Odisha-born Sattwik Mohanty’s tiny steps to tinsel town

Bhubaneswar: Hailing from the Old Town area of Odisha’s Temple City, Sattwik Mohanty has created an impression in Bollywood with his debut directorial venture, Ranchi Diaries, produced by versatile actor Anupam Kher. Born and brought up in Bhubaneswar, he moved to Mumbai for a job with UTV where he discovered his interest for writing and filmmaking.

The filmmaker was recently in the city to attend a film festival and he spoke to Odisha Sun Times about his journey and cinema. Excerpts:

Q. When was your first professional brush with movies and Bollywood?
A. It was seven years ago, when I quit my job to assist film directors.

Q. What is your movie, Ranchi Diaries, about?
A. It’s about a bunch of losers trying to rob a bank to get out of their miseries.


Q. Why a movie based in Ranchi?
A. My film is not a docu-drama on Ranchi. It is a comedy film which could have been based on any city. Kher sir was very impressed with Ranchi while shooting for MSD-The Untold Story, and proposed that milieu.

Q. What was it like, working with Anupam Kher and other stars like Jimmy Shergil?
A. Anupam Kher, Jimmy Shergil, and Satish Kaushik were extremely supportive towards a newcomer like me and totally surrendered to their onscreen roles. As a scriptwriter, I was happy to see the beautiful portrayal of the characters in the film.

Q. Anupam Kher, in an interview, said that he loved your script and enjoyed working with you. He sees a lot of potential in you. What do you have to say about that?
A. It’s so nice of him to say this for a newcomer like me who’s not even remotely related to the industry. I’d always be grateful to him for the kind of support he has given me when I needed it the most! He went out of his way to produce my film too.

Q. What’s your favorite movie and who’s your favorite movie director? Who do you want to work with, in Bollywood?
A. The first movie of my life, Terminator 2 – Judgment Day, is still my favorite. I love Guy Ritchie, Robert Rodriguez, Edgar Wright, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Fateh Akin, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese. Besides, I loved watching ‘Hera Pheri’ and ‘Oye Lucky Lucky Oye’ is my all-time favourite film. I’d love to work with Akshay Kumar, Ranbir Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Dulquer Salmaan and much more…we have so many cool actors.


Q. What do you have to say about Odisha and Odia movies?
A. I may have been staying away from Odisha, but Odisha has remained with me. I’ve always endorsed Odisha and Odia food in Mumbai and I’m glad that Kher sir and Soundarya could make it to the Kalinga International Film Festival. Odia cinema has a glorious history and we continue to cherish yesteryears films and music. Legendary Akshaya Mohanty’s unmatched magnanimity still mesmerizes us when we listen to his songs.

Having earlier assisted Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Nagesh Kukunoor and Anurag Kashyap, he next plans to make a romcom with some actions. He has definitely made our state proud. Way to go, Sattwik Mohanty!

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