Says Mahesh Manjrekar when asked about why filmmakers do not make films for youngsters while visiting Sakal Times office for FU: Friendship Unlimited
Mahesh Manjrekar’s FU: Friendship Unlimited has wowed critics and audiences alike. The musical stars Aakash Thosar, Satya Manjrekar, Shubham Kirodian, Mayuresh Pem, Pawandeep Rajan, Vaidehi Parshurami, Sanskruti Balgude, Isha Koppikar, Boman Irani, Pravin Bhosle, Siddesh Achre among others.
When the entire cast along with the director and producer visited the Sakal Times office last week, we couldn’t help wonder how the promotions would be a picnic for the huge star cast. Mahesh with a laugh said, “The biggest cost during the promotions is transportation.”
Ask him if FU is the largest ensemble cast film made in Marathi and he replies, “Could be. We needed so many actors because it’s a rom com about five young boys with their parents and girlfriends.” Mahesh said that it was a challenge shooting with the young actors. “In fact, I use to dread shooting the scenes where all these actors were required because getting them out of the van was a task. Then when we began shoot, someone would be hungry, someone wanted to go to the washroom (laughs). Overall, it was fun and pleasure working with them,” he said.
He added that everyone was new to acting and therefore raw. “I needed that rawness for them to look real. The best part is that none of them came prepared. Like Akash would act from his gut feeling,” he said, adding, “Everyone was friends with each other.”
The filmmaker said that the 14 songs in the film helped him a lot. “We would have rehearsals for all the songs and they used to rehearse together. That brought them closer.”
Mahesh, who is known for directing films like Me Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy, Kaksparsha, Lalbaug Paral, Shikshanachya Aaicha Gho among others calls himself a task master. “I don’t know if it’s right or wrong but I want it my way. I need that uniformity while shooting. Because these actors are young, it was possible to follow that. Had it been a method and senior actor, they would have questions,” he says.
He is happy with the end product for which youngsters are the major target audience. Mahesh says, “We are a hero-driven industry. People are scared to make films which don’t have stars. In Marathi films, we can still do a film without any stars involved because here nobody is a star. Here the film is the star. Let’s take the example of Sairat, it was a film without any stars. It’s the film, script and direction that worked.” In Hindi films, he says, very few films are made without stars. “But lately, we are seeing a healthy trend where a film like Baahubali washes away everything. Among some big production house projects, a film like Hindi Medium comes and walks away with all the accolades. The film has earned the same amount of money both in the first and second weeks.”
He further adds that it’s important to address the issues faced by youngsters because they have a number of them. “We are only concerned about films that can be watched by the entire family. People told me it will become adult content but I am okay till the time it’s not gross. I put my foot down,” he explains.
Sairat-fame Akash Thosar said that he had fun shooting for the film which went on for a year. “While shooting we went back to our college life and had fun. I would always keep asking sir if he liked my work or not, and how to enact a scene. I don’t have much experience. I was a bit scared and worried of dealing with so many people but I have learnt a lot from him because he guided me.”
Was he being careful about this project post the success of Sairat? “It was Nagraj Manjule who was guiding me on which project to sign and who would say no to Mahesh Manjrekar? I try to give my 100 per cent to whatever project I do,” he asserts.
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