by ASJAD NAZIR
TV Gold to Bollywood’s bright lights.
MOUNI ROY ON MAKING HER BIG SCREEN DEBUT WITH AKSHAY KUMAR IN SPORTING DRAMA.
BEHIND every great man is usually an even greater woman who helps guide him to success.
In newly-released Bollywood film Gold, Mouni Roy plays one of those unsung heroes as the wife of the manager who helped guide India to their first Olympic gold medal after independence.
The talented TV actress makes her big screen debut opposite A-list star Akshay Kumar
in the tale based on real life events and already has further big Bollywood projects.
Eastern Eye caught up with Mouni to talk about Gold, her time on TV, inspirations, passions
away from work and more…
How do you look back on your time working in television?
I don’t need to look back! I have always maintained that I am a very proud television actor and have the utmost respect for TV. Whatever I am and whatever I have is because of television. So it is like home for me and I am never leaving it.
But yes, I have taken a break for now from television and am very excited about this phase of my life too. I have a few films and am looking forward to doing a lot of hard work.
What is the biggest thing you learned working under the challenging environment of TV?
I learned everything that I know about acting, professionalism and behaviour in general, in that how important it is to be a disciplined and a good person. So everything I learned from there.
How did you feel landing such a huge film like Gold? I was ecstatic like anybody else would have been in my place. I auditioned for it and was praying it would happen. Two months after the audition, they said we would like to go ahead with you and I got the part. I was very happy, but initially I was also nervous. So it was a moment of disbelief and nerves for me, but it all worked out and the film is now releasing.
Gold is about guys trying to win India’s first Olympic gold after independence, but where does your character fit into the story?
My character is very integral to the story. When you watch the movie you will see. He is the manager of the team and she manages him. It is an important part and I couldn’t have
expected anything better than this, so I am very happy this happened to be my debut film.
What is Akshay Kumar like as a leading man?
He is not just the hardest working man and amazing co-star, but is a beautiful human being too. He doesn’t believe in any kind of hierarchy on set and never makes you feel like he is such a mega-star. He is the same way to everyone from the director to the spot boy. When it comes to performing, he is so sincere in every one of his scenes and so serious about
his work. When you look at him work, you realise why he is where he is today.
Do you have a favourite moment in the movie?
The entire film is my favourite moment because it is my first one, so I can’t choose between scenes and songs. It was just a beautiful journey and a wonderful process. I enjoyed every bit of it, Asjad.
Gold is a sports drama, but how much are you into sports yourself?
I am not a sports person at all. In school, when others were doing sports I used to be in the choir group. But if you are talking about activities, I love dancing and have been doing that since childhood. That is something that I really enjoy and always will.
Did you learn anything new doing this film?
In terms of doing new things, I had to work really hard on my accent because that is not the way we speak in our normal life. There is always a chance or fear of it becoming a little caricature-like or not sounding authentic, so that is something that I worked hard on. So let’s us see how people react to it.
What about learning something new about hockey?
Not really. I didn’t spend much time on the field and left it to the guys. I was only a part of the songs, otherwise I wasn’t on the field.
You are already landing great films, what is the master-plan going forward?
There is no master-plan! The plan is just to work hard and let life surprise you. I will keep working hard and go for all the auditions I am called for. I believe that good and honest work will get you more of the same. I have been surviving on that for so many years in the industry and will keep doing that henceforth too.
You are a versatile actress, but do you have a dream role?
Yes, I want to do the role of a dancer one day. Like an Indian classical exponent in a dance based movie or be a part of a Broadway show. That is my most favourite and biggest dream.
How do you feel that a TV show you helped make popular in the first two series, Naagin 3, is topping the ratings right now in a huge way?
I am ecstatic about it because it is my baby. It’s the show of my mentor and my friend (Ekta Kapoor). I owe her everything! I owe her my life! So I am very happy it is doing so well. Naagin is a brand and will continue to be number one in the coming seasons as well.
I have always said that. It’s successful because of the brilliant storytelling and fantasy fiction. In the west you have vampires and witches; we have our Naagins and the snake woman, so the concept itself is great and I feel great about its success.
You are hard-working, but what are your big passions away from work aside from dancing?
I love to read, I like to sketch, I like to sleep and love to eat. I am passionate about pottery. I love puppetry, but haven’t been able to make any puppets. I really like Bunraku,
which is like a Japanese form of puppetry. I am glad that you asked me that question Asjad, nobody does.
What are your inspirations?
I love everything that is creative. I love a good performance. A good singing or dancing performance makes my heart happy. Being in nature fills me with happiness, like going to museums. What inspires me today is everyday life. I see all these kids playing outside on the road, people working hard to meet their needs, which are great inspirations.
The less fortunate make you appreciate what you have in life. I feel everyone should draw inspiration from everyday moments. I think God is in the little things and inbetween what you do and how you do it.
You have massively-dedicated fans, how much do they mean to you?
I am extremely grateful to them. I have one of the most faithful set of fans and they have been there since I started acting. No amount of adjectives would be enough for me to thank them all, but I try doing my best and work harder every day to never disappoint them. I hope to continue to do so.
You have a lot of young girls who look up to you, but what advice would you give those who are just starting off on their journeys?
Just to be free, educate yourself, which is very important, and get to know between the rights and wrongs in life. Do what your beautiful heart desires.
Why should we watch Gold?
You should watch Gold because it is a story that is untold. It was a momentous moment in history for India. Everyone, including me, knows India had won that gold, but when and how it happened is something none of us knew, especially in a structure where India had just got independence in 1947.
Within a year we won gold without a social structure and the democratic system hadn’t been set up yet. It’s relevant and something to be proud of. Hockey is the backdrop, but at the forefront is different human emotions everyone will relate to. You will not be disappointed when you watch Gold.
- Gold is in cinemas now.