Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 12:12 pm
Manish Manikpuri Interview
The debutant director Manish Manikpuri is very optimist about his first Bollywood venture – the musical movie AALAAP. Devyani P Korgaokar had a candid conversation with the eccentric young director about his film and dreams.
Q. First of all, let us know about your film and starcast.
MM: The movie is based on Naxalism in the state of Chhattisgarh; it is on the youth of Chhattisgarh. The film is addressing the biggest problem the state is facing for years and also offering a solution to this. The people there have suffered a lot and we just tried to address the issue through this film in a positive manner.
The cast includes Amit Purohit, Pitobash Tripathy, Abhimanyu Singh, Murali Sharma, Vijay Raaz, Rituparna Sengupta, Gamya Wijayadasa, Raghubeer Yadav, Onkardas Manikpuri, Ruhi Chaturvedi, Harsh Rajput and Aabid Shamim. The story of Aalaap revolves around three aimless youngsters, Subhash, Prashant and Brijesh, who share one common passion, music. They chance upon meeting Rahul and they form a rock band together. They gradually become famous, and they get awarded. They realise that there are greater problems that need to be tackled in Chattisgarh that is infested by Naxalism. The film also sees Abhimanyu Singh as the fearless cop out to destroy the weeds of Naxalism, while Murali Shrama shines in an exciting role as well.
Q. Being a debutant director, what made you choose such a serious subject?
MM: As because I am a debutant, I don’t think, I should go for a ‘love story’ or a ‘comedy’. I wouldn’t like to execute the subjects for which I don’t have a feel.
See, I am born and brought up in Bhilai, Chhattisgarh. I know very well what is happening in the state, why it is happening and what could be the probable solution. I can relate myself to the subject of the film.
Q. Who has conceptualised the movie?
MM: I have conceptualised and written the story. The screenplay and dialogue is written by Dilip Shukla ji.
Q. Why did you titled your movie as ‘AALAAP’?
MM: My father is a known musician in Chhattisgarh. I am born and brought up in a musical environment since childhood. I used to wake up with the sweet musical notes my father used to practice every early morning. It’s he who told me that Aalaap (a musical note with or without any lyrics sung at the very outset rendering recognition to a Raaga in accordance with the Indian Classical music) is sung at the start of a classical song. In our movie, we have shown ‘music’ as a weapon to bring down Naxalism, bringing a change – an initiation indeed. And hence, the title Aalaap appeared quite logically in my mind as it projects itself as a ‘beginning’.
Q. What has been your experience with your actors while shooting?
MM: Rahul, the male protagonist of the movie is played by actor Amit Purohit. He is only one movie old and when I met him for the first time, I couldn’t relate him with the character. I had doubts whether he would be able to justify the role of a simple guy who is a poet, singer, and wants to spread peace and harmony in the society. But to my surprise, Amit experimented himself too hard, went deep in the character and brought the best out as per my satisfaction. The other leads Pitobash Tripathy, Harsh Rajput, Abid Shamim have worked very well. Actually I wanted to have new faces for this very different movie so that people can relate to the characters. And above all Abhimanyu Singh has played role of Head Anti Naxal squad in the movie, without whom I couldn’t have completed my movie. I had fun working with them.
Has the locals also worked I the movie?
MM: Yes, I wanted the locals to work in my movie. See, there are lots of talents in Chhattisgarh, there are around 10 to 12 theatre groups, but the artists don’t get a proper platform to flourish. When I have a project like Aalaap, I thought I should utilise those talents properly. I sent my casting director Krishna Srivastava to Bhilai before two months of the shoot who chose quite few artists from there through audition. All of them are from theatre groups. Besides the lead and character actors, the rest are all local artists in my movie.
Did you assist anyone before directing this movie?
MM: No, without assisting, without any experience, this is my first venture. However, I did make some documentaries, ad films in Chhattisgarh, wanted to make it big and hence reached Mumbai. I wanted to assist, I went door to door but no one supported me. Once I was shown the door in Ramuji’s office, I couldn’t even meet him. Later I got chance to do editing work in a reality show named ‘Is Jangal Se Mujhe Bachao’ in 2009 and survived myself in Mumbai. After one and half years I realised it’s the saturation point and I have to move further. I left editing and the television industry. My friends also inspired me to come to direction, my real goal. I wrote the story of Aalaap long back. I coincidentally met Nishant Tripathy, who is also from my state. He liked my script and rest is history. I hope the film is liked by everyone.
What do you think of the commercial success of the movie?
See, I made a genuine film. And my producers didn’t create any pressure on me rather they wanted me to make my movie the way I want. I only had creative input. The commercial part is seen by the producers.
I am really hopeful that people will appreciate the movie and the producers should get their profits.
For further information contact:
Noel Singh Dias