Tabu and Manoj Bajpayee in a still from Missing.
Tabu and Manoj Bajpayee in a still from Missing.

Missing director Mukul Abhyankar reveals the real life case which followed his story’s trajectory

Filmmaker Mukul Abhaynkar, who considers Hitchcock his idol, claims the story of his film Missing is spookily similar to a real life incident that happened nine years later.
By Sweta Kaushal
UPDATED ON APR 04, 2018 07:00 PM IST

Madeleine McCann, four-year-old at that time, disappeared on the evening of May 3, 2007 from her bed in a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, a resort in Portugal, sparking what is often termed as “the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history”. The child was never found. Only now, filmmaker Mukul Abhyankar, who is the director of Manoj Bajpayee-Tabu-starrer Missing, claims that his film’s story -- written eight years before Madeline went missing, written when he was studying in Germany -- is a lot like what happened eight years later in Portugal!

Mukul is making his Bollywood debut with the same story, in a film titled Missing.

Filmmaker Mukul Abhyankar
Filmmaker Mukul Abhyankar

Talking about the spooky coincidence, Mukul says, “I studied in Germany and in 1998 I had written this story as my final year project and the something very interesting happened. This British couple lost their daughter, Madeleine McCann. It really gave me goosebumps as the way the events unfolded were very similar to what I had written.”

According to a report in The Telegraph, Madeleine McCann went missing from a holiday apartment in Portugal. “Every possible theory has been explored since then: that Madeleine was abducted by a paedophile; that she was killed during a bungled burglary and her body dumped; that she was abducted by traffickers and sold to a childless couple; that she wandered out of the apartment and died in a tragic accident, and many more besides,” the report said. The case is yet to be solved.

Missing will shock, stun audiences: Manoj Bajpayee

Talking about his experience of working with actors like Tabu and Manoj, Mukul says, “I always wanted to work with best actors, these are two biggies I always wanted to work with. They are both powerhouses and share a wonderful chemistry offscreen. They haven’t worked together for 18 years but they have been phone buddies and much more. They share a sibling like relationship and their friendship goes beyond gender. When they perform in the front of the camera, they are completely different. I never felt like I was working with such big stars. The kind of layers they have brought to the film is amazing. It is like taking the film’s script and taking it a couple of notches higher.”

Mukul also reveals legendary filmmaker Hitchcock is his idol. “Hitchcock is my biggest idol and I love thrillers. Missing is my tribute to Hitchcock. I have completed three films - three kinds of thrillers. In today’s times, we don’t have the kind of thrillers where you have a certain thehraav, a calmness and yet it has the pace of today. However, the entire style of Missing is classic and traditional,” he says.

He adds, “The second film I have made has gone for the National Awards, is called Yaksh and the third film is Yellow Car, which I shot 9000m above the sea level.I don’t think we have filmmakers who make on-the-edge, classy thrillers and I would really like to grab that place.”

Sharing details of the film’s screening and business model, Mukul says, “The film is releasing with 700 prints and some of these will run double shows. The good thing is that the film is releasing simultaneously in countries with major Indian population - like the UK, US, Middle East, Australia, South Africa and Singapore. In Pakistan, in fact, they are releasing it in every single screen. I think it is a great release.”

Reacting to the clash with Irrfan’s Blackmail, he said, “I am very happy because Irrfan is a common friend of all three of us (Manoj, Tabu and Mukul) and I think it is great that his film is releasing on the same day. According to me, he is the greatest actor at present and I am happy that three great actors will entertain the audience on the same Friday.”

The filmmaker also revealed that actor Annu Kapoor, who plays an investigating officer in the film, learned French language for the film. “Annu Kapoor is a perfectionist. After spending years in the industry, he still studies his role very minutely. When I offered him the role of a cop in Mauritius, he requested if he can travel with us a few days prior to the shoot. Normally, actors don’t travel with the technical crew but he did. The five days he had on his hand, he used to regularly visit the police station to understand how police there handles a crime scene. For the role, he learnt some French lines to bring authenticity to the role.”

Missing is scheduled to release on April 6.

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