An Interview with Mandy Takhar
Jassi catches up with UK Born actress Mandy Takhar, who is slowly but surely making a name for her self in the Panjabi film industry.
1) Mandy, you swapped Wolverhampton for the Punjab, was it quite a drastic change?
Well I moved to Mumbai, not Punjab. Apart from the heat and it being a little over crowded, which I don’t mind very much now Mumbai is very much a fast-paced, Cosmopolitan City, a bit like London to some degree (where I studied theatre, before leaving for Mumbai). The most drastic and difficult change I found moving to Mumbai was not having my family and friends around me all the time.
2) Was it difficult breaking into the film industry?
Yes it was. At first I had no idea how and where to start. Once I settled in I did what every other aspiring actor does, which is make a portfolio, distribute it to casting directors and agencies, wait for a call for auditions, gave the auditions and prayed for the best….and that’s how I got all my work so far.
3) Would you relocate anywhere else, in terms of acting?
Yes, for a while I would if the right project came along, but ever since I was eight years old my dream has been to become a Bollywood actress, so Mumbai is suiting me really well right now.
4) What was the experience like working on Ekam, and more so with Babbu Maan?
It was a great experience; I felt closer to my roots being Punjabi myself. I loved being in Punjab and the people on the sets, as well as Babbu Mann fed me my favourite Punjabi dish; makhee dhi roti and saag with a pool of butter in it everyday! I did put on a few kilos by the end of the movie, but it was well worth it. Babbu Mann was very inspiring because he’s very dedicated and hard-working when he’s working on his movies.
5) Could you relate to the character you were playing in Ekam?
To some degree, yes. She fought for what she believed in and that is something I can relate to and really admire in people.
6) Would you like to do more Punjabi films, or would you prefer to go Mumbai for the Hindi / Bollywood industry?
If I feel I get projects that appeal to me I will be happy working in both given industries. It all depends on the scripts and the storyline. If I like them, then why not!
7) Neeru Bajwa has been the star of many Punjabi films and now is debuting her first Hindi film, Prince, would you also like a break in Bollywood?
Yes! Of course I would love a good break in Bollywood!!!!! I can’t wait for that day!
8) Are there any actors you would like to work with in particular?
Shah Rukh Khan! He makes one feel all the emotions he is portraying while enacting them. if he cries, you cry. If he laughs, you laugh – and that’s not an easy reaction to get from the audience by all actors.
9) You have starred in Ekam with Babbu Maan, did you need to brush up on your Panjabi language skills?
No, not at all. From a very young age my parents encouraged me to go to the Gurdwara every Saturday and Sunday to attend Punjabi School. Me and my sisters all did our GCSE’s and A levels with the top grades in Punjabi. At the time I hated waking up on days off school but now appreciate it to the core as Ekam would have not been possible had they not made me learn my mother tongue. And I’m very proud of my roots and my mother tongue, Punjabi.
10) Kulraj Randhawa was in Hindi drama Kareena Kareena before her Punjabi film debut, have you given any thought about staring in any serials?
Serials don’t really appeal to me at present. At the moment I just want to concentrate on feature films. I would love try my hand at some action or comedy. Comedy is in fact my favourite genre of film. And action, because I have been practicing kick boxing and would love to show off my kickboxing skills!
11) If young girls were wanted to follow in your footsteps and pursue an acting career, what advice would you give them?
Be well informed as to how to go about pursuing your career. If you’re interested in working in the film industry is to make a portfolio first of all. Then contact agencies and go for auditions and keep at it. That’s the professional and honest route of doing it, there are no shortcuts here. You have to be prepared to work very, very hard. While looking for work and while working itself it can sometimes be disheartening because you’re constantly competing for the same thing with about 100 other girls but you’ve got to remain very focused and have a positive attitude. Be true to yourself and work on your weaknesses and nurture your talent. You will win some and lose some but as the saying goes, “win without boasting and lose without an excuse” and the rest should fall into place.
12) What’s next for Mandy Takhar?