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The master of fumbles



Mahesh Manjrekar... In the running. Photo: R.V. Moorthy.

BY THE time viewers got used to seeing his directorial ventures almost every other month, Mahesh Manjrekar started making screen appearances in the interim. If Kaante's fumbling gangster established him, a déjà vu in Plan went awry. Now Run has again put him in the race, but Mahesh says he is going to say goodbye to acting. In New Delhi to shoot for Shreya Productions' Amavas, he says, "Though I have done theatre and know acting, I never wanted to be an actor. Sanjay Gupta is a friend so I agreed to do Kaante. Fortunately the film did well and I started getting offers. But now I have decided to quit acting and will complete only the projects on hand. I want to concentrate on direction."

However, Struggler, a short film he made a few years ago with him both in the foreground and background, belies his claims of screen self-abnegation. Now Shreya Productions is releasing the film and hence his presence in Amavas, a one-night horror story, where he plays an interesting character of a plumber. "I do not read the script beforehand, so I do not know the character. I follow the same rule in my films as well. I feel if the actors know their character in advance, they come prepared and cannot mould themselves according to the director's vision." Perhaps that is the reason he is able to manufacture films at will. In four years he has rolled out 10 and apart from touching two crests in Vastav and Astitva, he is very much like his Kaante character - knows the language but stammers in the hurry to be noticed. "Problem is, I can't sit and wait with an idea. The moment an idea hits me, I start working on it. And it hurts when efforts like Ehsaas fail. But I am not one of those who brood over failures."

Indeed, he has a supernatural thriller Rakht ready, a comedy Padma Shri Laloo Prasad and the English version of Astitiva, It Happened One Night waiting for final touches. Deh, the tale of a faltering middle class woman, is yet to proceed beyond a couple of schedules. In between he has to complete Musafir, where he is part of the male quadrangle around Sameera Reddy. But at present Mahesh is charged up about his co-production with AB Corporation's Viruddh, also to be made in English as Versus. Mahesh doesn't want to reveal much apart from the fact that it is middle class couple's fight against the system, with Amitabh Bachchan and Sharmila Tagore constituting the aged family and his favourite Sanjay Dutt in a pivotal role. "All other projects will take the backseat." At it again!

ANUJ KUMAR

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