In an interview with Lachmi Deb Roy, director and actor Mahesh Manjrekar discusses the craft of cinema, his upcoming movies and the prospects of regional films.
On his latest web series
Pawan and Pooja starts where most love stories end. It is inspired from my life. This is not my first web series though—I have done one in Marathi, which was dubbed in Hindi as Kaale Dhande. I also worked in another series called Selection Day.
His favourite medium
You cannot have favourites. It all depends on the content—which story can fit which medium. For instance, Selection Day would not work well as a film. If we take the role of Sonakshi Sinha’s father in Dabangg and put it in a web series, it will just not fit. I did Bigg Boss Marathi on television and was happy with that as well. I am so fond of acting that I cannot pick favourites. But if you ask me as a director, then I would say I am a little partial to films.
When I direct, I come across actors who say, ‘Mujhe kuch motivation chahiye’. To this, I reply, ‘You have come here to become an actor. What motivation do you need? Paisa (money) is the only motivation.’
On regional cinema
Marathi and Malayalam cinema have evolved brilliantly. Marathi cinema is always trying to create something new; that’s why I love it. One cannot make big money in Marathi movies, but the satisfaction I get from them is tremendous. In Marathi films, I have the freedom to tell the stories the way I want. My career also started with Marathi cinema, so I have a soft corner for it. Recently, I did a Marathi film called Natsamrat. Actually, for me, cinema has no language. But the plus point of doing a Hindi film is that you are able to reach a larger audience.
Working in world cinema
I did Slumdog Millionaire, where I played the role of the gangster Javed. I am also doing a Hollywood film called White Tiger. But I don’t want to run after international films. I am happy working in Marathi and Hindi cinema.
His upcoming films
I just worked on a film called Panghrun, which is being showcased at the Bangalore International Film Festival. I am also trying a genre… I can’t call it horror, it is a mix of horror and thriller. In this film, nobody jumps out to scare you and there are no ugly, scary faces. I am doing another film called Wada. So my cup is full!