Manasvi Mamgai is grabbing all the eye balls for her hot role in her debut film 'Action Jackson' helmed by Prabhudheva. While the newbie has no qualms of exposing on-screen, she strongly feels uncomfortable doing a film like 'Ragini MMS'.
Ahead of her film's release, Manasvi gets chatty about her role in 'Action Jackson', working with Ajay Devgn and her opinion about the existence of casting couch in Bollywood.
How did 'Action Jackson' happen to you?
I think I landed in this film by luck mostly. Technically, the producers were casting. I met them during that time. Then, I met Prabhu Sir. He found me very thin. I did a casting for them because I look very different on screen. Everything went perfectly from the dance, to the acting, to the look. I had to do some weight training to get muscles. People transform on screen and he realized that I look good on screen. It was just a very lucky day.
Describe your experience of working with Ajay Devgn and Prabhudheva
I was very nervous in the beginning. Much of my portions were shot abroad. I came down for the India schedule to know how they work and how they feel. I have seen Ajay Sir since I was a child. Prabhu Sir is an icon for those who dance. I went on the set to hang. If I had gone on set and just started shooting, I wouldn't be able to perform. But they made me very comfortable. Ajay sir is a sweetheart. He gave me a lot of technical tips while shooting. My focus has always been acting well and performing well but he taught me how to catch the light right and face the camera properly. Prabhu Sir is very strict. He is a taskmaster. He is a perfectionist. He wants people to be best! He doesn't say much or scold but will keep staring till you have got it right. No wonder he is the highest paid director.
At any point were you intimidated by Ajay Devgn?
Off camera, I was intimidated by Ajay. On Camera I get the confidence to perform. Off Camera I was a little.
Tell us about your equation with Sonakshi Sinha and Yami Gautam
The actresses with me were all cool. Sonakshi is very bindaas. I bonded with Yami over Chandigarh, because I have studied there. We had a great chemistry on sets. I am fortunate that I was given Gangster Baby. It is almost the chartbuster song. I think everything is luck.
Were you comfortable exposing on-screen?
Boldness and exposing is quite challenging! Everyone is bold. What next. Everyone has done it. Top actresses have done it. I have done calender shoots, been on calendar as a model. Wearing short clothes and bikini is not the question anymore. I don't keep such limitations. My only inhibition is that the people who shoot it should be aesthetic and not be tacky. The backless shot was done with a stick on so it was not very difficult. It wasn't uncomfortable.
Instead of debuting with an ensemble film, do you think a solo launch would have been better?
If I had got a solo role, I wouldn't have got a role as great as this. It's a great role. Right now you are only seeing the glamorous part but once dialogues are out you'll realize my role is the film's base point. My character drives the film. It is a powerful role. Initially, even they stopped to think if they should give a new girl such an important role. It was the central character. All three of us have different tracks and no one is overshadowing anyone
But since you play a bold character in your debut film, don't you think you might be typecast?
Yes, people could typecast me. But people might also notice me as an actor. The glamour is only on the exterior. But this is a different role. No role like this has come in Bollywood. Hopefully they will appreciate my performance. Indian film industry is so great right now that people from the smallest roles have been picked up to do big films.
Are you a trained dancer and would you be performing action in Action Jackson?
Yes, I do have action too in the film. I trained in action. I went to Pondicherry to train in Kalaripayattu, that is a South Indian form of martial arts. Shifu Sir, Ajay Sir's trainer taught me some commando training. Also I am a trained dancer. I have been dancing since childhood. I learnt belly dancing, Bharatnatyam, contemporary dancing too.
Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma have broken the myth that models can't be actresses. What is your take on this?
All lead actresses have been models. The whole thing that models can't be actresses is wrong. I think Deepika, Anushka have proved everyone wrong. When you are coming from modelling, you need to very patient. I had offers but I had to wait for something this big. It is the patience that was tested. It wasn't a very tough struggle.
Since you are comfortable exposing, would you consider doing a 'Ragini MMS' kind of films?
I won't do Ragini. But Bhatt camp has come up with a few great films under Mohit and Kunal. Why not Bhatt camp? If there is a script which is good I will do it. I would like something more substantial than Ragini.
Any actor you are keen to work with?
I love Hrithik's looks!
I love the new films these days. I love Homi Adajania and Vinil Mathew also Raj and D.K. Lot of quirky things are happening and I am look forward to some of that.
Did you have pre-conceived notions about Bollywood which were broken when you actually shot for a film?
Acting used to look very easy. People do more than just coming and dancing! You have to shoot for days without rest. Sets are not always favorable. You can't be comfortable. It's very stressful, hectic.
What is your opinion about casting couch in Bollywood?
Casting Couch is everywhere. Since our industry is in the limelight, it is quick to notice. Pointing fingers when you are in glamour is very easy. It is just very individual opinion. If someone wishes and willingly gives into it, it is okay. I always think there is another way of going of making a mark.