Full of life, multi-talented and an entertainer – Bhagwan Dada will always be remembered as Hindi cinema’s first dancing and action star. His has been an extraordinary journey of a common man who went out to become one of the biggest legends in Hindi cinema.
Manglmurti Films, Kimaya Motion Pictures and Dr Monish Babre’s Ekk Albela is the untold story of Bhagwan Dada and his journey to fulfil his dreams. The biopic features award winning versatile actor Mangesh Desai as Bhagwan Dada. MarathiCineyug.com interviewed Mangesh and understood how he got the role and what was his experience portraying legendary Bhagwan Dada.
Interviewed By: Ajay Kulye
Here are the excerpts from the Interview.
MarathiCineyug.com: First Dancing Role?
Mangesh Desai: (Laughs) Yes, First Dancing Role! I had done dances, but not this authentic and difficult ones. I had not taken dancing that seriously.
MarathiCineyug.com: So how did you get the role in dancing film Ekk Albela?
Mangesh Desai: I think this dancing film came to me through the dancing hero himself, otherwise I never thought I would be essaying Bhagwan Dada, I did not look like him either. When Shekhar Sir narrated me the film, I asked him which role I am playing and he said off course Bhagwan dada. I was shocked, but Shekhar sir had confidence that I can look and play Bhagwan dada perfectly. But I had my doubts about dances and he gave me confidence. I think it could not have happened without an aura, this is some kind of magic. I see the teaser, trailer and songs now and I think I did it.
MarathiCineyug.com: Was it easy or difficult role to play Bhagwan Dada?
Mangesh Desai: For me no role is difficult. I always keep in mind that I have to improve in every role I do, that gives me challenges to improve upon myself as an actor. I had only challenges that no documented evidences about Bhagwan dada were available. Only Albela is available to watch on Youtube. I watched Albela and improvised as per my research. After watching Albela many times, I came to know that Bhagwan dada was a natural actor, but was melodramatic. He must had some traits in real life which comes naturally in film acting too. So accordingly I played him as per the scenes’ demand either in films or in real life.
MarathiCineyug.com: So how did you differentiated between Bhagwan dada and this film’s character?
Mangesh Desai: Shekhar sir always told me that we are not doing mimicry of Bhagwan dada. So we don’t have to 100% follow his style and voice etc. he told me that I have to play Mangesh Desai, but it has to look like Bhagwan Dada. So I picked up Bhagwan dada’s gestures, eye movements, lip movements and his style of walking. I researched and practised on these 4 aspects of the character and I hope it worked out well.
MarathiCineyug.com: The film is in Marathi and Hindi languages, so how does it help the movie in reaching wider audience?
Mangesh Desai: Bhagwan dada used to speak Hindi in real life too as most of his time was spent with producers, distributors, on film sets and with audience. But since we are making this film in Marathi, we tried to keep the balance. His personal and family life is in Marathi, whereas his professional film life is in Hindi. We kept the tone of Hindi as realistic as possible, as we wanted to reach national audience as well. This will help the film reach wider audience, nationally and internationally.
MarathiCineyug.com: This is the first biopic on actor’s life, what do you think about it?
Mangesh Desai: I am so happy for this role and film. He was the first dancing hero, the director who brought fist-fighting in industry and many more firsts which he brought to the industry and I am happy and proud that I am playing his character in this biopic.
MarathiCineyug.com: Where do you find yourself after the release of Ekk Albela in terms of national acclaim?
Mangesh Desai: I did Khel Mandala and my acting was appreciated, the same happened with Bioscope. But nothing much happened there after. But I strongly feel that Ekk Albela will be liked by critics and audience equally and hope the film’s success will help me nationally too.
MarathiCineyug.com: How was your experience working with another acclaimed actress Vidya Balan?
Mangesh Desai: I never felt awkward, but I had my concerns on our tuning during scenes. But Vidya ji is so sweet and down to earth that she made me comfortable and that tuning can be seen in the songs and film. Very nice experience working with her.
MarathiCineyug.com: What message you will give to your fans on the eve of the release of Ekk Albela?
Mangesh Desai: I want to tell only one thing to my fans, that they have always loved me and my work. So I urge them, that if they want me to keep doing good films, then go and watch Ekk Albela in theatres and make it a hugh hit. They have to ensure that this film is a success.
MarathiCineyug.com thanks Mangesh Desai for sharing the beautiful experience with us and wish him and film Ekk Albela a grand success.
Ekk Albela Releases on 24 June 2016.