Director Sanjay Chhel couldn’t be more satisfied with his latest release. A political satire wrapped up as a feel good film, Maan Gaye Mughall-E-Azam has a stellar cast that includes Rahul Bose, Paresh Rawal and Kay Kay Menon. But it is Mallika Sherawat’s presence that Chhel considers the movie’s biggest attraction.
“She is a magnet,” Sanjay says. In the movie, Mallika plays the lead actress in a small-town theatre group and her husband, Paresh Rawal, is its lead actor. “Mallika plays Paresh’s wife and an aspiring actress from a small town. She uses her body and sensuousness to attract people. And that too very innocently”" Sanjay explains.
According to the director, Mallika’s greatest strength is her diction. “She is from Haryana, her diction is so clear. It helps a lot in bringing the best on screen.”
Mallika has a reputation of being a bit of a nakhra queen, but Sanjay says he did not see that side of her at all, that she was very disciplined and a delight to work with. “Actresses generally take a lot of time in make-up and outfit changes, which delays the entire shooting many times.
Mallika never created any such situation. She even took immense interest in styling her look and clothes for the film.” Indeed, Sanjay says that she would always ensure that the mood on the sets was upbeat. In her special way, “She would flirt with all of us. She’s very witty and quick. With her around, there was never a dull or tense moment on the sets.”
Besides Mallika, the movie’s greatest buzz comes from its title. “The theatre group is doing a play on Mughall-e-Azam. Paresh plays Shahenshah Akbar, Mallika is Anarkali and Rahul is Salim. As story evolves, Paresh emerges as a crucial character in saving the nation. Hence, Maan Gaye Mughall-E-Azam.”
Shot on a small budget, the film was shot in Mumbai and Pondicherry in 50 days. “Paresh, Kay Kay, Rahul Bose and I have experience in theatre,” says Sanjay. “All of us were keen to give a very stage like look to the film. It feels good to say that we have managed to achieve it.”