Actor Maanvi Gagroo plays a pivotal role in Ayushmann Khurrana and Jitendra Kumar starrer Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan. The actor sat down for a quick chat with indianexpress.com.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Tell us about your character in the film
I play the character of Goggle Tripathi. At my character’s wedding, Ayushmann’s character Kartik Singh and Jitendra’s character Aman Tripathi publicly reveal their relationship. Goggle is a typical Indian girl who thinks marriage is going to validate her existence. Through the film, you will see the character change. My character also gives out the message of self-love and how marriage is not the validation of one’s existence. Goggle’s character also speaks of the importance of being comfortable in your skin.
What about the script made you say yes?
My only criteria to accept a film or role is that I should enjoy it as an audience. I do believe that everything you do should have substance or some takeaway.
For me, screen time does not matter much as long as there is something for the character to do. I am okay about doing even one scene, but the character should help the story to move forward. Also, the film should not propagate any wrong message to the audience.
You have been part of Article 377 Ab Normal and now, Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan. How does it feel to be part of a change in the industry?
It feels amazing. I remember having a chat with Hitesh on sexuality, gender and much more. He was surprised that I know so much. I am a psychology student, and one of the subjects was gender studies. So, I do have a bit of knowledge about it. Having said that, I am very excited in general (about the change) because so many new concepts, formats are being explored (in the industry). It is a great time to be in the industry as a writer, actor, director, and so on. So many experiments are happening, which is exciting.
Do you think the film would have been received well if the leads were women?
We have seen how women-led films have been reduced to being a women-oriented film and marketed as the same. That is where the flaw lies. We, as an audience, need to focus on the story rather than looking at the star cast and their gender. I think the fact that Ayushmann headlining the film did help. I also feel, in general, society is more receptive towards lesbians but attach the taboo to men. If two men hold hands or do any such gestures, they are made fun of. So, I think it was important to target that section of the audience, especially with a commercial film. But I also agree the reception of the film would have been different if the two leads were women. It would have been sexualised to some levels, if I may say so.
A mainstream actor taking up such a role. How do you feel about it?
Things could have gone wrong. There could have been a major homophobic backlash from Ayushmann’s fans. However, you cannot deny that Ayushmann is a great actor. I know for a fact that he feels it is our job to do different parts. And the best way to do that is to challenge yourself with distinctive roles. It (different concepts) has become a niche for Ayushmann. It was very brave of him to accept this role. Also, in the film, they are very upfront about their sexuality because they want to prove and say that now even the government has normalised same-sex love. He has done his job well.
Is the audience ready for such bold concepts?
The audience is ready to watch the concept (of same-sex love) as a film. Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is an entertaining film, and that is what the audience wants to watch. But it will take a lot of time for the change to get implemented or reflected in the society or a person’s life. But even if one person has a change of heart, we win. We have taken the first step, but there is a long way to go (to normalise homosexuality).
How was your rapport with Ayushmann and Jitendra?
I have known Jeetu for a long time. We even worked in The Pitchers together. I am a huge fan of Jeetu because he is genuinely a good actor. I tell him that there is no role that he cannot play convincingly. Jeetu was like my brother on the sets. I am very fond of him.
Ayushmann is one of those people who instantly puts you at ease because he understands that people put their best foot forward when they are comfortable. He is not starry and doesn’t even throw tantrums. He would get upset if we would treat him even a bit special on the sets. You learn so much from him.
You are also part of Four More Shots Please 2. What new will we learn about your character?
In season 2, you will know Siddhi more deeply. She will discover herself in a better way. In the first season, she was struggling with how she looked, her sexuality and much more. In season 2, we delve deeper into it. I would say that season two is a notch up than season one in every aspect.
How was the shoot with the same cast for the second time?
Great. We had a new director. So, the energy was new, but the familiarity and comfort with the cast helped. Most fun scenes are of four of us together, and we played off with each other’s energies, which was really great.
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