Manish Gupta is an Indian film director and writer in Bollywood. Manish has directed four movies – RAHASYA, THE STONEMAN MURDERS, HOSTEL and DARNA ZAROORI HAI. And he has written the Story, Screenplay and Dialogues for the movies SARKAR and the latest SECTION 375 amongst many other.
Q. You started your career by writing the story, screenplay & dialogues for the super-hit SARKAR (2005). Then you turned director and you directed DARNA ZAROORI HAI (2006), THE STONEMAN MURDERS (2009), HOSTEL (2011), RAHASYA (2015) and your latest film is SECTION 375 (2019). How fulfilling has your journey been as a Writer-Director?
After 15 years in the industry, I feel my journey has just started. I want to direct movies in Hollywood and then settle down in LA.
Q. You’re known for your exceptional writing skill, you’ve invented a unique genre of your own where you take a real-life incident and you weave an intriguing script around it. What drives you to back your writing with facts?
Real stories give me a sense of belief in the subject and audiences also relate to them.
Q.What do you enjoy more – writing or direction?
Direction. I feel, a screenwriter in India does not get the respect that he/she deserves.
Q.You won the President’s award for the film Hostel, which was about a student’s death due to ragging inside college hostels. How important is it to be recognized?
It feels good, but despite winning the president’s award, few people know about my film ‘Hostel’ which dealt with a very important issue. That’s how important hype is in our industry.
Q.SECTION 375 has been hailed by critics as the best courtroom drama ever made in India. It took you 3 years of research and writing, which also received due recognition and appreciation. What was the thought behind writing Section 375?
In 2009, I was supposed to do a film with Shiney Ahuja. So I used to visit Shiney and his wife Anupam (who was his manager) at their house at Oshiwara, Mumbai. They had a female domestic help, Madhuri, aged 20. One evening, I heard that Shiney has been arrested for the rape of this girl. I rushed to the Oshiwara police station where the DCP said, “We’ve established intercourse, but we’re not sure if it’s consensual or forced” While Anupam explained to me that the DNA report is error-prone, when I read the charge-sheet, the girl’s traumatic statement sent a chill down my spine. I no longer knew who to believe. That’s when I wrote this story.
6. What has life taught you? What are you addicted to or passionate about?
There are no alternatives to hard work, focus and conviction.
Q. What’s next from you?
I am directing two suspense movies.