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Exploring the supernatural in films

Madhur Tankha
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Manoj Tyagi
Manoj Tyagi

Language has never been a roadblock for him while making a film. Bollywood film-maker and screenwriter Manoj Tyagi is now exploring the complex subject of supernatural in a new film which will be released in Hindi as well as Bengali.

Manoj, who has had the distinction of being honoured with National Awards for best screenplays for Apaharan and Page 3 , says he has always been fascinated by modern-age films in which the film-maker goes out of his way to explore the intriguing subject of supernatural.

Manoj has taken a sort of gamble because he is not sure how the Bengali-speaking audience would react to the film. “Apart from Hindi, our film will be released in Bengali. I do not think our film in Bengal would be rejected because a film works on important elements like human emotions and characterisations. The acting style of the main characters and the location of the film will not be altered to suit the Bengali version. Only dialogues would have to be changed.”

Though Bollywood film-makers like Vikram Bhatt and Mahesh Bhatt have made good use of supernatural in their films, it has not been tried in Bengali cinema for long.

Manoj, who has written the script of Sakshat , feels there is no need to resort to gimmicks like presenting heavy-duty special effects.

“Emotional side of the story will be given more prominence.” He is trying his hand in a bi-lingual for the first time in his decade-long career.

Manoj has his hands full these days as he is planning to direct another bi-lingual. Kolkata Bar revolves round a singer – her journey from a nondescript town to a big city where she gets employed at a bar has been depicted. “It is based on a real life incident,” he adds.

For Manoj, both direction and writing scripts of movies hold equal importance.

“Storytelling is an art for which understanding of life is important. The core of writing is emotions and not just mere understanding of writing . While writing can be done in the solitary confine of one’s room, direction needs involvement of creative people at different levels. Both are important departments of film-making. Undoubtedly, they are equally challenging. I like doing both,” says Manoj.

He is a perfect example of a creative person who writes extraordinary scripts without ever being a student at a film institute. In his previous avatar, he was calling the shots in the competitive corporate world.

“After graduating from Delhi University, I did a Masters in Business Management. Working in dozen-odd companies in Mumbai for 10 years gave me expertise in understanding how the corporate houses work. But creatively I was still dissatisfied,” he says.

When opportunity came his way in the form of co-writing a script with Madhur Bhandarkar for his film Satya, he could not refuse.

Interestingly, Manoj derived inspiration for writing the script of Sudhir Mishra’s recently-released Inkaar from a conversation with a friend who is employed as a human resource head in a corporate firm. His friend was tackling a sleazy sexual harassment case at that time. “Our film stands out because the film buff enters the theatre thinking he will side with one warring party but leaves confused about which one is better,” says Manoj.


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