Manjunath Theatrical Trailer

  1. Author
    aryan 9 years ago

    Took personal loans to make Manjunath: Director

    A student of IIM Lucknow, Manjunath was a marketing manager for the Indian Oil Corporation. He was murdered for sealing a corrupt petrol station in Lakhimpur Kheri, UP. Following the murder, there was immense media spotlight on the case. Manjunath’s batchmates from IIM Lucknow (where he was affectionately called Machan) also kept the story alive.The incident inspired several students at IIM, IIT and other educational institutes culminating with the IIM students setting up the The Manjunath Shanmugam Trust.

    The details of the film had been kept under wraps till now. And the actor who plays Manjunath in the film is still a well-kept secret of the makers. In a conversation with LT later, the director of the movie Sandeep Varma shared how the film was made, the emotional and logistical hiccups, and feedback from Manjunath’s family.

    Making this movie was the right thing to do Why did Sandeep, an advertising guy, choose a controversial/non-glam subject like this, to make his directorial debut? “Anjali Mulathi, who was the main person behind the Trust, is the motivation for this movie. Anjali and I have been friends and it was she who convinced me to make a movie on him. In fact, I asked her once why she is doing so much for Manjunath and after thinking for a while, she said that the she didn’t know if she was doing something for Manjunath or whether Manjunath was doing something for her. I don’t feel I have done anyone a favour, least of all Manjunath, by making this movie. I don’t know about the future of this film – whether it will be a hit or a flop, but yes, I know that I have created something which has a huge shelf life,” says Sandeep.

    “The only reason for making the movie is that it should be done, and it is the right thing to do. Manjunath had been threat ened and warned many times for taking stand against the corrupt. He obviously knew what he was getting into, and inspite of that he, chose the path, not because he was stupid but because he knew that it was right. That is something which has touched a lot of people, especially those who fought his case. They did not do it for some cheap publicity, they did it because they felt it was the right thing to do. His parents were too poor and scared to come to UP (from Karnataka) to fight his case. It was then that few people got together, formed a trust fought his case and won it. They were threatened too many a times, but they kept going,” says Sandeep.

    My family did not understand why i was putting all my resources into this film Though Sandeep was quite confident about his decision of making a movie on Manjunath, his family, especially his wife, wasn’t for one, the research required on the subject, and the lack of financers at the beginning of the project put a big strain on Sandeep’s finances. “I am married and have a daughter. My family did not understand why I was putting all my resources into making this film,” he says.

    There was also a lot emotional turmoil that Sandeep went through while tackling the subject. “For three years, I did not sleep for more than three-four hours. I used to get up in the middle of the night, go to an other room and pace it like a mad man, have taken personal loans to research and make this movie. All of this created a lot of friction in my marriage. Fortunately, my wife has an artistic temperament and so after a year of watching me, she connected with my passion and dream to make this movie. I had started challenging her when ever she complained to me about the wrongs in the society. I was like, ‘what are we doing to change it?’ Later, she got my point,” says Sandeep.

    Memories of manjunath at nostalgia 2013 The screening of Manjunath’s teaser at Nostalgia – IIM-Lucknow’s annual alumni meet, was an emotional experience for both, the makers of the film as well as the IIM-L alumni. The session started with a welcome speech by Manjunath’s batchmate and friend, Unmesh Sharma who shared anecdotes from his friendship with Manjunath. His memories were brought alive with a short audio-video presentation that not only had pictures of Manjunath of his time spent at IIM but also a video of Manjunath singing a song for his band. Next, Manjunath’s lawyer, IB Singh shared the challenges he faced while fighting the case. Later, director Sandeep Varma’s talk on the film digressed to queries from Manjunath’s batchmates about the latter’s family. Some of the questions Sandeep answered were, “When did Manjunath’s sister get married?” and “Is his brother working? How is his mother?” The session concluded with a standing ovation along with a thunderous applause for Sandeep. The alumni then gathered for a candle light vigil in the memory of Manjunath.

    It took me one year to arrange funding for the movie “I have been working on this movie for more than five years. I have not only directed it but scripted it too. In 2011, I started filming it. I used to talk to a lot of people from IIM and other people associated with the case, and the news would get leaked, and people thought that the movie is ready but not being released. The whole research took a lot of time. I have spent a lot of time with the family in order to know about Manjunath in detail. I even took the main lead of the movie to Manjunath’s house so that he would get to know who actually the guy was. But I didn’t tell the parents that he was playing their son, and introduced him as my assistant. I didn’t tell the parents because I didn’t want them to get judgemental after meeting him. After the research was over in 2010, I realised that this movie was far too expensive than I thought,” says Sandeep, adding, “I did contact a lot of people and production houses for funding, but Mumbai mein ek temperament hai logon ka, ki movie mein X hona chahiye, Y hona chahiye. UP ka naam sunne ke baad producers used to ask me ki ek item number toh hoga hi movie mein. They were expecting a Beedi Jalaiyele in Manjunath. When I told them it was not possible in Manjunath’s story, they argued ki UP ke mafia ki story hai, ek item number daal dijiye. I wanted to make the movie as real as possible. It took me one year to arrange for the funding of the movie. So, the delay.”

