MUMBAI: Taj Mahal was constructed in the loving memory of Mumtaz Mahal by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. This monument took 21 years to build and thousands of artisans and craftsmen worked tediously to erect the magnificent structure.
Then there is Manjhi, an inspiring love story of a poor Shah Jahan, Dashrath Manjhi. Over 22 years, with just a hammer and a chisel, he carved out a path through a mountain, in memory of his beloved wife who had fallen down while trying to cross it. He did it so that no one else would have to suffer her fate.
“The story of Manjhi is truly inspiring, and for a man to actually break a mountain with just a hammer and a chisel for 22 years for his lost love just gave me goosebumps”, said director Ketan Mehta. “This has certainly been the toughest shoot of my life; we shot in Naxal infested areas on actual location in Bihar.”
Marking the occasion of Dashrath Manjhi’s sixth death anniversary, renowned director Ketan Mehta announced the completion of his movie Manjhi - The Mountain Man. A biopic on Dashrath Manjhi, famous for being the man who broke a mountain for love, is a co-production between Maya Movies and National Film Development Corporation (NFDC).
The movie is co-written and directed by Ketan Mehta and produced by Deepa Sahi and Nina Lath Gupta, with an ensemble cast. The movie has been shot on actual locations in remote areas of Bihar.
“It was one of the most difficult films to shoot, with the unit having to climb a mountain on foot, every day literally”, said Manjhi - The Mountain Man producer Deepa Sahi. “The movie is looking very nice with brilliant performances by all the artists. We have completed the post-production and are looking forward to release it by the end of this year”, she further added.
Acclaimed actor, Nawazuddin Sidiqqui, who has won the hearts of audience and critics alike, for his commendable performances in Gangs of Wasseypur, Talaash, Kahaani and Bombay Talkies, will be essaying the role of Dashrath Manjhi. Actress Radhika Apte, will be seen as Manjhi’s wife. Tigmanshu Dhulia, Pankaj Tripathi, Prashant Narayan, Gaurav Dwivedi, amongst others round up the ensamble cast.
“I wanted the character of Manjhi to be as real as possible and after considering a few actors Nawaz suited the bill perfectly”, Ketan expounded. “The feel of the movie is really raw, intense and earthy; I am really pleased with the final product and am confident the audience will be too.”
NFDC was approached with the script and they agreed to co-produce the feature film. The complete film has been shot in digital and Ketan is really pleased with the outcome. “This is the first time that I have shot with Red Epic cameras and the result is just amazing.” The duration of the film is just over two hours and should be releasing by end of the year or early next year.
On being asked if he is confident of the film raking in the moolah at the box-office, here is what Ketan had to say, “Cinema is not just a numbers game. I make movie for the sheer passion of cinema. This is not just a movie, but a triumph of human spirit and to prove that nothing in this world is impossible.”
Ketan Mehta’s magnum opus - Rang Rasiya - that has been stuck in the doldrums for quite sometime now has also finally got the green signal and should see the light of day by end of this year.
Ketan has been off the radar for quite sometime now, hope with Manjhi and Rang Rasiya his fans can again have the opportunity to connect with him on the silverscreen.