Maanvi Gagroo’s connection with web series goes back to the time when the trend had just arrived in India. She was part of TVF Pitchers, which was out in 2015. She says that a lot has changed in the medium since.
“It’s still new and very dynamic. It’s finding its space. Everybody I know is either making or acting in a web series. There is a lot of work, and everybody is busy. But I also feel that something similar had happened when satellite television had come. Initially, everybody came on channels. Some survived, some couldn’t,” she says.
She observes that in the beginning, there were excellent shows in different genres on TV. Still, gradually, there was the pressure of churning out content. “So, the quality dropped, and everything became stagnant. I think a similar thing is going to happen with web too. There are so many players, and new web series are streaming every week. As viewers, we are spoilt for choice but how much can we watch,” she quips.
Maanvi is currently promoting the second season of Amazon Prime Original -- Four More Shots Please, which will start streaming from today. She is very excited about the series as she hasn’t watched it yet. “I have only watched it while dubbing and the trailer. I am yet to watch the entire series,” says the actress.
Those who have followed the first season and watched the trailer of the second one will agree that Siddhi (her character) has finally found her voice, which Maanvi says is completely true.
“The season two starts with that where you don’t know what she is doing. She is trying to figure things out. She succeeds in some, fails at others and that’s where she truly finds her voice,” the actor says.
She adds that in the beginning, there was very little for her to connect with the character. “She had two major conflicts -- her relationship with her mother and her body -- and I couldn’t connect with either of them. I wasn’t on the same page,” she says, adding that it was only during shooting one of the scenes where Mihir (Rajeev Siddhartha) proposes to her. She tells him, ‘I love you, but I am not sure if this is what I want’, that she kind of felt the connect. “Everything is going perfect, but there is something that keeps telling her, ‘There’s more that I want from life’. I related to that emotion,” she says.
Not just protagonists but Four More Shots Please is also dominated by women on the set, which Maanvi says, definitely changed the way the project was handled. “We used to discuss everything. We were having an uncensored conversation with each other, and we had to remind ourselves constantly that there were guys around. That was quite a refreshing feeling because otherwise, there are more men on the set than women. It was a lot of fun and comfort,” she says.
Maanvi says that when she is choosing a role, whether it’s a series or film, the social standing or message has to be something she agrees with. “Often, I end up saying yes to a lot of projects because I agree with their message,” says the actress who was recently part of Ujda Chaman, Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhaan, 377 Abnormal.
In many of her projects, she has been subjected to body shaming. Maanvi says that until she came into the film industry, she did not think she was fat or chubby. “When I started out, people didn’t know how to slot me. They were like, ‘We can’t cast you as the lead because you do not have the body. You are chubby’, and I was like, ‘I am normal’. Every second or third girl had similar kind of body,” she says, adding, “So, I went through my own journey. There were times when I felt sh*t about myself while at times, I did not care. There were times when I was being appreciated for my work. I wasn’t expecting things to look up but suddenly, they were,” she says.
She adds that body-shaming is what we are discussing now and we often blame the industry. Still, we have to realise that these people are part of society too. “If we stop doing it in our individual life, why will it show on the screen? Even if the maker feels that body type is not an issue, he knows that a major part of the audience is going to judge the actor based on how they look,” she explains.