Ketan Mehta: Biopics challenge me as a filmmaker

Ketan Mehta has a knack for directing biopics as the director finds it fascinating and challenging to explore real stories.

Ketan Mehta
Ketan Mehta

Mehta, who helmed films on the lives of soldier Mangal Pandey, painter Raja Ravi Varma, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Dashrath Manjhi in "Mangal Pandey: The Rising", "Rang Rasiya", "Sardar" and "Manjhi: The Mountain Man" respectively, said such stories are inspiring.

"Out of 12 films in my career, four are biopic. I have done all kind of films before this. But biopic fascinates me because they are real stories.

"They are inspiring. They are much more identifiable and inspiring. As a filmmaker, it challenges me to do necessary research and revisit that period. I feel facts are generally stranger than fiction," Ketan told PTI in an interview.

In the upcoming film "Manjhi: The Mountain Man", which will see Nawazuddin Siddiqui stepping into the shoes of Manjhi, Mehta did an extensive research for two years to write the script.

"In 2007, he (Manjhi) died and I found the stories published by newspapers and magazines very inspiring of the man, who carved out a road in 22 years from a mountain for his beloved wife. And that's when I started making a film on it.

We spent two years in research and scripting," he said.

A FTII graduate, Mehta said he faced many roadblocks to complete the film as he had to deal with a long legal battle too.

"The village, where we shot our film, is the original one where he used to stay. It is situated at a very remote place.

It is one of the poorest villages of India. And the area is Naxal-affected. But still we decided to go and shoot there because the location is really amazing.

"On the other hand, there were four other filmmakers who were making the same film. So, we started getting legal notices the moment we started shooting the film. We had to fight court cases to shoot the film. We finally got the verdict in our favour and completed the film."

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