Some might consider Manju Mandavya, the debutant director of Masterpiece, really lucky. After all, he has got Yash to play the lead, a producer in Vijay
Kiragandur who was more than willing to spend any kind of experimentation, and distributor Jayanna, who is going all out to make sure the film reaches one and all.
But there are some in the thinking corners of Sandalwood who are in awe of Manju’s intellect. He seems to embody a personality of a young man with the wisdom of the old, and an old man with the ardour of the young. And that spirit is what makes him stand out from the new block of directors, who have a strong script, but are unable to sell it to the right actors, producers, or technicians.
Speaking to Express, the director shows signs of an ambition eager to soar, but within that layer of enthusiasm is a sagacious mind, which calms the impulses and ensures that the journey is treaded with ample caution. “I wanted my debut to be memorable and remain a masterpiece in my career. But in that wish, I also knew that I have to have abundance of patience. I will walk the journey with caution, but with experimentation so that there is always something new for the audience to look out for,” he emphasises.
And he has shown his belief in experimentation with Masterpiece. Having convinced an established actor like Yash to play a role with negative shades itself speaks about his relentless pursuit to challenge the norms of filmmaking.
“That is what is called experimenting. It was a challenge to myself to cast a well -known star of Karnataka in a negative shade. I have always heard comments that commercial cinema does not experiment and this is proof that it does. Heroism is not about only being good,” he points out and adds that Yash is playing a character who can also be bad to his parents and to the country, but the heroism is
in his attitude which comes through with an intelligent screenplay.
Elaborating on the characters in the film, Manju states that he has considered freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekar Azad among few others who sacrificed themselves for the nation selflessly. “Today the thought of raising our voice for the cause of somebody else is dying. There are so many incidents happening around us and all we do is turn a blind eye. There was a time when all were united and protested for a cause. We need such people back and that is the one-liner of Masterpiece,” he reveals.
The film has been shot at a budget of around Rs 20 crores, which Manju feels was necessary. “People will agree with me when they watch the film. The richness is carried through the film. There are some period portions and an expensive fight too. Producer Vijay Kiragandur never questioned us at any point,” he says.
And while he has experimented, he is not the kind who wishes to just get away by making a good, honest movie. “Success is very important and however big the film is, if the producer doesn’t make money, there is no use of the effort. That is one of the reasons why we have to have commercial elements to cater to all kind of audience. We have blended an undercurrent message in Masterpiece while keeping the film entertaining at the same time,” he says.
Along with Yash, the film sees Shanvi Srivastava in the female lead.
“Suhasini Maniratnam plays mother to Yash but the highlight of Masterpeiece will also be Chikkanna, who, I assure, will reach another level after this film,” he signs off.