Tuesday, February 27, 2024

‘I’m a proud ‘OTT girl’; it’s all about bringing out my craft in the best way’

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Actress Tanya Maniktala, on the path of becoming a favourite of one and all, has been creating a mark for herself in the entertainment industry. Bringing out the best of her craft every time on-screen, she gets candid with The Pioneer’s Tejal Sinha, sharing her journey, making her musical video debut with Arijith Singh’s Dil Haareya, honing her skills with OTT, and more.
Evolved into more than just a promising face, Tanya Maniktala has proved why she was worthy of winning the title of Rising Star Award in 2020 at the Toronto International Film Festival for A Suitable Boy.
Well, look at the projects she’s been a part of: Flames, Feels Like Ishq, Chutzpah, Toothpari: When Love Bites, PI Meena, and Mumbaikar, all of them being extremely diverse from one another. And the budding star feels she’s been lucky in that way because: “the way that the industry has been treating me and with the kind of roles that I’m being offered; fingers crossed, I’m grateful. Honestly, it’s been a lot of fun. I feel so lucky that I got the opportunity to experiment with different mediums, be it with OTT, movies, and now recently, music videos.”
Once again, blessing her fans and audience with her musical video debut, Dil Haareya, with Arijith Singh’s voice, was the cherry on top of the cake. Filmed in the stunning locations of Georgia, the song features Tanya Maniktala and Danesh Razvi, the star-crossed lovers from the small-screen adaptation of Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy. In Dil Haareya, the two are seen once again navigating a complicated love story, but the powerful bond they share promises to transcend the geographical and cultural barriers dividing them. An extremely thrilled Tanya sharing her excitement of being a part of the music video, she says, “I know it’s been a telephonic interview and you wouldn’t be able to see me raise my arms and go like ‘hurrrrraaaayyyyy’. But that’s what I did. (We laugh out loud.) I mean, I just hit the jackpot with it, and as you said, it’s my first music video, and that too is Arijith Singh sir’s voice. I was being directed by a very special person, Asthasoom Sharma, who has now become a very close friend. I was working with Danesh, with whom I started my journey. So, it felt like a full circle, and I couldn’t have been happier to do it with anybody else, and the way it has been, it was just perfect.”
Basically, Dil Haareya opened up to her with the idea of love again because: “you know life happens with all these heartbreaks. In the end, love is the answer to it all. I mean, what are we without love? So just being open to the idea and that feeling and living in the feeling was my takeaway from it. So I’m grateful to Arijith Singh, Aastha, Danesh, and the entire team for making me open to this idea.”
For the music video, it was the second time that she has collaborated with Danesh Razvi, and it was definitely no less than a comfort level she had while shooting for the track. “It’s lovely to be with a friend because, for a music video, this was our first music video. I think we were in a very different sort of setting because we were working with a very different medium now. So having that comfort with each other and that knowingness with each other helps, and bringing that chemistry and fun that love and romance have was easier with someone you know about.”
Though if you look at her filmography, she’s for the most done OTT projects. So we really wondered if choosing mostly OTT projects was a conscious decision for her, and she says, “I think I haven’t thought about the mediums as such. It’s always been about whatever clicks with me. I think OTT right now has all the range because there’s so much content being created. We are experimenting so much with our stories and with our way of showcasing cinema with our characters. So I think it has not been a conscious decision, but it has always been about what has drawn me more. It’s just that we are more experimental that way.”
Basically, the P.I. Meena actress looks towards the people and the team that she looks forward to working with. “If I align with the creatives that they’re pitching and with the way they sort of view the story as a whole, what the story has to say, and the character that I am being offered, how much I contribute to the story and what the story as a society can contribute,” she shares, adding, “It’s all about bringing out the different shades that Tanya has. So it’s really about me experimenting with who I am and trying to find out my own greys, blacks, and whites, whatever you call them. It’s all about bringing out my craft, and it’s that. So let’s see where I can take these characters.”
No doubt, OTT has been a boon to many and has kept the actors alive. From several talented ones waiting for their opportunity to shine, OTT has been that ray of hope to shine. And so has it been for Tanya as well. “I need to thank OTT for everything that I have because all these things that I’ve gotten and the opportunities to do are only because we have been so open to having newer stories being told and newer faces being accepted in our day-to-day lives, so everything that I am is because of this place,” shares the Flames actress, who does agree when we ask her if she’s an OTT girl, and she gushes, “I think we’ve made the medium so important that we’ve forgotten what the main character always was, and that was the story. I think the story will always take it from me. The plot is where I am being sold. So if it’s the OTT or bigger screen, whatever it is, if the story clicks with me, I think that would be my selling point. Right now, I’m a very proud OTT girl.”
Having worked with some extremely talented and veteran actors like Tabu and Zarina Wahab, one thing that she has taken away from all has been being open to the idea of learning every day and accepting that you don’t have to know everything.
Now, as we head towards the end of this fun chitter-chatter, she signs off, saying, “I don’t want to list the types of characters that I’m looking forward to playing. As an actor, I don’t want to restrict or limit myself. I’m now really looking forward to playing some action-oriented and horror projects. If I am unable to offer something fresh to the table, it will undoubtedly go to someone else.”
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