Sui Dhaaga producer Maneesh Sharma on exploring small town romances through the lens of entrepreneurship
Sharat Katariya’s breakthrough Dum Laga Ke Haisha was Maneesh Sharma’s maiden film in the capacity of a producer. Three years later, they have reunited for Sui Dhaaga: Made in India, another romance that explores arranged marriage, but through the prism of entrepreneurship and self-reliance.
Unlike Maneesh’s directorial debut Band Baaja Baaraat, ‘pyaar’ and ‘vyapaar’ are not at loggerheads in Sui Dhaaga: Made in India. In fact, they go hand in hand. The edges are smoother which makes Maneesh and Sharat strange bedfellows.
However, in an interaction with Maneesh at the Yash Raj Films office in Mumbai, he is quick to defend the strange alliance. “If I produce films that have only my sensibilities attached to it, it is my failure as a director. If the brand of cinema is mine, why would I not direct the film myself? As a producer, I seek to collaborate with directors whose styles are different from mine. That is when we go for a journey. Otherwise, what’s the point of taking a journey together in the first place?”
He points out that the ‘tenderness’ in Sharat’s films is what he finds the most fascinating.
“Sui Dhaaga is a much more nuanced work by Sharat. When you see the film, you’ll realise how much he has grown as a filmmaker,” says Maneesh. He has an interesting story to share about how he turned producer with Yash Raj Films. “When the script of Dum Laga Ke Haisha (written by Sharat) came to me, I was already into the post production of Shudh Desi Romance then, knowing that I had to direct Fan next. So Adi (Aditya Chopra) just told me to work as a producer since I wanted to be associated with the film in some way. And then it just stuck,” he says.
Maneesh’s relationship with Sharat is very similar to what Aditya Chopra shares with the Band Baaja Baaraat director. “As a producer, I trust Sharat completely and only give inputs in decisions like casting. For the roles of Mamta and Mauji, we wanted to cast two youth icons. So we decided to take Anushka (Sharma) and Varun (Dhawan) and challenge them. The roles are out of their comfort zones but they took the challenge spiritedly. And I have to say they are exceptionally good in the film,” says Maneesh.
Maneesh shares a special bond with Anushka, who he says was always the first choice for Sui Dhaaga. The director and actor have worked together in his first two films, Band Baaja Baaraat and Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl. “I have always seen her as an exceptional actor. She has never given a bad performance till date, right from Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (where Maneesh worked as an Assistant Director to Aditya Chopra) to Sui Dhaaga,” Maneesh adds.
Another similarity between Band Baaja Baarat and Sui Dhaaga: Made in India is their depiction of entrepreneurial aspirations among the youth. “But at that time (2010), there weren’t as many startups. The idea of entrepreneurship was still new to India. Over the years, several brand success stories have cropped up. However, Band Baaja Baaraat was more about the spirit among the youth to go big. They may not have the resources, but they have the vision. In Sui Dhaaga, people like Mamta and Mauji are skilled but they don’t have the jobs they deserve. Also, they are from a much lower economic strata so the struggle is of a different kind. Their aspirations are rooted more in self-reliance where they want to work only so that they could earn their livelihood,” says Maneesh.
If Shruti and Bittoo from Band Baaja Baaraat were to enter the handicraft ‘binness’, Mamta and Mauji of Sui Dhaaga: Made in India will not hesitate to give them a good fight.
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Updated Date: Oct 02, 2018 14:33:47 IST