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Mini Mathur Mulls On Moseying Into Mind The Malhotras For A Second Season

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Mind The Malhotras

In An  Interview With   Subhash K Jha Mini Mathur  Mulls On Moseying Into Mind The  Malhotras For A  Second Season

 Mind The Malhotras is back. Were you happy to be back on the set?

Absolutely, I have never been happier and skipped to a set more than Mind The Malhotras. Just knowing that I’ll be back on set with my friends and the comfortable environment that director Sahil Sangha is known to create as a producer and this time as a director, working with him and his team, it just couldn’t get better. So yes, I’ve enjoyed every single day on the sets of Mind The Malhotras season 2.

 Going back to the beginning, what was it about the show that appealed to you?

I have been in the industry for a while and I have actually consistently rejected roles that have been offered to me. Such roles are the ones which put me in a box or create stereotypes or just because of my relationship to the principal male protagonist or the female protagonist and I’ve never appreciated that. My character in the series, Shefali Malhotra was a go from the moment I read it. I started reading the first two pages, I was just like, ‘I will do this. I don’t care whether I’m free or whether things match, but that will work out. I have to do this’.

You  related with  the character?

Here was a story about a woman who was so relatable in her relationships as a mom, professional, facing modern day dilemmas in her marriage, facing a sort of midlife crisis, seeking therapy, talking about things that are so socially relevant to the class that they represent. For me, it had an amalgamation of everything that an acting role should have. Plus it was comedy, not a very easy genre to debut with. But it came easily to me because the role was so well written. It was easy for me to step into Shefali Malhotra’s shoes and think like her and respond like her. I think it’s been a great training ground and it’s made me ready for the role as well.

What should we expect in the second season of Mind The Malhotras?

I know that you’ve been very kind to season one and I still remember what you wrote. I think you’ll enjoy it more because there is a story thread that now runs from episode one to 10 the relationships between each of them changed. There is a lot of social relevance to each of the kids and what they are going through as teenagers. There are issues that we all relate to and of course this mother-in-law in the new avatar and a couple of surprises from newer characters that you’ll find, it’s been a bonanza of entertainment. As far as Shefali and Rishabh go intrinsically, they remain the same, but the storyline pushes them into directions we haven’t taken. And yes, a lot of their bedroom fantasies will also be played out, which was just too funny to be playing out with your best friend. So yeah.

  The series is all about loving your eccentric family. How is your rapport with Cyrus Sahukar  and the rest of the cast?

I’ve known Cyrus since he was 17. We took the same flight from Delhi to Bombay when we joined MTV. So it’s been a soul connection since then. We’ve been friends for so many years, over 20 years. I think what benefits the show is our real chemistry which is aged to perfection, like they say about cheese and wine. We could represent and make believable, a couple who has been together who’s friendly and is each other’s best friend and who doesn’t want it to fall apart. It’s not that they’re not going to therapists because the marriage is falling apart but because they don’t want to have it go down the pot, like their friends. They want to see the other person’s perspective and feel seen and heard. So acting with Cyrus is always a joy because you know that, it’s going to be a laugh fest. Personally, I find him to be one of the funniest guys on the planet, whether he’s depressed or it’s a good day or a bad day. There’s always humor in what he does, because the atmosphere on the set was so lovely.  Also, Sahil is such a great producer and this time, he’s in the show with Karan Sharma and he directed it as well. So for me, it was just a plus plus plus! I was glad that I went through these two seasons. So we were shooting in the middle of COVID and there was always that associated stress that came with it, but we managed and came out clean.

 In the rapidly evaporating joint family structure, what is your take on the joint family?

I have a joint family, I’ve been raised in a joint family and I still stay with my mother-in-law and I’m a big believer in that system. I believe that family is something that you need to keep close to yourself and your heart. You need to treat them in a way that will work for you rather than step into relationships with a negative mindset because then everyone’s a loser. So I’m a big Sooraj Barjatya sort of family person. My take on nuclear families is of course that once in a while you need your privacy, your space and it is important, but if you can create an atmosphere of mutual respect between the two or three generations that lived together and respect this space, it can definitely be a big asset. You will see a lot of different uses in the relationship of Shefali and a mother in law this year as well, and it will be actually quite delightful this year. Her relationship with her mother-in-law is very similar to the relationship I have with my mother in law. So I was just delighted that the story took a turn like that.

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You are quite a multitasker. How have you managed a successful marriage, two children and a career?

I think…. by not taking myself so seriously, and by not trying to ace everything, just go for it with an ambition that makes me lose out on other aspects of my life. I try to give enough time to every single face and relationship in my life, which obviously the negative side of it is, that I wasn’t somebody who gunned for roles or ran after big projects or created something. I could have written five books by now and two films and directed three if I was more focused, but I also wanted to have children who had their mom send them to school and be there when they came back. I wanted to have a relationship with my husband, where I wasn’t fighting about work, or logistics every day, but we had time to holiday. And I enjoy my various roles as a TV host, as an anchor, as an actor, as an interior design freak or as somebody who likes cooking or adventure or travel. I think that giving time to each of these pockets has been very, very fulfilling. So I feel just being true to the moment is what has worked for me. I’m glad you look at me as having a successful everything but nobody’s really successful. We are all struggling in this together.

Do you see OTT as the way forward for the Indian entertainment industry?

I don’t believe that the magic of theaters can ever be erased and should ever be erased. Because I’m a theater child. I like seeing movies, with scale, with a collective audience sitting together and enjoying a spectacle. So I don’t believe that I think theater has its own space. And OTT, of course,now has made entertainment a very intensely personalized experience, which I love. Because I’ve never been one for general entertainment as a category. I’ve never liked sitting and watching things on television. So for me, the fact that I can choose what I want to see where I want to see it. And when I want to see it is a big deal. I think they go hand in hand with, you know, theater and OTT plus for actors, they can’t be a better time to have yourself represented by so many different characters. No story is too small or too big for a platform. I just wished that they were treated more like creative platforms rather than business platforms, because that’s when we start being dishonest to stories when we don’t make a story for what it’s worth. It’s entirely humility and honesty and look at commercial considerations which OTT frankly doesn’t have to pander to opening figures and you know, all of that. So yeah, I feel we can bring so much more honesty to the stories we tell in OTT without having to worry about the box office fate, but I’m still a cinema girl when it comes to big spectacle films. Spoken like a true director’s wife actually.

 What are your plans for the coming months?

I’m traveling a lot. I have shows in New York and in Australia, so I’m going to couple them with a lot of travel. I have another season of the Discovery School Superleague. I’m trying to figure out how to write and finish something I’m going to direct soon. Lots of plans, but I don’t know how many will materialize in the next few months. I’m also now going to tell myself to be more open to taking risks as an actor. But I’m waiting for season two to first come out so that I can tell people that season one was not a fluke from my side, and then maybe opened my heart out to playing different characters.

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