‘We should trust our creative instincts over excessive budgets’

... says veteran music composer and director V Manohar as he talks about his upcoming film Darbar, slated to release this week
‘We should trust our creative instincts over excessive budgets’

When V Manohar entered the film industry almost three decades ago, it was with aspirations of becoming a director. However, his lyric-writing talent caught the attention of filmmaker Upendra, who turned him into a music composer. After working in over 230 films as a composer, he also turned director with O Mallige (1997), which achieved great success. He followed it up with Indradhanush(2000), which fell short of expectations. Now, 23 years later, Manohar returns to helm his third project, Darbar, which will also have music composed by him.

In an interview with CE, Manohar, who is also known for his appearance on the popular reality show Maja Talkies, shares the reasons behind the long gap in his directorial career and discusses the disparities between shooting on a reel and working in the digital realm.

“After Indradhanush, I struggled to find the right producers. Those who expressed interest either abandoned the projects midway or caused delays, putting me in a difficult situation. Fortunately, my involvement in music composition kept me occupied, and my work in the small screen industry helped me stay afloat,” says Manohar, expressing his bewilderment at the failure of production houses to recognise his directorial capabilities.

Having directed O Mallige and Indradhanush using traditional methods, transitioning to direct Darbar proved to be a novel experience for the filmmaker. “Shooting on reels had its limitations, leaving little room for mistakes. We had to conduct extensive rehearsals before capturing the final shots. With digital technology, we can afford to say ‘One more, one more,’ but rehearsals remain essential even today. The filmmaking process has undergone significant advancements. Regardless of our approach, the key to competing lies in presenting compelling stories. I believe that we should rely on our creative instincts rather than extravagant budgets,” explains the veteran.

Darbar is presented as a political satire, highlighting the corrupt system with a touch of humour. Manohar firmly believes that contemporary audiences, immersed in the fast-paced world of the 2020s, prefer light-hearted subjects and a swift narrative pace. This understanding influenced his direction of Darbar.

Sathish, who plays the lead, has also written the dialogues and screenplay. The film features a cast comprising Jahnvi, Sadhu Kokila, veteran actor Ashok, Lakshmi Devamma, Naveen Padil, Santhu, Karthik, Thriveni, and others.

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