An Interview With Mreenal Deshraj, The ‘Janhavi Oberoi’ Of Ishaqbaaz

Mreenal Deshraj
Mreenal Deshraj

Mreenal Deshraj is a very talented and avid actor. Her zeal is something that makes her such an admirable person. The Ishqbaaz Actor in an exclusive interview talked about her journey and different experiences in theatre and TV industry.

Excerpts from the interview:

1. Your family seems to have a unique set of interests. Were you always interested in acting or were you looking up to one of your parent’s occupations?

My mom is a doctor and my dad goes into sports & fitness. I was into sports too. In fact, I was good at everything, good in studies, good at sports. I was a tomboy. Eventually, I felt like I don’t want to do either, I don’t wanna study. I wanted to get married. I was so good at everything that I ended up being confused, thinking what to do. But I wanted to get married. So at that point in time, I just wanted to marry someone. I thought of becoming a tennis player once. There was no dream as such when I was growing up. 2 years back, I finally realized what I want to do in life.

Then how did acting come along your way?

“Acting came my way when I broke up in life. I didn’t know what to do, as my ultimate goal was to get married but it didn’t happen. I was lost; I never wanted to become anything. So every year I used to come to Bombay as my cousins live here. So it was Prithvi Theatre. I got an offer for a play, ‘Yahudi ki Ladki’. There someone spotted me as I used to go there for coffee every day. Now I got this offer, so I said okay because I had nothing as such to do at that point of time. After workshops, I did plays and it all began from there.”

2. We have known a little about your work in theatre, especially in Ekjut. Theatre and television seem to be similar but are very difficult in real life. How do you find them different from each other?

“It’s very different; theatre needs a lot of commitment, which means you have to do your rehearsals. No matter wherever in the world you are, you have to come for reading every day. So it’s a commitment and you cannot give excuses. You have to be on time. When you are doing a play, you cannot do something else simultaneously. It’s like you get a life in character, if one character is not there, you cannot rehearse the play. It’s a total full-time job. The theatre is, the role, the character, everything is just to connected to you, it’s in your blood. Television is different, you just need to learn your dialogues and go in front of the camera and do whatever you want to do. Television is not about performance. In theatre, they try to improvise every line, every paragraph whereas here they just bother about the number of scenes they could get. Theatre helps you grow, TV may not give you personal satisfaction.”

Mreenal Deshraj
Mreenal Deshraj

3. Kahiin to Hoga was your first Television role. Were you nervous? What was going on in your mind when you stepped into television industry at first?

“At first place, I was really happy to do a Balaji show, because nobody gave me TV shows as they knew I was committed to theatre. So then I decided that I will have to leave the theatre to do TV. It was a conscious decision; Theatre is a lot of hard work but no money. I was happy and nervous probably, though I have been confident throughout. I was playing a negative role which was new to me as I did comedy earlier. I had to play a very strong character. I had new people around me and a new unit, it takes time to adapt.”

4. Jhanvi Oberoi is a very highly characterized role. She is soft yet bold; she is a victim but never wished for sympathy, she is fearless and unique in her own ways. How close do you find yourself to the character?

“Initially, I was not very inclined towards Jhanvi as she used to consume alcohol to escape her misery. She was weak and helpless as she couldn’t leave her husband because she loved her husband and her children. She is very emotional, so am I in real life but not of this kind, which is why I initially had a difficulty to connect with her. I feel I will never use alcohol but instead fight with my problems. I am the warrior kind. But then later when she became strong, I could connect with her. I strongly feel women should not do drugs or alcohol just because they are sad or depressed or unhappy because that’s not the way of dealing with your problems and misery. You don’t face the problem but you get deep inside it. Jhanvi is close to my heart.”

Mreenal Deshraj
Mreenal Deshraj

5. What is it like working with such young and fresh faces like Nakuul, Kunal, Leenesh and Surbhi?

I am more energetic than them, by the way. I feel I am naughtier than them. We eat together during lunch, we party together. We are like family. I am a mom to them just in front of the camera, in reality, we all are buddies. They sometimes make me forget my age. I naturally gel with younger people.”

6. As you have been an integral part of the television industry, do you think it has changed over time?

Now people are very professional, very disciplined. Everything has a department of their own, like casting crew is different, earlier producers used to do the casting. They wanna have people who have time. Now travelling is a thing, because studios are outside Bombay. There are many cameras so it takes less time. Now everything is much more organized. It’s a good change.”

7. It takes a lot of courage, passion and determination to choose acting as a career. Any message that you would like to pass on to the young struggling actors over there?

It will be a very difficult journey to be an actor, people will discourage you to choose it as a career. Rejection will be there, you will be good still you will be rejected. You will need a lot of confidence, and you need to keep believing in yourself. You have to decide why you want to be here, do you want to work, earn money or do you want to be famous or you want the stardom. People seek glamour, but there is no glamour actually. We usually don’t get the right direction; we get the direction much later. That consumes a lot of your energy, and that is why your focus must be clear. You must challenge yourself. Believe in yourself. Find your purpose and don’t lose your spark.”

Mreenal Deshraj
Mreenal Deshraj

Also Read | An Interview With Bhavini Purohit, The “Radha” Of Saath Nibhana Saathiya

Talking to Mreenal was indeed a journey from knowing nothing about life to learning some very important life lesson. She is truly a hero for those who do not know what to do in life. Talking to her feels like an exchange of energies. And the fact that she can motivate you without even stating powerful fancy words, makes her a unique and powerful woman.

What are your views about her? Let us know in the comment section below!

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I believe in experiences, and positivity attracts me. I believe in recording everything, memories, experiences, narratives, and feelings. This is maybe the reason I find solace in writing. My entire life I've been traveling across the country; I've been meeting new people, I've been listening to their stories and learning a lot from them. I live in the city that witnessed Bajirao and Mastani's love. While I love to explore different areas, I also admire the fact that people are so different yet so similar to each other. I believe everyone you meet has something to teach you.