Planet Bollywood
"Everyone wants to act" - Interview with Manan Singh Katohora
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The man who starred in Arya, Indian Fish in American Waters , and Flavors and who also directed and scripted Arya is back again as a director for his soon to be released and controversial film, When Kiran Met Karen. Here follows a PlanetBollywood.com interview with Manan Singh Katohora in which he shares his feelings about When Kiran Met Karen, his favorite films, and advice for aspiring actors and actresses, and more!

Your film, When Kiran Met Karen , is ready to be released. Are you feeling nervous about the fate of the film at all?

Mix feelings. More anxious than nervous. I have worked on it for 3 years - with talented cast and crew. Some new souls, a lot of professionals - to make a good quality film. The promos have got great response, and we just released two new music videos - so I am pretty confident audience will like the movie. It is a controversial subject, so I am sure it will start some debates. Healthy debates hopefully. To quote Paul Thomas Anderson, ďI think my movie is a hopeful one.Ē [smiles]

(To view a promotional video of WKMK, please visit this Link)

How are the talks with UTV regarding the film distribution going?

We are talking to a lot of distributors - for the South-Asian audience, for the LGBT audience, and for the rest of the world. UTV has shown interest, we are also talking to Eros - and there are others, so letís see - the good thing about this film is - the global buzz and audience interest it has, the built-in audience. Distributors know millions are waiting for the release of this film. It's a piece of ART and for a change, there is a big AUDIENCE with AWARENESS. Reminds me of the famous quote by Jean Cocteau, "Art is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious."

When Kiran Met Karen, was created with a really tight budget of only $150,000. How important do you think the budget of a film is to creating a successful film?

With god's grace, I can proudly say, even though we had tight operating budget, the movie boasts of big production values. And besides, it has the kind of buzz which independent filmmakers can only dream of. So, god has been very kind. 82,500+ links on google; budget plays a big role - but god bless online marketing!

How did you decide to take on direction as a career? Was there a particular moment in your life which inspired you to get into the world of showbiz?

Ever since I was a kid, I loved writing and sharing stories. So, it is the love of story-telling. And, as an independent filmmaker - something original and innovative. My directorial debut Arya which got several nominations, won one award Ėis an innovative original psychological thriller, unlike a lot of American Desi films. To quote David Lynch, "All my movies are about strange worlds that you can't go into unless you build them and film them. That's what's so important about film to me. I just like going into strange worlds."

(For more information on ARYA please visit this Link)

I'm sure you must have had to face a lot of difficulties, initially, when you entered into direction...

God was kind and Tirlok Malik jee, producer of first Indian-American film Lonely in America gave me a break and produced Arya . He loved the script, and he had seen me work as Assistant-Director on the big budget Flavors . To quote David Lynch again, "The beginning dictates the direction and you never know where you're going to go... the mood is what you're looking for, and somehow we always find it".

(For more information on producer Tirlok Malik please visit this Link)

What are some of your favorite films?

I am a big Paul Thomas Anderson, Karan Johar, Coen Brothers, Wes Anderson, Aditya Chopra, Nikhil Advani, Sudhir Mishra, Farhan Akhtar, Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, Clint Eastwood fan. And, I love every single Shahrukh movie - the guy who can gave us two polar opposite films in 2007 with Chak De India and Om Shanti Om . Any good drama is my favorite - and what is drama? To quote Alfred Hitchcock, "Drama is life with the dull bits cut out."

You tend to stay away from creating Bollywood style musical films. Is there any particular reason for this? Do you plan on directing a commercial Bollywood film in the near future, or is that something which does not appeal to you?

One of my scripts is a pure Bollywood style musical - Bollywood Blues - which I plan to make in 2009. I just finished a spoof on Amar Akbar Anthony Ė a short film Amar Ash Anthony (AAA) which has famous comedians/actors - Vidur Kapur, Dan Nainan, Raj Patel, Tushar Unadkat and Sharbari Ahmed. AAA has a lot of typical Bollywood elements. But I donít think I will ever make a three hour long Bollywood film. Nah. I agree with Hitchcock, "The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder."

Do you think it is necessary for a good director to also be a good actor?

I think yes, a good director should know the characters - if I donít believe in my characters how can I make actors do that, so that is essential!

What are some of the biggest mistakes you see aspiring actors and actresses make?

Everyone wants to act. Everyone wants to be in front of the camera. I get 100 emails every week from aspiring actors/actresses. I donít get more than 5 emails a year from aspiring writers. But yeah, actors - aspiring actors - they need 3p's Ė persistence, passion and patience.

Who are some of the actors and actresses, whom you haven't already directed, you'd really like to work with?

The lead in both my films is Samrat Chakrabarti - a brilliant actor. Actually, all the actors from my first film are in my second film - I work that way. I donít just make movies, I make bonds. Creative bonds. I will work with all of them again and again - same for my crew. Most of my WKMK crew also worked with me on the short film AAA .

(For further information on Samrat Chakrabarti, please visit this Link)

Tell us a little about your next project, Bollywood Blues ...

Bollywood Blues will have to wait till 2009. Currently, I am working on directing two award-winning English language scripts Extrospection and Sexaholic- both with A league Bollywood actors/actresses.


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