During a panel discussion at the ZEE5 Global launch of Add-ons in the US, Manoj along with others were seen talking about how to encourage more filmmakers to be more rooted.
To which, Manoj said: “When I was working with Mahesh Bhatt, I was also assisting him. I have done a role in Tamanna, we used to spend a lot of time together. That was a time, I remember I told him that our cinema is going…, because our heroes are not looking like the audience.
“This is a danger and Mahesh sahab would give his two bits about… I always fought with him on that point and then I started being proven wrong because it stayed away from the audience and their life…”
“Bigger the film started becoming and so much success the film started having that all the people and filmmakers, who were known for making rooted cinema they would start getting flabbergasted and the abroad shooting started increasing.
Manoj recalled how he was offered a role in New York and he had to decline and said: “‘I was like I am not going to look like anyone of them so don’t give it to me’. It was a desperate move I could see. That was an aspirational time. It was very much clear that most of the population was aspiring to be something else…”
“People say it was a pandemic. They saw this change, no. For a decade, someone non-filmy told me this after RRR and Pushpa they are celebrating Allu Arjun and NTR… It’s just rest of India realised it with RRR and Pushpa. It’s only because they could see their own heroes on that screen.
“So, this is a lesson. It’s not that we should start copying their stories or how they make it. We should stick to our storytelling but our hero should come from the audience. From our milieu as it was in the Amitabh Bachchan.”
Manoj feels “things will change if we start telling people stories and get our hero from the masses.”
He then gave an example of ‘Gadar and Gadar 2’. He said the film’s success is also because it
“Is talking about people. The core of it was they wanted to see their story and hero.”
“They went to watch it. It is we start making those realistic cinema where the common man is in the centre.”
Anupama Chopra, who was heading the panel discussion then shared an anecdote. She shared that actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui had once said that people keep calling him unconventional but he looks like 80 percent of the people in the country.
To which, Manoj said: “Nawaz is so right most of the people in our country look like me and Nawaz. There was a time when people wanted to be someone else. They wanted to see their heroes as Greek gods and as I said before it was an aspirational time but it is now a realistic time.”
–Ajit Weekly News
News Credits – I A N S