There was a fight for tickets for 89’s screening in Kerala Film Festival: Manoj Michigan

Director Manoj Michigan is perhaps the busiest person in the film industry at the moment as his third movie titled 89 is on the brink of release. Manoj Michigan is also one of the producers of the numerology based crime thriller which has burdened him with more responsibilities in this project. In spite of all the tight schedule and urgent deadlines Manoj Michigan took out time to speak to Washington Bangla Radio correspondence Jyoti Prakash Mandal and talked about the film, the casts, numerology and more.
WBRi: How the idea of 89 originated?
Manoj: I was fascinated with a novel by Brian L Weiss from where the idea of 89 originated. After reading this book I conceived a concept where a serial killer is involved with a number. I picked 89 as that number not for any specific reason. It’s just because I love this number.
WBRi: Do you believe in numerology?
Manoj:  yes, I do. Though I do not follow it fanatically but sometimes I consider that is number is lucky and working for me and this number is not.
WBRi: Did Saswata come to your mind for the role due to his Bob Biswas act in kahaani?

Manoj: Not really. I previously worked with Saswata in Damadol and after doing so I wanted to work with him again. He is such a versatile actor that he can be casted in any role. He is a delight for any director as one can mould him into anything on screen. So I decided that this role of Sabyasachi will be done by Saswata only.

                                               Manoj Michigan

WBRi: Tell us something about how you have sketched Saswata’s character.
Manoj: Saswata’s character is Sabyasachi who is a brilliant person and has very very sharp intelligience. When he speaks he is quite normal but one can make out that he is a very dangerous person. Sabyasachi has such a terrifying aura even when he is acting very normally.
WBRi: There are some posters of the film which shows 91 or 88 instead of 81. What does that signify?
Manoj: Yes our creative team has done this kind of posters and the actual significance will be understood by one after he or she watches the movie .I cannot divulge the details before release. But I would drag attention to the fact that the tagline of the  89 is ‘Its just not a number’. Going by numerology a number denotes a lot of things like the positive and negative aspects, compatibility etc. During my research on numerology I came to know that one single number can signify over twenty five characters.
WBRi: How did discover Shataf Figar?
Manoj: Shataf did a cameo in Mainak Bhaumik’s ‘Kolkata Calling’ At that time someone forwarded me his pic as I was looking for some fresh faces to cast in that character. I found him very attractive before camera. So I went ahead and casted him in the role.
WRRi: What made you cast Raima Sen as Purba?
Raima: After completing the script I was sure that only Saswata was doing Sabyasachi but initially I was not sure who to cast in the role of Purba. I was juggling the names of Raima , Paoli and Swastika for the role. Among all these names I chose Raima as her eyes is the most expressive and she has a das of innocence in her. So I talke to her and things worked out very fast.
WBRi: 89 is releasing during the Indian Premiere league. Would not be this an disadvantage?
Manoj: Actually I don’t think so. Many good films has released during IPL and has worked well. End of the day the content of the film matters. If the content ios good people will come and watch it , irrespective of whatever else is going on at that time.
WBRi: 89 has also created a stir at some film festivals.
Manoj: 89 was selected for Kerala film Festival which one of the most revered film festivals of India. When I was told about the selection I was a bit of surprised as I have not made this film for festivals. I had made a very commercial crime thriller, not the stuff we generally see in a festival. There is no social or cultural elements in the movie. I was not sure about how it would be accepted in a festival. But to my surprise the movie was allotted for three screenings and after the first screening there was literally a fight for the passes of the second screening. Such was the word of the mouth publicity. Some local press also quoted that 89 is a must watch movie in the festival. Some people there approached me and pleaded to make 89 in Malayali language. That was a very big achievement for me. 89 was again selected for Nilambur film festival . In Dubai 89 was screened in Abhijaan film festival along with Ebar Sabar and Chotuskone. Again the audience there hailed 89 as one of the better films. I had a wonderful experience during these festivals.
WBRi: 89 is also having its world premiere as it is also releasing in Singapore.
Manoj: When I was editing my trailer along with my editor Rick Basu, Shreyosi Sen , the organiser of Darpan film festival in Singapore, watched it and told me to release it in Singapore also. So we went ahead with the idea.