EXCLUSIVE: How ‘Spin’ Director Manjari Makijany made Disney Channel’s first movie with an Indian-American lead

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Manjari Makijany’s next film Spin was released on 15th August in India. While speaking to Bollywood Bubble exclusively Manjari gives talks about the film and also her future plans. “Spin is written by Carley Steiner and Josh Cagan. When my agent gave me the script I loved the story. I was finishing the post-production of Skater Girl when this project came up and I found the script interesting. I resonated with the script and thought this will be a wonderful way to showcase Indian culture in a contemporary way for the mainstream audience. I went upto Disney and presented my vision to them.” Speaking about her research work for Spin, Manjari shares that she had to know the subculture of DJ from the DJ consultant on board and then the composer of the film Marius de Vries who oversaw everything. So how much you personally liked the DJ stuff? She says, “That was an interesting aspect as I was not exposed to this. I learnt a lot about DJs while making of this film.”

What was the need for you to become a filmmaker? “It all started with the need for good storytelling. This is a beautiful way to connect with your audience. I have personally explored the world through various stories. I am a very curious person and while meeting people I want to know about the language they speak, the culture they follow and so on.” Manjari, who is the daughter of famous Hindi movies villain Macmohan, surprisingly does not have much of an influence of Hindi films. She adds, “Theatre has a big influence in my life, I remember once I went to watch a children’s play and I was quite amazed that a empty stage has the capacity of telling so many things.” 
Manjari’s sister Vinati is also part of this industry. So how do the sisters work together? “Well, we work pretty well. She is very good with the actors and has done a lot of theatre as an actress. She has also executed theatre workshops for our talent for our films Skater Girl and Spin.”

Manjari also has a viewpoint when asked why female directors in India have not got achieved great success? “I feel there are many women filmmakers but not at par with the male counterparts. And I think there was also an unconscious bias when people thought for the longest time that maybe a woman can’t do this. In fact I have grown up in a liberal family and I was not aware that film industry is a male dominated industry. But when I started my career as an assistant director, I saw people can make films at the age of 23-24 and thought even I can make a film. Women need to prove their potential first. And I also feel women directors bring a different perspective in the film.”

Spin also has Abhay Deol playing an important role. How you will sum up your experience of working with him? “It was a great working experience and he completely trusted my vision. I am looking forward to working with him again.” So do you see working in a Bollywood potboiler film with actors like Varun Dhawan, Tiger Shroff. “The way the OTT platforms have opened up there are many diverse subjects and I think the lines are also blurring. But I would like to make a film in the near future with them.”

 

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What is that one piece of advice you have taken from your father Macmohan? “Not being affected by appreciation and criticism. Approach your work with honesty and integrity. He has also been living his life that way.”

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