3'? Aren’t you a part of it?
No, I haven’t received a call for any film.
Do you thin k one needs a godfather to make it in the film industry?
What has worked for me is hard work and luck. It’s about the unison of time, space and action, it’s about being at the right place at the right time. About one needing a godfather, I don’t know how that functions because I have never had one.
How was it working with a senior actor like Akshay Kumar in 'Gold'?
He is an amazing human being to begin with. He is a superstar, but he never lets you feel that. I remember on the first day of shoot, I was very nervous. I had to smile for a scene, but I was just showing my teeth. That’s when Reema (Kagti, director) actually came to me and said, ‘Don’t be so much in awe!’ I give Akshay the entire credit for taking away my uneasiness. One thing you can learn from him is sincerity. He is so much fun generally, but the moment the camera is rolling, he gives his 200 per cent. That’s very inspiring.
Being a Benga li, did you have any inputs to offer him for his character?
Not at all. In fact, he helped me and would tell me to take certain pauses or incorporate certain nuances in my mannerisms. Also, there was a dialect coach for him, so he didn’t need my help.
When you started as an actress, you were quite open about your personal life, which is not the case anymore. What brought about this change?
I was very young. It was not about being open; it’s just that I didn’t understand anything. My father always taught me to be honest, as he said that makes life easy. But I genuinely believe that your personal life is your own, and you should talk about it only when you are comfortable.
But no interview of yours can be complete without a question on actor Mohit Raina, popular as Mahadev. There have been rumours about the two of you being a couple since many years. Are you seeing him?
I am single.
Mohit is getti ng into films, too. What do you have to say about that?
I wish him all the best.
Why do you think it’s difficult for TV actors to make an impact in Bollywood?
You can’t generalise it. Every person’s journey is different. On television, people are doing exceedingly well and are happy.
Filmmakers tend to believe that TV stars are over-exposed and that perhaps goes against them. So, did you consciously keep a low profile over the past year or so?
No, I got this film while I was doing 'Naagin 2'. In my case, I was not planning to leave television and wait for films to come my way. After 'Naagin', people told me that I should try my luck in films, but I went ahead and did 'Naagin 2'. If this movie had not happened, I would have done the next 'Naagin', too.
So, where does television figure in your scheme of things today?
Right now, I have taken a b reak from TV, because I genuinely have no time. TV is my home and I am never going to leave it; I will somehow find a way to be connected to TV. I just want to enjoy my work, give it my 100 per cent and leave it to God. I believe that you should let life surprise you and take you where it’s supposed to.
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