Nanu Ki Jaanu actor Manu Rishi on fifth film with Abhay Deol: 'It’s fun acting with a seasoned professional'

Abhishek Srivastava

Apr,20 2018 09:02:18 IST

Manu Rishi comes from the breed of actors who have honed their craft through theatre. It’s been 18 years since the actor made his journey from Delhi to Tinsel town and a volume of mere 22 films says a lot about the actor-writer’s extremely choosy pattern of picking films. Manu's dual persona of actor and writer will soon be witnessed in the upcoming horror comedy Nanu Ki Jaanu. This will also be the fifth instance where he will be featuring in a film also starring Abhay Deol. Is it all because of some special affinity he has for Abhay? “First it was Ek Chalis Ki Last Local, then came Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! For which I also wrote the film, apart from acting. Then there was Happy Bhag Jayegi and Ayesha for which Anil Kapoor had given me special instruction to bring Delhi flavour to the film and a special emphasis on Abhay’s role and now this film. Our sixth film too is on its way and is called The Odds. It’s fun acting with a seasoned professional. At least on the professional front, there is definitely a deep friendship.”

Manu Rishi in a still from Nanu Ki Jaanu. YouTube

Manu Rishi in a still from Nanu Ki Jaanu. YouTube

Inform him of his lackadaisical attitude towards signing films and the actor-writer goes on the defensive. “In fact, I am very aggressive when it comes to work. I was even planning to direct Abhay for a film and had even convinced him for the same but somehow the entire exercise met a dead end because of Bollywood’s strange ways. One reason could be that I am not PR friendly.” Manu actually gives fodder to prod him further if his approach towards PR has affected his career? “It’s only in the past three weeks that I have realized that my stand towards PR was a wrong one. I came to Mumbai to act in films. The skill of writing was always there in me but somehow I never promoted the writer within thinking the actor will supersede the writer someday. Also the people I often spent time with are like-minded people like Rajat Kapoor who themselves don’t believe much in PR exercise. Despite my work, I think the impact has not been much.”

After having made his debut in 2002 with Saathiya, it was not until 2008 when fame came calling to him when he won the Filmfare Award for Best Dialogue for Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!. It was an opportunity which could have easily given some much needed booster shots to his career but alas, nothing moved. “I recently met Majid Majidi but it completely skipped my mind to click an image with him and post it on social media. I worked with Salman Khan for Tubelight and then too completely forgot to self-promote myself. It was never a ‘hero’ thing for me that I will never resort to the services of a PR agent. After a certain period, it becomes essential to sell yourself.” So does Manu have any regrets? “No there are none but when I see idiots getting ahead in life, it surely is painful.”

"Ishq Bhootni Ka" was another name for the film that was suggested by the writer but the title was vetoed because of its edginess. Based solely on his writing and acting skills, Manu has reached an enviable position in the industry. But the journey has also been laced with moments when his passion for cinema forced him to do things that he never wanted. Writing a film for a mere Rs 1100 is one of those. “The speed with which I have covered my journey in the industry will itself vouch for the fact that I will never sell my conscience. I had written Kya Delhi Kya Lahore for mere Rs 1100. The film had garnered a lot of critical acclaim both in India as well as Pakistan but nothing happened to the film at the box office. The film could manage to reach only people’s heart and never their pocket. I think I was bit ashamed asking for more money for the film from the producer,” reveals the actor.

It’s a professional hazard that Manu also has to keep a tab on the work of other writers and thus prefers catching most of the new releases in his spare time. So was there any film which made him say to himself, "I wish he had written this film?" “That would be Pink. Had I written the film, Amitabh Bachchan would not have been there in the film. If the plot talks about the plight of women, the story should have been told from their perspective. If I had written Pink, I would have remained dependent upon a female star than a male superstar. I think if a girl is eve-teased, then the eyes watching her don’t belong to Amitabh Bachchan,” signs off the actor.

Updated Date: Apr 20, 2018 09:07 AM