Marathi audience is forward and intelligent: Mahesh Manjrekar
Actor-director Mahesh Manjrekar will soon begin work on the biopic of celebrated writer and humourist Purushottam Lakshman Deshpande fondly known as Pu La. Apart from this, the senior actor is working on two more Marathi films and a Hindi film.
His last Marathi film Dhyani Mani, a psychological thriller, did not do well at the box office and his next, Shikari, is an adult comedy. On experimenting with different genres, Mahesh says, “Honestly, we all are on the lookout for a successful film. The industry and audience always expects filmmakers to do everything morally right. Why? We are all here to do business. Every filmmaker has a family to feed. They have children whose college fees need to be paid.”
He adds that when a film is made, at least 150 people depend on it. He says, “I really wish that all films succeed at the box office. Imagine, the National Award winning film, Kaasav (2017) did not have audiences in the theatre. The Marathi film industry is losing a lot of money and it is not even funny.”
Mahesh shares that he doesn’t have a success formula or a magic wand. “We have to try and make a film that works. Today, the Marathi audience is forward thinking and intelligent. They are beyond rural set-ups and want a glamorous or bold film,” says the actor, who portrayed the Maratha warrior, Shivaji Maharaj in Me Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy (2009).
On working with Sanjay Dutt: I am not okay with the kind of films he is choosing. I wanted him to make his comeback with the Hindi remake of De Dhakka (Marathi, 2008). But he chose Bhoomi and it really didn’t excite me. There are many around him who still tell him that he is a ‘hero’. Honestly, Sunil Gavaskar can no longer say, ‘I am a great batsman, I want to play the IPL matches’. Similarly, Sanjay has to do roles that suit his age. In fact, there is a dearth of character actors [in the industry]. Look at Amitabh Bachchan, he is doing such great films with roles matching his age. Sanjay needs to try that genre.