This has been a good month for Mahesh Manjrekar. He’s got two Hindi films — Himmatwala and Shootout At Wadala — and a Marathi movie, Aajcha Divas Maajha, up for release. In this interview, the filmmaker-actor talks about his journey till now and what’s in store.
How do you choose your roles in Hindi films?
I see what money the films offer. Though I give my 100 per cent to what the director wants me to do, at the end of the day, I want my money. This year, I have to come up with three new plays. So to work out the financial logistics I’m taking up whatever roles come my way. But there are some factors that I consider before signing a Hindi film. I see who the director is and the banner. I’m like the madari’s bandar.
How has your journey as a filmmaker been?
It’s been fantastic. I feel I am incapable of making Hindi movies. But I don’t mind acting in them just to earn my bread and butter. I am very happy doing Marathi cinema because here I can do what I want to do, not what the trade forces me to do.
Do you have many buddies in Bollywood?
Salman (Khan) is my only friend in Bollywood. Normally, once I pack up, my association with the cast ends. I have my own set of friends in Marathi theatre and the Marathi film industry.
Any directorial ventures in the pipeline?
Yes, a lot of Marathi films. I am starting a film in April and another one in May.
No Hindi films at all? Why?
Well, if they are ready to do my type of cinema, then I’d definitely work on them. At the end of the day, everything boils down to money and if the film doesn’t do well, then there’s no point. I don’t think I’m capable enough to make 100-crore films. The only ray of hope in the whole scenario is that films like Kahani (2012), Vicky Donor (2012) and Paan Singh Tomar (2012) are doing well.
You are great friends with Salman Khan.
I don’t think there is a better human being than Salman. He is always there for you, just a call away. I have never seen a more rooted guy than him. He is one of the biggest stars we have, but he has no airs. Though his vanity van is always parked on his set, he is never inside it. He never eats his lunch alone. He gets food from home and ensures that everybody shooting with him eats with him. Whenever I send him a message, he replies in 10 minutes. He is one guy I can call anytime.