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Last Updated 28.11.2021 | 11:13 PM IST
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EXCLUSIVE: Shareen Mantri Kedia and Kishor Arora speak about signing Kartik Aaryan for their next; call him a ‘THOROUGH professional’; also reveal how they managed to get Majid Majidi on board for Beyond The Clouds

Bollywood News

If you regularly read Bollywood news, then I am sure in recent times, you must have heard the names of Namah Pictures. Founded by Shareen Mantri Kedia and Kishor Arora, the banner and its founders first came into the limelight when they managed to get celebrated Iranian director Majid Majidi to India. Their first production, Beyond The Clouds (2018), directed by Majidi also served as the launch vehicle of Ishaan Khatter. In short, they are the ones who launched Ishaan, and also Malavika Mohanan and Majid Majidi in Bollywood! The same year, they made one-of-its-kind web series, Karenjit Kaur – The Untold Story Of Sunny Leone (2018), on Zee5. Some months later, they entered Marathi cinema and released Anandi Gopal (2019). This period biopic won two national awards and as many as 10 Filmfare awards. It was directed by Sameer Vidhwans, who is now directing a grand love story for Namah Pictures, starring Kartik Aaryan. They also joined hands with Sajid Nadiadwala for this untitled film, which was earlier called Satyanarayan Ki Katha. And that’s not all. They are also producing Lost, starring Yami Gautam, and directed by Pink (2016) director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury.

EXCLUSIVE Shareen Mantri Kedia and Kishor Arora speak about signing Kartik Aaryan for their next; call him a ‘THOROUGH professional’; also reveal how they managed to get Majid Majidi on board for Beyond The Clouds

So in their four-year career, Shareen Mantri Kedia and Kishor Arora have made films in diverse genres and have worked with some prominent actors, filmmakers and technicians. Yet, it is surprising that not much is known about them and their journey. Bollywood Hungama decided to meet up with them and understand from them about their journey and a lot more.

Firstly, how is it going? You have come a long way and now, you have two significant films coming up…
Shareen Mantri Kedia: It’s an amazing feeling. In the pandemic, we have got the time to watch a lot and thus develop a lot of stories and content. We have been doing it for quite a couple of years now. It’s quite exciting. We have just finished Lost and its edit is going on at present. Our other film (starring Kartik Aaryan) will be shot early next year.

Earlier, we used to dabble in ad films and music videos. We believe in the mantra of ‘one step at a time’. We are trying to be selective about the stories that we really love and want to tell. And all our films are different from each other. Any story which is exciting, regardless of genres, we are up for it.

Who coined the term 'Namah Pictures'? It's an interesting name for a banner...
Kishor Arora: Both Shareen and I mulled over a lot of names but finally zeroed in on Namah as it instantly resonated with us. As it is with this submission we apply ourselves to the endeavour of bringing interesting stories to screen. The foundation of Namah is built on a burning desire to tell stories that are engaging and entertaining. It's our continuous endeavour to create an environment that nurtures creativity.

I remember a lot of industry members and movie fans were pleasantly surprised when both of you were able to sign Majid Majidi for Beyond The Clouds. Was it easy or was it tough convincing him?
Shareen Mantri Kedia: Well, it was quite a journey! We actually chased him for quite some time, for a few years. He called us to different parts of the world to meet him to understand how serious we were about making this film with him. We flew to Dubai, Iran, Turkey and many other places. He gave his word and later even kept his word that he’s doing a film with us. So you just have to be at it. He’s a brilliant filmmaker of course and it was an amazing experience just being on his set. There was so much to learn for him. I miss him now. I need to make another film with him!

Are you still in touch with Majid Majidi?
Shareen Mantri Kedia: Yes, of course. We are now like family. We chat at least once a month. It’s not only about work. We talk about other things also. Due to the pandemic, I haven’t met him in 1 ½ - 2 years. So I miss him a lot. Just before the pandemic, I had been to Iran where he was shooting Sun Children (2020). So I visited the sets of his film.

There were reports that both of you would be making Majid Majidi’s next, titled Gold Mine? Any update on this front?
Shareen Mantri Kedia: That is a great subject. We are definitely going to work together. We are just figuring which script that should be.

And what about Floating Gardens? Was it the same script as Beyond The Clouds?
Shareen Mantri Kedia: No, that was a different film.

So will you be producing it?
Shareen Mantri Kedia: (smiles) Let’s see!

