Exclusive! People have written me off, but Mugilpete will be a good comeback film: Manu Ravichandran
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Exclusive! People have written me off, but Mugilpete will be a good comeback film: Manu Ravichandran

Ravichandran V’s son will have his first release in almost three years on November 4, in time for Deepavali.

Prathibha Joy
Sep 30, 2021
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Manu Ravichandran

Kannada actor Ravichandran V’s son has gone from Manoranjan to Manuranjan and now, just Manu for his big screen outings. Despite his star kid status, Manu has had his fair share of struggles and makes no bones about the fact that he still has a long way to go to get a firm footing in the Kannada film industry. “If my father had launched me, perhaps I would have been a star by now. But I would not have faced this struggle. In my five-year-old career, I have struggled a lot, but I have also learnt my lessons. I think it’s worked out just fine. Now if I do a couple of good movies and then work with my father, maybe it will change my career graph drastically. My brother Vikram is also getting launched soon, but not with a home production. In fact, my father had said that we should experience the film industry and then collaborate with him, because all said and done, when he does a film, irrespective of who is acting in it, it will be a Ravichandran movie. I and Vikram want to make a name for ourselves without his help,” he says, adding, “Today, both of us have been involving ourselves in the A-Z of our respective films, like going to the dubbing studio, re-recording sessions, graphic work, distribution, etc., a learning experience that we would not have had if we began with projects handled by my father. He would have taken care of everything and he would not have had to physically go anywhere – what he needs would come to him.” In a no-holds barred conversation with OTTplay, the actor spoke at length about reinventing himself for his next release, Mugilpete. Excerpts…

It’s been three years since his last release, which is a long time for an actor to be out of action. “My film Prarambha was set to release on March 27 last year, but to our bad luck, lockdown was announced just days before it. In fact, the producer is still struggling to figure out a release plan for the film. At the time, I was shooting for my next Mugilpete and had about 30 days of shoot left, which I was able to resume only earlier this year. In February, we finished off the action and song sequences and completed the film just before the second wave of the pandemic hit. In the time since, we have managed to finish dubbing and editing and the first copy is ready to be censored. We are aiming to release it on November 4, during the Deepavali festivities. Sadly, Prarambha is still on hold; that’s also a nice subject,” says Manu.

The festive season will have quite a big film releases, starting in mid-October with Dasara. No worries about a clash at the box office? “There are a lot of films lined up for release, so it has become impossible to avoid a clash with another at the box office. When I began planning Mugilpete’s release, people told me about all the supposedly big films releasing from October 14 onward. I look at all films, big or small, with the same lens; if it’s nice, audiences will watch, else they won’t. I don’t understand this strategy of asking other films to back off for 2-3 weeks when an A-list actor’s movie is up for release. Yes, I may be the underdog if I bring my movie to theatres along with some others because I have not had a release in three years and audiences may have forgotten me. But I believe that I will make a strong comeback with Mugilpete. I think the movie has come out really well,” reasons the actor.

Mugilpete is a film that not only Manu, but his brother Vikram also has taken a personal interest in. Why’s that? “Mugilpete is the product of team work. It’s not only me and Vikram, everyone on the crew is treating it like a family affair. The quality of the film apart, the reason that I am so involved in the entire production is because my best friend has funded it. He had gone to the US last year and has not been able to return, so it is my moral obligation to ensure justice is done to the money he has spent. My interest in Mugilpete kept increasing day-by-day, as I saw it evolving. We have struggled a lot, because we wanted to perfect it as best as we could. After the first schedule, we came back and poured over the footage, to spot any errors that we have made and could fix in the next schedule. I have also been handling the film’s marketing and just closed the Hindi dubbing deal for a fairly good price,” he says and adds, “After Brihaspati, audiences had written me off, so I am treating Mugilpete like my debut. But I have been enjoying this process, even if I have been insulted on and off as an actor with no market, etc.”

Mugilpete, adds Manu, is his response to naysayers who mocked his slim physique and Kannada diction in his first two films, Saheba and Brihaspati. “Audiences will see a different Manu in this film. Be it the performance, in emotional scenes, comedy or romance, or my Kannada diction, there is a marked improvement from what I have done earlier. Also, I have two distinct looks in the film – one in present day and another in a flashback. But Mugilpete is not only about me. There are some interesting characters, like, for instance, Sadhu (Kokila) sir, who has 16 different get-ups, which we are trying to get certified as a record; Avinash sir plays my father, while Rangayana Raghu has an important role. Kayadu Lohar, who is making her Kannada film debut opposite me has also done a fantastic job. Her character is very important to the narrative. Rishi has done a cameo in the film,” he says.

So, now that he’s a lot more worldly wise as an actor, is there a process to how he will choose scripts going forward? “See, there’s been a lot of discussion about the fact that my first two films were not hardcore commercial flicks. I tried something different with my debut Saheba, a subject I quite liked, but didn’t work for me. I have vowed to not do any remakes again, after Brihaspati (it was the remake of the Tamil film VIP). Prarambha also has a unique subject. Going forward, I want to be a part of good content, wherein I don’t repeat myself. Audiences today are exposed to so much content, so we need to adapt accordingly. For instance, I could present an age-old love story, but if the characterizations are varied and unique, it will come across as fresh. I haven’t committed to anything new as of now, although there are a few subjects in discussion. In fact, Chillum, a film that I had announced earlier, in which I was set to play a drug smuggler, is a project I would like to revive. But that needs a big budget and at least a year’s time. As of now, Mugilpete is priority, the rest will fall in place thereafter,” he signs off.

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