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‘I want to direct another Bengali film’

He was here last year with his Tolly directorial debut Ami Subhash Bolchhi, starring Mithun Chakraborty. Mumbai-based actor-director Mahesh Manjrekar is back in Calcutta this winter to act in first-time director Abhishek Mukherjee’s love story Ardhangini (produced by Priyanka Creative Arts), co-starring Rati Agnihotri. A t2 chat...

How does it feel to be back in Calcutta as an actor?

Well, it feels good. It shows that I didn’t want to rest after my debut as a director here. I want to direct another Bengali film soon. The script is nearly ready. I am just waiting for the right time to do the film.

What will the film be about?

It’s a beautiful story about human values and relationships... kaafi achchhi film hain.

Will Mithun Chakraborty be a part of the film?

Hmm... I don’t see Mithunda in this film. I would definitely like to do another film with him but not this. This film is about an old couple, their son and the daughter-in-law. It’s about Bengali culture and values.

Ami Subhash Bolchhi too was on Bengali culture and pride, but the film didn’t work...

Yes. I don’t know why! Normally, Shree Venkatesh Films market their films well and people expect good cinema from them. I had seen Ami Subhash Bolchhi and loved it. The television premiere of the film got huge TRPs, so that means a lot of people have seen it and that is what my aim was.

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(Top left) Mahesh Manjrekar, Rati Agnihotri and Meghna Halder on the sets of Ardhangini; (above) Rati does a rehearsal. Pictures by Sayantan Ghosh

What do you play in Ardhangini?

I play the patriarch of a well-to-do family. Rati Agnihotri plays my wife.

And why did you take up this offer?

Abhishek, the director, was persistent though I had told him no. See, I have done four Telugu films and one Kannada film, and for a Marathi, Bengali is easier than Tamil and Telugu because some words are similar. I think my next interview with you will be in Bengali! Also, I need to be known here as an actor too.

But in your last interview, you had told us that you act only in Salman Khan films!

In Hindi, yes. I can’t say no to Salman. He is a wonderful guy and you can’t say no to him.

You’ve just finished directing a Marathi film...

Yes, Kaksparsh, starring Sachin Khedekar and Priya Bapat. I plan to do it in Hindi too, but only if Aamir Khan agrees to do it!