EXCLUSIVE: Gul Panag on her character in Manoranjan: The challenge was how to make Lalita likeable

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Manoranjan featuring Gul Panag was released on Thursday. The actress has not only played Lalita in this project but also produced the short film. This short film features Gul, playing the role of Lalita, a simple homemaker who lives a fairly ordinary life in the small town of Rajasthan. And the plot of Manoranjan revolves around Lalita whose travel plans are cancelled, solely because of the arrival of an unexpected guest. The short film is interesting and leaves the viewer in question at every step. Gul Panag joined Bollywood Bubble for an exclusive conversation. In an exclusive interview with us, the actress opened up about her character of Lalita, how it inspired her, the challenges that the team faced during the making of the short film, and much more.

Where did the idea for Manoranjan and the character of Lalita spur out from?

I started thinking about this sometime in the first lockdown. And, it was about ‘How do we deal with this disruption of our best laid plans’. The second thought was a character, who is the quintessential Indian homemaker, which is 99 per cent of Indian women, who have spent the best years of their lives, taking care of their families. The third pillar was, ‘How one deals with a trauma that comes to you at some point in life’. The character was very clear in my head.

You are the person who stayed true to your character even when there were reservations about how the short film would convince the masses. How did you manage that?

I feel the director Suhail Tatari must be given credit. For two reasons, one because he is excellent in directing, the layering that he brings out in all characters and the other thing is that he knows what I’m capable of, and he will not settle till he gets the scene. Because he is the person I learnt acting from. My very first acting job was with him.

 

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Any challenge that you faced bringing the character of Lalita to reality?

The challenge was how to make Lalita likeable who also happens to be a practical Joker. I mean, it’s not nice to play a prank on a 20-year-old kid. So, how do you make Lalita likeable, how do you make people show sympathies with her. I think that was the challenge that Suhail Tatari (Director) took up and always could do. And then, what Sukhmani Sadana (Writer) did with the dialogues was phenomenal.

Were there any other challenges that the team of Manoranjan faced during the filming of the short film?

It was very challenging. Most people do not believe that the film was shot in Mumbai. It really was a challenge to find such a small house which is a typical government quarter. But, it also gives you other challenges, like shooting in a small space. Because the camera has to move. They need space to place the camera. The bedroom was so tiny that there was no place.

How was it working on an interesting project like Manoranjan?

I’ve enjoyed this film so much, the process. Because the seed of the idea came from me. And to take it to the conclusion, from the idea to the development, dialogues, all the way to the movie. For me, it’s been an end-to-end creative process. It has been a new experience for me.

 

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This was your second short film with the platform after Disconnected. How was your experience?

I think it is an incredible platform. The amount of freedom that you get is unparallel. And I have been a producer since 2014, almost 6 years. But, working with Large Shot Films, made me realise the creative freedom that they give you, almost spoils you.

You are also the producer of Manoranjan, do you plan on venturing into production?

Yes. It is my second short film. But I definitely see myself producing more films in due course.

What is the kind of content you look forward to producing as a producer?

I think you have to be inspired at that moment to know what to do. I don’t think there can be a fixed plan as such.

Can you share something about the meaning behind the title Manoranjan?

Manoranjan means ‘Entertainment‘ . And ultimately a practical joker is doing what they are doing for their entertainment.

Any interesting projects that you have in your line-up? 

I have two interesting projects. I have almost finished work on Vikas Bahl’s drama. And, I have this wonderful film with Nagarjuna.

Meanwhile, Manoranjan was premiered by Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films today. The short film is produced by Gul Panag and directed by Suhail Tatari. It is written by Sukhmani Sadana.

Also Read: Gul Panag doing push-ups in a saree is the most inspiring video you will see today