In conversation with Actress Mariette Valsan



Congrats on your debut. Tell me, how did Hotel Mumbai happen?

Thank you so much. Hotel Mumbai has been such an exciting journey right from the very beginning. I got to audition for director Anthony Maras, who had us perform a couple of scenes. One of them was to react to being shot at , when the terrorists first enter the Taj. For me, personally, it brought back memories of the actual day when the attacks happened, as I was on Colaba causeway at that moment. I remember hearing the gunshots being fired down the street , and at that time, they actually registered as firecrackers. This, because I had never heard gunshots before in my life,and couldn’t have fathomed that anyone would fire in the safe streets of Colaba. So it was this experience that came back to me that evening. I tapped into it and landed part in the film.


Tell me about your role in the film?

I cant reveal much at the moment, but I play the part of one of the members the staff who first notices that there is commotion happening outside the Taj. She is the first to  alert security of a potential threat.


How was it working with the eclectic starcast of the film?

It was surreal, to actually witness master actors like Jason Isaacs , live his craft. And to share screen space with Armie Hammer and Nazanin Boniadi was incredibly humbling. I truly understood how actors leave their personas behind when in a scene. They both were generous co-actors, and gave me the space to play my part. This was the same in the other scenes with the other actors. Everyone shared the common goal of bringing the director – Anthony Maras’s vision to life in the most authentic way possible.


From modeling to Kingfisher calendar to now acting, how would you describe your journey?

Its been an eventful journey, that’s for sure. The industry lends itself to a life of ups and downs, but I have enjoyed every moment of it.  I have so many wonderful moments like being on the cover of Maxim India, or Grazia naming me their top model one year to shooting for the french perfume Chloe. And now finally making my debut in the Hollywood with Hotel Mumbai. It really has brought me a long way as an artist, and I intend to continue learning and growing.


Going forward what kind of roles are you looking forward to doing?

Going forward, I would like to do roles that give me enough space to build and explore a character. Id definitely like to have one action oriented role, as well as play a character centred in a comedy. Honestly, I look for roles that allow me to add to the character, and bring them alive to tell a story that has impact.


Any limitations or inhibitions you have as an actress in terms of roles. Any dos or donts?

At this point, I am open to seeing what is out there. I wouldn’t want to start with having restrictions. My focus is on working with a good script and a good team.


The Me Too movement has impacted Bollywood in a big way. When you started out as a model and actress, did you come across any sexual predators. If yes, how did you deal with them?

I have been very lucky thus far. While I have never had any direct experiences, casual sexism is something that has been around in the industry. Hopefully, this will force us all to rethink the preconceived notions that we have, b and work on making it a safer, and more inclusive workspace.

Quick five:

Dream role:  Super hero

A biopic you would love to be a part of:  If they ever make one on P.T.Usha

If you had to have a lesbian encounter at gunpoint, who would it be: I would’nt  need to be held at gunpoint – Deepika Padukone

A lead role in Bollywood or a supporting lead in Hollywood: Depends on the character I am asked to play.

An actor you would love to romance on screen: Vicky Kaushal.


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