Updated: July 27, 2021 8:58:58 am
Tanya Maniktala says she’s learning the tricks of the trade everyday. The actor, who’s been around for nearly three years, has already got to play lead roles in projects across genres, including Mira Nair’s A Suitable Boy and TVF’s Flames. “I’ve been very lucky and I thank my stars and the people who gave me this opportunity,” she said in an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com.
Tanya, who had two simultaneous releases last weekend – Feels Like Ishq (Netflix) and Chutzpah (Sony LIV), claims to be slowly finding her ground onscreen by doing varied characters. Tanya said, “With A Suitable Boy I learned so many things, including the technicalities. There, I had a reference point in the book. With the projects I’m working on now, I’m learning about content and creation of the character. There isn’t any point of reference except to get inspired by people around you.”
She added that each day, she learns on her job, and feels anthologies like her two latest projects are a way forward for the audience that has a short attention span. “As a consumer of content, I find anthologies very interesting. Like it may have a larger theme of love, but if you see the individual stories, they all depict different shades of love.”
But does that make building a character graph difficult as compared to a longer format, say a TV show like A Suitable Boy with more screen time, as compared to an anthology like Chutzpah? She opined, “In a longer format, you give a character, a beginning, middle and end. In anthology or a shorter time format, your character development is more detailed in your own head. You need to do better homework since you don’t get that much time onscreen to dive into it. So, you need to take cues from the writer, director on how they perceive the character.”
Detailing more about her role in Sony LIV web show Chutzpah, where she plays Shikha who’s in a long-distance relationship with Vikas (Varun Sharma), Tanya said, “Chutzpah is a very unique concept. It is a show about the new age digital world, and how this long-distance couple braves through it after internet joins them as a third party.”
Chutzpah has Tanya doing a lot of crazy things while seducing her partner virtually to keep the spark alive in her relationship. Tanya agreed that she was bit uncomfortable to do all those things on screen. “I laughed and thought they were joking. But Simarpreet Singh (director) was adamant in pushing me out of my comfort zone. It is a very important part of keeping the relationship alive and from going monotonous, especially if you’re in a long-distance where you lose that close proximity with your partner. It was tough for me, I won’t lie. I did feel a little uncomfortable. But the team made me so comfortable. This time I was in for a challenge and I’m so glad I did that.”
Tanya added that though she did not get to physically share screen space with co-star Varun Sharma, real-life zoom calls with him became an icebreaker and that rapport got reflected on screen too. “We all know the potential of Varun as an actor. He’s such a nice human being. So, whatever limited zoom interactions we had, we’d always be laughing and having a great time. That’s how we hit it off and kind of build on our chemistry,” Tanya said.
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She did laugh at the mention of how none of the characters she’s played so far, have had a smooth brush with love. “Is it ever easy in life? Love is never simple. Every relationship has its own share of highs and lows. I don’t think it’ll ever justify to only show the highs,” she added.
Tanya’s character in Feels Like Ishq is poles apart from Shikha. The actor says she’s lucky to have had two releases on the same day on different platforms. “In Feels Like Ishq, you’ll see a different shade of Tanya. Meher is a young student who’s very vocal about her beliefs. It’s a story that’s setup in a protest and centered around the theme of love. I feel very vulnerable towards both Shikha and Meher. I’ve given a part of myself to them and I love them both dearly,” Tanya shared.
Her upcoming film Mumbaikar stars Vijay Sethupathi, Vikrant Massey, Sanjay Mishra, Ranvir Shorey and Sachin Khedekar. Tanya said she pounced on the opportunity of working with such a cast and director Santosh Sivan. “It is the story about different people living in the same city, and how the narrative runs parallel and intersects with their lives, with the city playing a major part. These concepts seem very bizarre, yet very interesting to me.”
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Tanya, however, confessed that as she’s exploring more genres and mediums, she’s also trying to get used to social media, even though she isn’t good at handling it so far. “I do want to enjoy it and keep it as personal and interactive as I can, to give my audience an insight into my life. I’m blessed to have received so much love and I think so far, I’ve met very kind people online,” she said.
“Trolling and all is a part of it. Initially, I did get affected, but then my friends told me you can’t function like that. One much appreciate and embrace the love. I’m learning to stay connected with my audience everyday,” Tanya added, while concluding that she’d like to work in a thriller or investigative mystery or play a murderer on screen.
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