A well known face in the South film industry, he has been making a mark with his acting in Bengali films too. Actor Manie who has great love for Bengal and its culture wants to work more in Bengali films. A self proclaimed Amitabh Bachchan fan, the actor was bitten by the acting bug early in his childhood. Excerpts from the conversation with the talented young actor.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– Tell us something about your growing up years..
Manie– I am a Tamil Brahmin. I was born in Kerala and brought up in West Bengal. My father was the commissioner in the Labour ministry and my mother was the principal of St. Joseph’s School. I did my education from St. Patrick’s Higher Secondary School and completed my graduation in commerce. I also have an elder brother who is a big rank holder in the Indian Railways at Maharashtra.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– Your father was the commissioner in Bengal for some time. How has that impacted your upbringing?
Manie– My father Late Sri.K.S.Padmanabhan was the commissioner in Bengal for many years. He loved Bengal very much. He always helped me grow independently and at times he was very strict too. In fact it is my father who wanted me to become an actor after he saw my craze for Amitabh Bachchan at home (I used to sleep with a Amitabh Bachchan photo below my pillow). I am actually fulfilling my father’s dreams. He expired in 2002. I miss him a lot.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– Although you are a South Indian, you speak fluent Bengali. How much of a Bengali have you become?
Manie– Yes, I can speak fluent Bengali and I am really proud of that. Infact many people call me a South Indian Bengali. I love it. I am South Indian by birth but I am a full Bengali by nature and personality. I am just mad about Bengal. I love everything about Bengal- the people, the culture, the literature, the soil, the food, etc. I always mention my love for Bengal in all my interviews and I am proud of that.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– You started with a South Indian film named Desie. What are the other films you are doing in the South film industry?
Manie– I am presently doing ‘Ade kadawale’ directed by Raj Sreedhar. It’s a bilingual film made in Kannada and Tamil and one more untitled film with director G.Murthy.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– You have done modelling for various reputed brands and were doing quite well as a model. Why did you think of joining films?
Manie– I always wanted to work in films although I was a popular face in modelling in Mumbai. I did lots of prints and commercial ads. But my ultimate aim was the big screen because I grew up watching Amitabh Bachchan’s films. I always thought that I had something in me which would make me a big star. Soon Technomark Television from South signed me as the main lead for ‘Desie’ after taking my screen tests and auditions and I was on the big screen.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– You recently received the GauravSamman Award 2014 from Mool East Indians Sanghatna of Maharashtra. How does it feel to be bestowed with such honors?
Manie– I feel proud and honoured that the Mool East Indian Sanghatna of Maharashtra gave me the GauravSamman Award 2014 for ‘Excellence in cinema’. I am still on cloud nine even after receiving the award. I am very happy.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– Your recently released film, Nirmok has been getting great reviews everywhere. How does it feel to be a part of the film?
Manie– I am very happy that my Bengali film ‘Nirmok’ has been getting great reviews everywhere and all film critics, media and the people are appreciating my performance in the film. I am really elated that my effort is getting the due recognition. I am really thankful to all the people who loved my performance in the film. Nirmok has also won the BEST FILM AWARD internationally too.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– How difficult was it to learn the diction of Purulia for the film?
Manie– Yes, the Purulia diction is very different from the normal Bengali what we speak. It took me time to get used to that tone and also the body language of the people. I reached Purulia one week before the shoot and observed the body languages of the people carefully and spoke with them and learnt the pauses and the special key words. This made my life easier. I began to feel the lead character Shambhu inside me. Within a few days Shambhu was born in Purulia.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– How was the experience of shooting in Purulia?
Manie– Purulia is a very beautiful place. The locations are fantastic, especially AyodhyaPahad. I loved the people, place and the food immensely. I enjoyed the phuchkas, chop muri, rasgullas and kachoris during my extensive stay there.I want to visit and shoot in Purulia again and again.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– What are the other projects that you are working on at the moment?
Manie- Apart from my south films, I am working in two Bengali films presently- ‘Jama’ with director Biswajit Sarkar and ‘Vinayak-the saviour’ with Dishari Productions. I am also doing a film ‘NEELA’ directed by Hemanth Sharma. This film is based on Salman Khan’s hit and run subject and I am playing the character of Salman Khan.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– How hard is it tackling work in Tollywood and South Indian films?
Manie– South film industry is even bigger than Bollywood as we all know. But for me, I don’t differentiate between any film industries. I have very good producers/directors friends in Bengali film industry as well as in the South film industry. I equally enjoy working in both the industries.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana-Who is your inspiration in acting?
Manie– Amitabh Bachchan is my inspiration from childhood. I grew up watching his films. I try to follow his dedication, punctuality, focus and professionalism in my work. Uttam Kumar, Utpal Dutt and Sanjiv Kumar are my other favorites.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– Do you have any dream role?
Manie– Yes, I want to play Amitabh Bachchan’s character of ‘Agneepath’ and Uttam Kumar’s character of ‘Nayak’ some day in life. Both are legendary roles.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– Who are the Bengali directors with whom you will like to work with?
Manie– I want to work with all great directors here specially Aparna Sen, Srijit Mukherjee, Buddhodeb Dasgupta, Raj Chakraborty, Haranath Chakraborty. The list is very long.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Manie– In the next five years, I see myself as a more matured actor, winning many awards personally as well as for my films. I also would love to direct a film too. I want people to remember me as a very good actor who is also a very good human being.
A wonderful human being and an equally passionate actor, Manie sure has a great future ahead in the Bengali Film Industry and we wish him all the fame and success in his upcoming ventures.
Priyanka Dutta takes a keen interest in lifestyle and entertainment related news. She also enjoys interviewing celebrities and other renowned personalities. Priyanka holds a post graduate degree in English and Mass Communication. Journalism is her passion and she has reported for many a reputed international web portals.