How was it getting into the web space and producing the web series, Karenjit Kaur – The Untold Story Of Sunny Leone?
Shareen Mantri Kedia: It had 2 seasons. We shot it in Cape Town. We got Sunny Leone’s life story rights and we had a different take on it. We told her that we want to talk about the family story and her journey. The experience was interesting as her story is also interesting. We got her to play by herself which has rarely been done.

Sunny Leone had said in an interview that she had a bad experience with her documentary, Mostly Sunny, and hence she was apprehensive about giving her nod for Karenjit Kaur – The Untold Story Of Sunny Leone. And she also added that it was you who convinced her…
Shareen Mantri Kedia: Yes, I did convince her (smiles). We were honest and told her about our vision and intention behind telling her story. That’s why we also called the series The Untold Story Of Karenjit Kaur as that was her real name. It was fun to work with her. This was a time when the web series platform had just started in India. So even for us, it was new territory.

Speaking of Anandi Gopal, it got critical acclaim, box office success and even many awards. How was the experience in this film?
Shareen Mantri Kedia: Winning so many awards was an amazing feeling. And the experience of making Anandi Gopal was lovely. The story, by Karan Shrikant Sharma, itself was so appealing and beautiful. It was about India’s first female doctor and how it was her husband’s dream to see her as a doctor. We also played on the relationship between the two. Anandi’s mantra in life was that if you want something, be at it. So she went and got that degree. Working with director Sameer Vidhwans was also a fine experience and we are working with him again (in Kartik Aaryan’s next). We told him the story as we wanted him to do it and we have a good working relationship.

Earlier this year, there were allegations on Kartik Aaryan that he’s unprofessional. How has been your experience of working with him?
Shareen Mantri Kedia: Well, he has been a thorough professional. He’s talented and full of energy. He’s also very sweet, friendly and very approachable. So it’s a lot of fun working with him. As makers, we have to enjoy the process of making a film. So it’s important to work with like-minded people and only then can we enjoy the journey. Also, he really gets into the film and the skin of the character.

How has been the experience of working on Lost?
Shareen Mantri Kedia: It is an emotional thriller and an investigative drama. We shot the film in around 33 days in Kolkata. It’s a very good looking film and consists of amazing performances from the entire cast - Yami Gautam, Pankaj Kapur sir, Rahul Khanna, Neil Bhoopalam, Pia Bajpayee and Tushar Pandey.

How did the director of Pink, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, come on board?
Shareen Mantri Kedia: When we met, we instantly connected on the script and moved forward.. That’s how we all came together on Lost. He’s a good human being and a good filmmaker. He’s quite an expert at his craft. Also, Avik Mukhopadhyay has shot it very well. In fact, we have not seen Kolkata for a long time in our films. That also compelled us to go for it.

What are your forthcoming projects?
Shareen Mantri Kedia: We have acquired the book rights of Phoolan Devi’s autobiography. So it’ll be a series and it’s currently under development.

There were reports that Namah Pictures also plans to make a film on Birsa Munda, to be directed by Pa Ranjith…
Shareen Mantri Kedia: Yes, we’ll be making that film. Work is going on.

It was not Dhadak but Beyond The Clouds that served as Ishaan Khatter’s debut. Also, it was Malavika Mohanan’s debut Hindi film. Are you still in touch with them?
Shareen Mantri Kedia: Yes, we are. We all have a very good bond – Ishaan, Malavika, Mr Majidi and us. That film was very special and we all connected very well. So, yes, we are in touch and we’ll definitely work together.

Namah Pictures collaborated with Zee Studios on Beyond The Clouds, Karenjit Kaur – The Untold Story Of Sunny Leone, Anandi Gopal and Lost. How has been the experience of working with this studio?
Shareen Mantri Kedia: They are great to collaborate with. Lost will be our fourth venture with Zee Studios. It has been an incredible journey and a relationship that continues to grow stronger.

For Kartik Aaryan’s film, Namah Pictures has collaborated with Sajid Nadiadwala’s Nadiadwala Grandsons Entertainment…
Shareen Mantri Kedia: Yes and it makes us very happy. We couldn’t have asked for a better collaboration for this film. Mr Sajid Nadiadwala is a creative force to reckon with and a wonderful human being.

More Pages: Beyond The Clouds Box Office Collection , Beyond The Clouds Movie Review


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