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Southern Charm

From television to digital to playing a pivotal role in the Malayalam movie SoloManit Jorua has done it all. The young actor, who is elated by the positive response the film has received, spoke to Bhakti Mehta about his journey, role in the movie and director Bejoy Nambiar

Upcoming actor Manit Jorua is riding high on his first South film Solo being appreciated by the audience. “As an actor, my director’s response was the most important. After that comes the response of the audience. When the director, Bejoy Nambiar, saw the film and was going through the edit process, he sent me a message that I still have with me. It said, ‘Manit, you have aced the part and you have done it so beautifully that I am proud of you.”

Jorua’s joy knew no bounds and little did he know, there was more to come. “We also had a screening where Bejoy, Dulquer Salmaan, Neha Sharma and the audience watched the film. Everyone appreciated me and Bejoy told me that everyone was talking about me. It was wonderful. The movie is an anthology, so I am one of the few important characters in it. After the film, people went back asking, ‘Who is that guy?’ To have them notice your work as an actor is a wonderful feeling.”

The young actor waxes eloquent on his bond with Nambiar, whose clarity of thought is striking. “I adore him as a director and as a human being. The best thing about him is that he knows what he is doing. He is very sure of his filmmaking and works on every single aspect. Apart from filmmaking, he understands the actor’s take as well. He gives you the freedom to perform.”

This is Jorua’s second project with Nambiar and he reiterates that the director is like a guiding force for an actor. “If I have an instinct to react to a scene differently, he supports that. If you’re going haywire, he will tell you what to do and what not to do. He is also extremely dedicated to and was completely engrossed in the film. This inspired me to give my best. Also, every time I work with him, he makes me believe that I am a great actor. This appreciation helps a lot,” says Jorua.

All praise for his Solo co-stars – Dulquer Salmaan and Neha Sharma – he adds, “Dulquer is fantastic and super crazy. He is a gentleman and I definitely want to work with him again. He is very real and humble. I didn’t know who he was when I went on the set because I had not watched his films. But we connected instantly. With some people, you click instantly. We also have a shared passion for motorcycles. Oddly, we own the same kind of bike, so we talked a lot about that too. As for Neha, when I saw her first poster of Solo, I tweeted to her, saying, ‘No one can look more beautiful than you do.’ She is a very nice person and very professional.”

The actor plays the part of a boxer in the movie. On the brief given to him for the role, he explains, “Bejoy said, ‘Manit, this is the film and this is the brief.’ He told me that there is a love triangle between me, Dulquer and Neha. He told me it’s a strong, bilingual film. As an actor, when I heard this character, I started to get flashes of it as I visualised it. For me, if the visual looks good, then my instincts say ‘go for it’. I said yes, and the next morning I was on location.”

At the time, the young actor was also doing a project with Nagesh Kukunoor, where he had been cast in the role of a commando. “I trained with a real commando for three hours a day. I was so fit at that point, it helped during Solo. I am a gymnast myself and after the additional training, I didn’t need to prep very much physically. But I did prepare for the role mentally, like I do with every one of my characters. I asked for the script, I read it and did my mental preparation. I was very happy at that time because I was at the peak of my fitness, working out, eating right, etc. All this helped portray this part,” recalls Jorua.

Having worked in both the South and Hindi film industries, Jorua points to some key differences. “Production values and stuff like that are very different. I have a different connect with people in the South industry because I feel they are very, very talented. Everyone focuses only on their work and does it really well. Their jobs don’t usually overlap which is a very good thing. The technicians work on movies like it’s their own project. The South industry is very organised. We need to get a little more organised here in Bollywood. Everything, like camera, set-ups, locations, VFX, etc is superb in Bollywood but we need to focus more on content.”

On his upcoming movie projects, the young actor reveals, “I mentioned the movie with Nagesh Kukunoor. Then there is another film directed by Himanshu Yadav which releases in February or March 2018. As for South films, I have not been approached for any more yet. I am hoping for something good.” 

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