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Manish Jha walks the path less travelled...

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Courtesy: IndiaFM
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Manish Jha is one of those directors from the film industry, who doesn't believe in following the trodden path. He kicked of with a Matrubhoomi a socially relevant movie. His forthcoming film Anwar is set to release and he spoke to us in an IndiaFM exclusive interview.

What is Anwar all about?
It's a simple story and at the same time it's complicated too. Anwar is basically a story of a Muslim boy, who is trapped in a temple. People have mistaken him for a terrorist. There are stories revolving around him including his love story. This situation becomes breaking news and everybody right from the media to politicians tries to capture this without actually trying to get the facts right first.

How did you manage to sign the real life brother-sister duo of Siddharth and Manisha Koirala for a same project ?
It was quite difficult. But honestly, Sidharth came into picture first and then Manisha. The most difficult part was getting the face for Anwar. I met lot of people and auditioned most of them but I was not getting the right person. That person has to look vulnerable. Also he has to look like a guy from Lucknow. Then I met Sidharth, who is a very urban guy. I narrated him the script and somehow I was getting more confident about him. There was one more thing; he has to play Krishna in the film. So it was quite a difficult task for him. The guy had to look very authentic and then he transforms into Krishna. Siddharth actually looks like somebody from Lucknow. Then he introduced this script to his sister and we met her. She liked that character and she agreed to do her part. She plays a character of a journalist.

Tell us about the music of this film.
I really like Hindi film music. Though my last film lacked music and songs, I wanted to have all that in this movie. It was a big challenge for me because I wanted a new person for this film. If I would have worked with somebody really established then I wouldn't be able to get my work out of him. When I met Mithoon, he came across a very talented guy. I told him the basic story and he gave me some days to work on and after that the kind of tones he came up with was really interesting. While in the process of looking out for a music director, I met Pankaj Awasthi. He has also composed for this movie.

What is your forte in films?
Well I have never gone to any film school to learn films. I never assisted anybody to learn films. I love watching films and to be fascinated by films is a very natural thing. Luckily, I got parents who never stopped me to getting into films. I love the whole idea of telling stories.

Your last film Matrubhoomi had a strong social message.
It was very relevant issue in India. The number of girls in India decreasing is a very serious issue. I was quite amazed that very few people are aware of this. I feel as a filmmaker it's my duty to make people aware about what is happening in the society and in the world. That's what I like about this industry. I get paid to talk about such issues. It gives you lot of satisfaction. There are some filmmakers, who believe in box office success; certainly it matters to me also. Apart from Box office, if you are talking about the issues that are rising in the film you become an activist without actually being part of it. I love cinema for that. I think cinema has that power.

Both your movies have a social message and lack that typical commercial touch. Would you like to try some other genres as well?
Frankly speaking every film has a social message. Sometimes it's on your face or some times through a subtle way. Like K3G was about a family but there was a social message in the film. Each time when a story has been told it always has some social or cultural context behind it. I would disagree with the fact that my films are socially relevant. My films look more socially aware because they are much more on you face. I feel that Karan Johar's films also have social message. I certainly enjoy commercial films and I love experimenting with different kinds of cinema. Anwar has that commercial touch which was missing in my last film.

Tell us something about your future projects.
Yes I am working on two more scripts. One is thriller while the other is comedy. It's not slapstick comedy but a socially relevant comedy. I like that genre and would like to see how good I am in comedy. I want to challenge myself as a director. I don't want to make my work to be repetitive and monotonous. If I repeat myself then I will lose interest. There is no pressure under which I am working. I want to experiment with different kind of cinema. I want to keep surprising my audience.

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