By Jahnavi Patwardhan. Posted on May 27, 2015
Manish Mundra, a business exec turned producer, is rapidly proving to be a knight in shining armour for independent films in Mumbai. The 40- something managing director of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited may be a relative newcomer to the industry, but he sure has an eye for quality content driven cinema.
A chance twitter interaction with filmmaker Rajat Kapoor led him to produce the marvelous Aankhon Dekhi starring Sanjay Mishra that won several awards including the Filmfare for Best Film (Critic's choice). His next venture Umrika won widespread critical acclaim, including an Audience Award at Sundance and Nagesh Kukunoor's Dhanak which went on to win a Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. Mundra later bailed out the 16th edition of the Mumbai Film Festival, organised by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image, when the title sponsor pulled out. His contribution totalled Rs 50 lakh, making him the single largest contributor to the fest.
He film company, Drishyam Films, is now producing a slew of interesting indie titles, including Masaan, Neeraj Ghaywan’s debut feature that won hearts, accclaim & awards at Cannes this year. Also in the pipeline are Anu Menon’s Waiting starring Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin, and an experimental project, X, which has 11 directors contributing to the same story.
Drishyam is now entering the distribution market and will release both Umrika and Dhanak later this year. Shiladitya Bora, who spearheaded PVR's Director's Rare initiative, recently joined Drishyam as the CEO.
Here is an interesting interview by veteran critic Anupama Chopra with the man himself before he walked the red carpet at Cannes for Masaan. Among other things, Manish talks about how he goes about selecting scripts and what his plans are for the future.