Buzz on the internet: Mrunal Thakur’s Telugu success, shattering movie preconceptions.

Mrunal Thakur’s journey began in a Mumbai hotel restroom. Before the 2018 premiere of her debut film “Love Sonia,” she expressed nervousness about transitioning from TV to films in an unconventional way. Despite safer options, she chose the film that “spoke” to her.

Now, six years and a dozen films later, Mrunal Thakur’s rise is evident. The Marathi actress has created a Telugu impact by following her heart, defying industry norms.

Stepping back from dubbing every emerging female performer as a national crush, the internet is currently, albeit quietly, praising Mrunal for her role in the recent Telugu romantic drama, “Hi Nanna.” Directed by Shouryu, the film features Nani but is notably anchored by Mrunal. Despite some contrived writing, a stretched climax, and an unnecessary dance number, Mrunal’s genuinely heartwarming performance shines.

Mrunal Thakur’s journey as an actor is intriguing. Starting with an international feature debut, she went on to star opposite Hrithik Roshan in her first mainstream Hindi film. After navigating through sincere but underwhelming projects, she has emerged as a formidable actor in Telugu cinema. Interestingly, her Telugu releases, “Hi Nanna” and “Sita Ramam,” have provided her with both the platform of a performer and the presentation of a star, something that her acclaimed Hindi films haven’t achieved.

It’s hard to look away from Mrunal’s romanticization by the camera in Sita Ramam and Hi Nanna. She joins the scene in the prior love romance fifty minutes in. As the compartment emerges from the shadows of a tunnel and Dulquer Salmaan’s voice-over creates a legendary buzz about the woman he is going to meet, a train coupe door slowly swings open. Wearing a white saree, Mrunal makes her Telugu debut. She remains silent. Dulquer and the audience are enthralled with one other, and they both have the same thought: How is she not the one?

An almost hair-flip introduction sequence involving Mrunal and Nani sharing a lovely moment on a Goa beach is followed by a similar scenario in Hi Nanna. Without giving anything away, he’s telling her about the appearance of his wife. Mrunal, who keeps staring at him tenderly and with affection while allowing only her eyes to communicate, is the reason the scene works in addition to the language, Nani’s performance, and the whimsical background music. Just by virtue of Mrunal’s extraordinary ability to convey romance through her eyes, this great scenario is elevated and manages to remain unexpectedly aspirational. How can she not be the one, in spite of the two films’ differing tones? remains the question here.

What sets her two South releases apart, though, is that they avoid the gaze—a trap that other actors have fallen into before. Though it may be a pejorative term, a lot of actors have previously been reduced to little more than what is effectively a “flowerpot.” A specific fan base is attracted to such roles, which are blindingly popular. But again, as history has shown us in a variety of industries, if one doesn’t step outside of their comfort zone, the outcome is always the same: they begin to be replaced by the newest person, who is given the responsibility for such stock roles.

Female performers have rarely been offered anything appetising to chew on in A-list star vehicles, particularly in Tamil and Telugu. It is because of the men that the women are in the story. However, that has been carefully avoided by Mrunal’s decisions so far. Despite the fact that the stories are told from the perspectives of the males, the genre of romantic dramas, which includes both of her Telugu films, guarantees women substantially greater agency and narrative control. The women that Mrunal has in Sita Ramam and Hi Nanna are necessary for the men to survive.

Mrunal made an expected choice in her second Telugu film, the heartbreaking and delicate Hi Nanna. The actor had previously discussed how challenging it was to navigate her career after Sita Ramam on Indeed, it is difficult. There was a period of time when I signed no Telugu films at all. For me, having faith in a character and a tale was crucial. After a year, I signed Hi Nanna because I thought the movie was great and I could relate to it. What’s the point if I don’t spend those 100 days anticipating something?

Even though “Hi Nanna” is blatantly emotional and syrupy, it nevertheless has some imperfections that make it endearing despite its overall sincerity. The movie succeeds despite its resolute, almost optimistic sentimentality, mostly because it is sincere. Mrunal is given the chance to shine in at least two noteworthy scenes in this cinematic setting, displaying her tremendous range. Like “Sita Ramam,” especially during the film’s climax sequences, Mrunal shines in the softer, more subdued parts, giving the emotional crescendos more depth. Through these performances, she has proven herself as a reliable force in delivering captivating dramas, even if Bollywood has yet to fully recognize this aspect of her talent. With “Sita Ramam” and “Hi Nanna,” Mrunal Thakur establishes herself as the flower, not merely the flowerpot in the cinematic garden.

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