With the critical and commercial success of his debut film ‘Sahaj Paather Gappo’, Manas Mukul Pal as a filmmaker has become a household name. However, his initial foray in to the world of entertainment was not with plans of becoming a director. He wanted to be an actor. However soon after appearing in a couple of TV serials, he realized he is not at all suited with the style of acting which is popular with the industry. It turned out to be quite a setback for him and consequently he completely removed himself from any work for a stretch of few years, sitting at home without doing anything. It was during that phase, he first considered the idea of making his own film and soon he began writing his own screenplay. After facing lukewarm response from a few possible financers, it was Avijit Saha who came to save the day for him. Avijit Saha has been Manas Mukul Pal’s childhood friend. He belongs to a business family and they both grew up in the same neighborhood. With no idea whatsoever about filmmaking and film business, Avijit went with his guts when he gave a positive response to his friend’s script and decided to fund the project. Sceptic about his own family’s response, Avijit decided to keep things under wrap until the project was over!

As Manas Mukul Pal talks about working with completely fresh amateur actors in lead roles, the factor, which mostly comes up, is that of uncertainty. Unlike the professional or seasoned actors, they are not used to a certain process, which goes with acting in films. However, Manas was adamant about not casting familiar faces. There was also fair share of troubles with the technical crew who are entirely used to certain styles or a particular work culture, be it the editor, cinematographer or even the person in charge of grading. Since he had conceived the film in meticulous detail, it became difficult to work with their continuous differences and highhandedness. However, he states that there also have been instances when people have also gone out of their way to save his film, especially Siddharth from Mumbai who took time out for grading the film even when he was busy with a Vikramaditya Motwane film. As for the young stars of the film, Nur Islam and Samiul Alamhave been completely clueless about the very concept of acting when they were offered the job. However, a relationship of unconditional love between the director and the kids ensured that they finally deliver the psychological reality of the characters. All of them share strange and funny stories about the entire experience, which had been unorthodox to say the least.

Talking about his producer and friend Avijit Saha, Manas Mukul Pal emphasizes on the fact that the film was made out of love and belief and not just profit motive. As both of them recount, it had hardly been an easy task to get the thing rolling. Instead of guidance and advice, all they got from friends, peers, big shots and even family were words of caution, discouragement and scepticism. As an investor with zero experience of films, Avijit maintained on having a clarity regarding expenditure and never step back from anything that’d compromise the quality of the film. For both of them, the major drive was to get a theatre release. For Manas, it was about challenging a stagnant and regressive idea inherent to Bengali film industry that audience goes to the theatre to watch only a certain kind of film with big names attached to it. With their collective effort they have succeeded in making a major mark by silencing the detractors and make the sceptics eat their own words. However, none of them want to stop what they believe is a process and they share some of their exciting plans in the pipeline.

 

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