Manish Gandhi, who entered Na Bole Tum-2 as Addu, has now reached the end of his journey with the show as Munna. Let’s see what’s on Manish’s mind as he leaves the show.
1. So it’s the end of the road for Addu/ Munna/ Jigri?
My character in the show served as a foil to the estranged son Addu. This character was never planned the way it turned out to be, I was meant to be on the show for just 2 weeks! A great response from the audience and some recent developments in my life encouraged me to continue working. After it reached a point where I felt there was absolutely no way my character aided my growth as an actor, I had a discussion with the makers of the show where we amicably decided to bring my track to a closure.
2. How will your role end in the show? Any chances of you coming back to the show?
My role technically ended with the revelation that the character played by Kanwar is the real Addu. However it was kind of the writers to pen an exit for my role in the episode when the court grants bail to Mohan Bhatnagar. Whether I’ll come back to the show will depend on how well my character gets woven into the story line, my availability and if there’s anything challenging and new for me to look forward to, as an actor.
3. Tell us about the experience of playing Munna in the show, both as an actor, and the experience of working with the cast.
As an actor I found it extremely tough to deliver within the constraints that the TV industry works in today. While it took me some time getting used to the long hours, the real challenge came with performing in the instances where other characters could speak lines to support the action of the scene and I had to come up with a new action each time, ensuring that my choices don’t distract much from the main action. This can get tricky; especially when a performance is greatly controlled by the way a scene is conceived, written, shot, edited and packaged.
It was amazing working with the cast of the show. Each day of work has added value to the wonderful bond that I now share with each one of them and will cherish for a long time.
4. What kind of reception had you expected? Was the audience’s response better than expected or worse?
I came on board with the understanding that I am entering a show that has an existing fan base. But I didn't think much about how my character would be received by the audience. I think it’s mainly to do with my personal philosophy towards my own work; I don’t really seek approvals. I know that if I enjoy my work, the audience is bound to appreciate it.
5. Which actor did you bond with the most? Describe each of them in a sentence.
I bonded very well with whoever I got a chance to spend time with. I clicked instantly with Madhuri Sanjeev who plays Bela Jiji, a veteran with a very rich theatre background, and an inspiring woman; she has made a special place in all our hearts, mainly through our stomachs.
I met Siddharth (Beera) at a script reading session last year. An absolute delight to spend time with, he has an inherent ability to make any conversation fun.
Kanwar (Addu) helped great deals in getting me acquainted with the way a TV set functions, particularly through my initial days in the show.
Bhamini (Aarti) makes awesome dal baati, and we've had brief but sweet moments together.
Reem (Rimjhim) hates me. She is one actor who I have succeeded in irritating to the core with my endless pranks and name calling. I absolutely adore her.
Aklaque is a very positive guy, someone who would happily give you your space. The best guy to share the green room with!
Jayashree (Nanhi) is someone I can go and speak almost anything with. She can make an instant connect with anyone through her lovely nature.
I’ve spent a lot of time discussing the current TV scenario with Pallavi (Ragini) and we agree on most things.
I had my share of learning working with Rinku (Renu) and Kunal (Mohan) and with Aakanksha (Megha), I graduated from discussing theatre in spare time to teasing through close up shots. I’m really happy for Aakanksha. (about her engagement)
6. Any incident that you remember from the set? A tough scene, or any time spent with your co-stars?
There’ve been so many of them. Kunal’s ITA award party remained the highlight at the sets for most part in the weeks to follow. A scene where I gulped down a bowl of kheer offered by Jiji Bua remains one of the memorable scenes, mainly because I don’t like kheer. Unfortunately this did not get included in the telecast. Another scene with Megha where Jigri calls her ‘Amma’ for the first time, or the introductory scene with Mohan, these have been interesting too. Eeju scenes were the ones I was most uncertain about, owing to the absurdity involved, but I’m glad they worked and gave a different dimension to my characterization.
7. What will you take away from the show?
I am now, more confident to perform in any given constraints, particularly keeping in view the demands of the medium.
8. Tell us about your last day on the sets.
It was just an ordinary day. I reported at the sets early afternoon, completed my days work and walked away with a smile on my face.
9. What are your future plans?
Two of my theatrical productions, Cock and Proposal would be staged in Mumbai and Bangalore through July and August. Besides I am looking to produce a new play for September before I leave for London. I was recently awarded the INLAKS scholarship to study acting at LAMDA, one of the world’s best drama schools, and I’m busy preparing myself for the big shift.
10. Any parting words for the viewers of Na Bole Tum-2?
I just need you all to know that your good wishes have affected my life in a positive way. And I am very thankful to you for that.