As the next season of Four More Shots Please gets ready, here’s what one of its more intriguing characters has to say about her journey with the small screen. She is in love with the digital medium. Online streaming platforms have given us content to love and explore, and often to push our boundaries with what we consume. We now have new web stars and one such star is Maanvi Gagroo. We have seen her on Four More Shots Please, which comes closest to Sex And the City with an Indian context.

Maanvi Gagroo broke on the desi web-series scene with Pitchers, gaining adulation as one of the three eccentric siblings in Tripling. Playing one of the four main characters in the hugely popular Four More Shots Please! Gagroo further cemented her work and positioned herself as a seasoned and versatile actor. We also saw her as the bubbly and rather girl-next-door female lead in Ujda Chaman. She also broke many stereotypes with her dialogues in that film.

Maanvi Gagrro speaks with SheThePeople.TV on what it’s like to be one of the first wave breakout web stars in India, why we need to normalise diversity and the stereotypes that the entertainment industry needs to get rid of while writing women characters.

With Four More Shots Please! and Ujda Chaman you’ve played two characters dealing with body images issues? Was that a conscious decision?

No, it wasn’t. In fact when Four More Shots Please! was offered to me I was very sceptical about doing this part. For the majority of my career, I have been offered parts that were of a chubby girl but were not substantial enough. They were either there for just the comic relief or they were defined by their physicality, and that’s all there was to them. I fought really hard to not give in to those parts. So when Four More Shots Please! was offered to me I was really scared that I might fall back into that trap. The reason I agreed to do it was because her physicality isn’t all that is there to her. While her body image is a part of her characterisation, there is so much more to her.

Even after signing the project I was still a little hesitant. At that time the show’s director Anu Menon told me, “Just allow yourself to be this character and you’ll see that it might liberate you.” And you won’t believe, but that actually did happen. For instance, before playing Siddhi, I used to be very conscious of my legs being a little heavy, so I wouldn’t wear shorts or short skirts. But in the show, I am only wearing shorts because that was the part of Siddhi’s look. While filming I had to put that confidence on for my character, but it became a part of me. So now I have qualms about wearing shorter clothes.

You are one of the actors who garnered fame due to online streaming platforms. What has the journey been like?

It has been very good. I feel extremely proud and possessive of this medium. I take it very personally when someone says anything against digital content. My first ever digital show was The Pitchers, and I remember when it was being developed, I knew that something really interesting was happening, because these guys (the makers) were my friends. I felt that I need to be a part of it one day or another, in fact, I even told them that in case if you don’t cast me as an actor, please take me as an AD, because I want to be on that set. Then of course the show came out and people loved it, and then Trippling happened, and that blew up. It suddenly felt that a new world has opened up for us as actors and everyone else. Even though I just went with the flow, there were a lot of people who were still sceptical about it initially. And then suddenly people took notice of this medium and this format and they realised that web-series are working. There was this whole market to be tapped into.

I love the fact that everybody is getting opportunities to work today. In fact we keep joking among ourselves that if you are an actor and without a job, then you have to be a really shitty one because right now everybody is working. There’s just so much work happening, and not just the actors; the writers, directors, camera people and technicians, everybody is working, and that is really good.

Read more of this interview with Yamini Pustake Bhalerao by clicking this. 

With Four More Shots Please now ready for its season 2, it will be interesting to watch how the relationship between the four girlfriends plays out. Set in Istanbul, the series has also expanded its geographies and brought in new complexities in the relationships.

Get the best of SheThePeople delivered to your inbox - subscribe to Our Power Breakfast Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook and on YouTube, and stay in the know of women who are standing up, speaking out, and leading change.