Tanya Maniktala is aware that her work post the success of her 2020 series A Suitable Boy will be under the spotlight but the actor says she doesn’t want to get bogged down by the weight of expectations.
The Delhi-based actor got her breakthrough last year with Mira Nair’s A Suitable Boy, an adaptation of Vikram Seth’s 1993 novel of the same name.
The show earned Maniktala global acclaim for her portrayal of the lead character, Lata Mehra.
The Delhi-born actor said she is at a stage in her career where she wants to push herself as an artiste and not hold back fearing any “pressure.”
“As an actor, I want to now grow as much as I can and tap into my full potential. The pressure has increased but I want to channelise it into something that will bring out the productive side in me and not in a way that will dismantle my peace of mind,” Maniktala told PTI in an interview.
A Suitable Boy released at a time when the county was under the coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown. The pandemic and the show’s release on BBC One, followed by its debut on streamer Netflix, helped her work reach a bigger audience, Maniktala said.
At a personal level, the 24-year-old actor believes the show’s success not only opened the doors for more work but also reaffirmed her passion to act.
“From not wanting to be an actor to now fully pursuing it, that’s a big change in me. My family has accepted that I am getting into this profession and are supportive. Since COVID, I have been locked up at home. All our events were happening virtually. But it also worked in my favour because ‘A Suitable Boy’ reached an audience that it might not have had the lockdown not happened.”
The actor currently features in the Netflix anthology, Feels Like Ishq. Maniktala stars in the Ishq Mastana segment, directed by Jaydeep Sarkar. The short chronicles the story of a spirited activist, Mehr (Maniktala) and a privileged teen, Kabir, played by actor Skand Thakur.
Maniktala said Feels Like Ishq not only offered her an opportunity to do a love story but also aligned with the work she was keen to take up.
“Romance needs a lot of love. Not just from the actors or the director, but the entire team. We were fortunate to have a great team. All of us clicked with each other, everything just fell into place. Amidst all the chaos — we were filming on the roads, losing light — everything felt perfect. Today, interesting opportunities like this are coming my way and I’m grateful I have gotten a chance to work with such interesting, wonderful people,” she said.
Talking about her character, Maniktala said Mehr is a combination of “dreamy and pragmatic”.
“Mehr is a vocal person. If she believes in something, she will go for it. She has a fire in her, which I found appealing. Then she meets Kabir, who is completely indifferent. He is there at the protest but without any reason. She is a combination of dreamy and pragmatic, she is fierce yet so vulnerable. I have been wanting to play a character like this,” she added.
Feels Like Ishq has been produced by Mutant Films and Awesomeness TV. The anthology currently streams on Netflix.