    Manjunath’s dad: I felt as if Manjunath is talking to me And it seems that his efforts have finally paid off well. “After seeing the movie, Manjunath’s dad told me: ‘I don’t know how you managed to make the movie. I felt as if Manjunath is talking to me’. His mother has still not seen the movie as she is still not mentally prepared. Even the family has kept her away from the filmmaking. Also, his mother didn’t tell me much about Manjunath during the research of the film. The only thing she told me was that if you make this movie, please don’t make him look like a naive, make him look like a hero. It is funny, that not only his mother but a lot of people think of Manjunath like that. Most of his friends and colleagues think and also say that Manjunath toh bewakoof tha,” shares Sandeep.

    Everyone agreed to work in the film for a very low renumeration Telling us about the cast of the film, he says, “I found the main lead of my film through auditions in Bangalore. Manjunath’s mother is played by Seema Biswas and the main trustee is played by Gireesh Sahdev and Anjali played by Divya Dutta. It is so fortunate that these brilliant actors have agreed to work for the movie at a very low remuneration. They have also shot for scenes beyond the given dates and didn’t ask for a single penny. They also stayed with us. Even Palash Sen and his band worked for us for peanuts. They also gave us more songs than the agreed number. Music is the mainstay of the movie as Manjunath was a good singer and was quite active in the band on the campus.”

  2. sputnik 8 years ago

    Manjunath murder case: SC upholds life sentence to six

    The Supreme Court today upheld the life imprisonment awarded to six men including the owner of a petrol pump for the murder of Indian Oil Corporation executive S Manjunath in Lakhimpur Kheri district in Uttar Pradesh as they bore “grudge” against the victim, who had reported irregularities and adulteration at the outlet.

    Manjunath, an IIM-Lucknow alumunus and resident of Karnataka, was gunned down at Gola area of the district on November 19, 2005, after he threatened to cancel the petrol pump’s license for selling spurious fuel.

    The six men — Petrol pump owner Pawan Kumar Mittal, his associates Devesh Agnihotri, Rakesh Kumar Anand, Shivkesh Giri, Vivek Sharma, Rajesh Verma — were held guilty under Sections 302 (murder), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 201 (destruction of evidence) of the IPC and provisions of the Arms Act.

    A bench of Justices S J Mukhopadhaya and N V Ramana dismissed the appeals filed by the convicts against the Allahabad High Court, which had awarded life term to them.

    Mittal’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the High Court. “We feel that the motive behind the brutal murder of the deceased as brought forward by the prosecution is trustworthy in the light of material available on record.

    Considering the evidence on record, there is no doubt in our mind that Manjunath had inspected M/s Mittal Automobiles on September 13, 2005 and on finding irregularities, he had reported the same to the IOC and at his instance, the sales and supplies to the Pump of Mittal were suspended.

    “…though, the sales and supplies were resumed on Oct 19, 2005, the deceased had again inspected the pump on November 19, 2005, a day before he was found dead. Suspecting that the deceased would again give report to IOC alleging irregularities in the supplies, in which event, he would either be called upon to pay fine or may render his licence suspended, Mittal bore grudge and with the assistance of other accused, murdered the deceased,” the bench said.

    The apex court said, “We are in full agreement with the Courts below that the accused conspired to commit the offence of murder of the deceased. The nexus between the accused to do away with the deceased, has been established by the prosecution beyond all reasonable doubt.

    “As regards the allegation of contradictions in the statements of prosecution witnesses, we do not find any major contradictions which require our attention and consideration.

    When a witness is examined at length it is quite possible for him to make some discrepancies.

    “No true witness can possibly escape from making some discrepant details. But courts should bear in mind that it is only when discrepancies in the evidence of a witness are so incompatible with the credibility of his version that the Court is justified in jettisoning his evidence, the bench said.

    It further said,”There is no doubt that when two views are possible, the one which favours the accused should be taken and the accused should be acquitted by giving the benefit of doubt. But in the instant case, the evidence on record is trustworthy and consistent, and there is only one view, which points to the guilt of the accused”.

    The court said that it has been consistently taking the view that where a case rests squarely on circumstantial evidence, the inference of guilt can be justified only when all the incriminating facts and circumstances are found to be incompatible with the innocence of the accused or the guilt of any other person.

    “In the present case, on scrutiny of evidence on record, we are convinced that the prosecution had established beyond reasonable doubt the complete chain of events which points at the guilt of the accused.

    “Thus, in the light of circumstances coupled with the complete chain of events, this Court has no manner of doubt to hold that the prosecution has succeeded in proving its case against the accused beyond all reasonable doubt.

    “Taking the entire case in its totality, we do not find any merit in these appeals requiring our interference. Resultantly, the appeals fail and are dismissed,” the bench said.


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