Filmfare Exclusive: Manjari Fadnnis opens up about her experience in The Freelancer

We became fans of Manjari Fadnnis after her appearance in the 2008 rom-com Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na. The actress, recently featured in the widely acclaimed OTT action-thriller, The Freelance. In an exclusive interview with Filmfare following the conclusion of the series, Manjari shared insights about the new season, her character, and more.

Tell us about your character in The Freelancer.

I’m playing this character called Murnal. She’s basically, as we have seen in part one, she is going through a lot herself. I think Mrunal Kamat’s character brings that humanness to Avinash Kamat’s character in the series. My character has a different journey altogether where she is mentally unstable. and because of something that had happened in the past, where she kind of still blames herself for the death of her child. They (Mrunal and Avinaash) have a very beautiful relationship like they have stood together through thick and thin.

You had a great rapport with Mohit Raina in The Freelancer.

I think I had a fantastic rapport with Mohit. He’s a really talented guy and such a warm person to talk to and I’m so happy for him. He’s doing so well for himself. He has this whole poker-face sense of humour and I really enjoyed working with him. He makes the space very comfortable for his co-actors and he’s warm and friendly and sweet to work with.

Manjari Fadnis The Freelancer

How hard was it for you to tap into the emotional side of the character?

It was very difficult because I did not know much about dissociative disorder before and what happens to a person and stuff. I had to take a little help from my counsellor. I had a word with her because she had a better knowledge of it. And kind of took a lot of tips from her, like understanding of what a person goes through, what happens apart from that of course I had to kind of take it all from, like how somebody who’s gone through my situation and what way that will affect her life and what her behaviour will be like. I hope I’ve been able to showcase what I had thought and prepared while I was preparing for this role. I had a great time preparing for this role.

What are you feeling since The Freelancer is coming to an end?

I’m really excited about the second part of this coming out because I think it was supposed to be one entire show, right? And it was broken into two parts and everything. And the first part got so much love from the audience. I am of course excited because I have not seen part two but I’ve read it in the script so I know what is going to happen. And it’s going to be a completely edge of the seat thriller.

Manjari Fadnis The Freelancer

Your character from Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na is still considered iconic…

I get so much love for playing Meghna. It’s just very overwhelming because this was a character I played like 15 years ago. And people still love it and still talk about it. And in fact, it’s become iconic. I think it has a lot to do with the way it was written by Abbas Tyrewala. I think it was a very beautifully written character. It became iconic also because it grew on people. It wasn’t like, you know, when the film was released it hadn’t got as much love. I mean there were like 50-60 per cent of people who absolutely loved Meghna and couldn’t understand why Jai left Meghna. While there were another 40 per cent of people who did not understand the character very much. They didn’t like her but over the years, as people have grown and they’ve seen the film again and again, I think people have understood her better. And they have related to her character better because they have had similar experiences in life which made them understand her better.

What’s next on the cards for you?

So next year, I’ll have this project called Pune Highway, which is likely to be released in the first half, hopefully. So that is a project I’m really looking forward to. It is directed by the director of Barot House, Bugs Bhargava and Rahul Dukuna. It has Jim Sarbh and Amit Sadh. I’m excited about an independent project called Chalti Rahe Zindagi. It was made with a lot of love, with a small crew during the lockdown, and that film has been getting a lot of love from festivals, in fact, we just got a special jury mention at the DC South Asian Film Festival. Then there’s this project by Abbas-Mustan called Penthouse.