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Atul Manjrekar Interview: “Fanney Khan is a film about real people and real situations”

Director Atul Manjrekar is all set for his upcoming film Fanney Khan. The film features features Anil Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Rajkummar Rao in the lead roles. It is an official remake of the Belgian film Everybody’s Famous. The film is scheduled for a worldwide release on 3 August 2018.

In an interview with Cinespeaks, director Atul Manjrekar speaks to us.

Q: How did the idea of Fanney Khan came to you?
Atul:
The idea of the film came to Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. He saw the original Belgian film and called me up and we watched the film together. I loved the film and felt that it should be made for the Indian audience as well. So, I wrote the screenplay of the film and shared it with Mehraji which he loved and eventually the film got made

Q: Tell us something about the star cast of the film?
Atul:
I always had Anil Kapoor in mind while writing the script of the film. In fact, every writer has a wishlist on the kind of actors they would like to write for. Except for Pihu, every actor in the film was on my wishlist. For the character of Pihu, we looked for a lot of girls extensively for around 10 months. Casting director Mukesh Chabbhra too auditioned and did workshops with few girls. I felt Pihu was extremely real and loved that about her. She looks very real and the film too is about real people made with a lot of honesty.

Q: What kind of response have you received post the release of the trailer of the film?
Atul:
I think people are overwhelmed with the trailer. It has touched their heart. I have cut the trailer by being true to the story. It is about real people and real situations.

Q: As a debut director, was it tough or easy to director big stars like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anil Kapoor and Rajkumarr Rao?
Atul:
I never looked at them as big stars. Honestly speaking, I viewed them as my characters for the film. They are extremely professional despite being so popular and established. For me, it was about my characters and it helped me.

Q: Tell us something about your previous work before directing Fanney Khan?
Atul:
My association with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra goes back a long time. I have been working with him for the past 10-12 years. I have assisted him in films like Aks and Rang De Basanti. In fact, he advised me that I should direct a feature film post Rang De Basanti. I love advertising and have worked with actors like Priyanka Chopra, Amitabh Bachchan and Manoj Bajpai for ad films.

Q: You have assisted Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra for the past 10-12 years. Why did it take so long to direct a film?
Atul:
I think as a filmmaker, one has to feel the story honestly and it has to come from within. One cannot just pickup anything randomly and go ahead to make a film. It has to come from heart and there has to be a strong feeling of telling the story.

Q: Tell us something about the track Mere Acche Din Kab Aayenge from the film?
Atul:
The song is out and it has got nothing to do with political elements. If you see the video, it is about struggle and there is nothing political in it. It is a simple story of real people with real emotions and feelings.

Q: What next after Fanney Khan?
Atul:
Post Fanney Khan, I will be working with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra for another story. The idea is with Mehraji’s wife and we are working on it currently.

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