Maanvi Gagroo was never a big fan of movies and would often copy dance steps from bollywood songs but taking it up as a legit career option was something that never crossed her mind. But, when TVF Pitchers happened in 2015, she took the social media and internet with a blaze. People loved her role as Shreya and the was no looking back for her since then.
Born in Delhi, Maanvi went to Gargi college, Delhi University where she majored in Psychology. She moved to Bombay about 7 years ago and the rest as they say, is history.
She started her career with a Disney TV series, Dhoom Machao Dhoom in 2007 while she was still in school and then did a series of ads. She also had minor roles in No One Killed Jessica (2011) and PK (2014) but it was Pitchers that brought her fame and recognition..
“Without a doubt! Post pitchers, many people started taking me more seriously as an actor. I suddenly became much more than a bubbly Punjabi girl( which is what I was beginning to get typecast as). Besides, how often can one boast of having played such a well written NORMAL female part,” says Maanvi.
Talking about her experience with Pitchers, she adds, “Probably one of the best experiences of my work life. From the beginning itself I knew we were onto something really special but I could’ve never imagined how far it would go, really. Everybody on set was working towards the same common goal and that energy on set was palpable.” We couldn’t agree more on the efforts that the cast had put in as ‘Tu Beer Hai’ became a hit among the youth and the aspiring entrepreneurs.
Shreya was definitely a path-breaking step in the career for Maanvi, but does it make a difference to her when people call her as the ‘First Lady of Indian Web Series’? While she laughed a little, she gladly expressed her joy on being called the same, “It’s sweet I guess. I love these titles, as long as they’re positive of course! I’m the ‘FLOW’ it seems.”
From her first episode on TVF Pitchers to her role in TVF Tripling, she claimed her territory and now she isn’t ready to look back. “I don’t think I ever want to be completely satisfied with my career. I do however, every once in a while, feel like I’m going on the right track. I’m really glad that people are finally beginning to see women as regular human beings and are writing fairly decent parts but we still have a long way to go,” she explains.
Maanvi says, “Professionally, one learns as they go along. I learnt to deal with people. I learnt that not everybody shares the same value system as you, not everybody shares the same perspective on things but these are all personal learning’s, which one ends up using inadvertently in their professional life.”
When asked about encouraging more girls to go after their dreams, Maanvi says, “Girls (and boys for that matter) need to be taught to question things. We ‘accept’ things too easily. Often not because they make sense but because that’s life as we’ve known or seen it, around us, in movies, in books,etc. We need the girls to know that they have rights, they have choices and they can make decisions. They also need to be made aware of the repercussions their decisions can have and that the responsibility of their decision is theirs but that’s a different conversation. None of this can happen without the girls getting empowered and education and financial security are major enablers for the same.”
Being from a non-filmy background, Maanvi had her own struggles. She recounts, “Convincing people that I’m allowed to have opinions. That I get to choose the kind of work I want to do. And that saying no to a project is also my right just like choosing me for a part is the makers’ choice. People get offended if I don’t agree to do a certain project or they say I’ve become too arrogant or whatever. This is when I’m very polite just not a pushover. So I guess handling people and their massive egos is what I struggle with.”
How different it is to act in a web series, an advertisement and a movie?
“Honestly, as an actor, the approach remains the same irrespective of the medium. It’s the external factors that differ. The budgets are different, the timelines, the scale. Also I feel there is a strong hierarchical nature to films which is missing in a web series. But then again, it’s probably just because web series are still relatively new while Bollywood is set in its ways,” explains Maanvi.
On her best work
I find moments in my performances that I feel, while watching and re-watching, are genuine. But there’s no one entire performance that I can single out. Let’s just say ‘My best is yet to come’.
So, moving on from her professional life, there is another side to Maanvi. She is a speaker. She loves to express herself. It was 7 years ago that she shifted to Mumbai, a home away from home was made.
“Every decision you take is yours. Own it. Whatever work you choose, you get to choose. Taking responsibility for your decisions, I feel, is what earns you respect and dignifies your work, if that’s what you’re looking for.”
She thank her family for being her greatest pillar of support throughout her journey. She laughs on recalling how her parents keep advising her about things they don’t even have a clue for, “It is the belief that I know I will never be rendered homeless or penniless that I can truly pursue what I want to, the way I want to. Despite not being related to this field my parents and family tries and offer me advice, whenever they feel they can. I know I can always turn to them, for anything. Touchwood.”
Sharing her life lesson, Maanvi says, “While making any decision, there’s one thing you must pay attention to. YOUR INSTINCT. You know that little voice in your head? Even if you don’t follow it’s advice, listen to it. It’ll tell you a lot about yourself, if nothing else. Pay heed to it.”
I’m the FLOW so I’m gonna go with the flow 😀