Priya Bapat has established herself as one of the most renowned Marathi film actresses since last decade or so. But since recent years, she has also become known among the Hindi audience courtesy her web series City of Dreams. The third season of the show recently started streaming on Disney+ Hotstar. It sees Priya play the character of an intelligent politician Poornima Gaikwad.
EXCLUSIVE: Priya Bapat on starring in Munna Bhai M.B.B.S, “I was so naïve that I didn’t realize the scale of the film”
Interestingly, Priya’s very first outing happened in Bollywood when she played a cameo in Rajkumar Hirani’s debut Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. She played a medical student studying in the same college as Munna (Sanjay Dutt). Interestingly, she played an even more prominent role in the sequel of the film Lage Raho Munna Bhai.
In an exclusive video interview with Bollywood Hungama, Priya looked back at those days when she shot the two films. She said that her selection for Munna Bhai M.B.B.S happened easily after she got a call from Hirani. “I went to Rajkumar Hirani’s office. I auditioned and I got the part. That simple,” said Priya.
Even after Priya shot for her part, she didn’t realize at that time how big the film was. “I was so naïve that I didn’t even realize what project I am a part of,” she said. “I didn’t realize the scale of the project. I didn’t realize, ‘Oh this is Sanjay Dutt, oh this is Rajkumar Hirani.’ Nothing. I realized the grandeur of that film when I went for the premier. Even when I watched the film, I was like, ‘Okay, maza aaya, okay, okay.’”
She continued, “I don’t remember having any memory of being in awe of these people or feeling something different. I was like, I am given the lines, (like) the teacher has asked me to recite them, so I should just memorize them and say and that’s it. Sometimes it’s the beauty of that time that you don’t give it that extra importance and you just live that moment. So, the work happens. You don’t act, it just happens. So, I think Munna Bhai M.B.B.S and that performance just happened maybe because I was exactly of that age. I was really an innocent naïve girl who really didn’t know anything black and white about this whole world and society. And I was living that life. So, I just said it the way I would have said those lines.”
In Lage Raho Munna Bhai, Priya played a young girl who is about to meet a prospective groom in a restaurant. She is not sure how to find out whether the man is good enough. She asks Dutt’s character, who is an RJ, on live radio and he says that in case the guy calls the waiter via an insulting gesture, don’t select him. The guy does exactly the same.
When Priya was jokingly asked if she has ever called a waiter in that way, she said, “I might have done (that) before the film but after that I consciously remember that I shouldn’t call them like that. I started saying, ‘Excuse me.’”
Sharing her experience of working with Hirani in the two films, Priya added, “Rajkumar Hirani is a gem of a person. He is a brilliant director. But the best part is that he just lets you be. At least, for me it was like that. He didn’t come and correct every single word that I was speaking.”
Priya recalled an interesting incident during the shoots of both the Munna Bhai movies. Apparently, Hirani wasn’t happy with the make-up team doing make-up on Priya in Munna Bhai M.B.B.S because she was playing a student. “He was like, ‘What is this? Why is she with make-up? Just go and wash your face and come.,’” shared Priya. “In the second Munna Bhai, I was with make-up and all and he didn’t mind because I think I had also grown up by then and I was looking like a girl ready to get married. But I think that transition happened by age and the time that passed by in between.”
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