Mangalorean.com is proud to present a Cine Artist, Cine Director, Choreographer, Event Organizer, TV Host, Photographer, Costume Designer, Film Journalist, and a Star Coordinator, as a Mangalorean Star for this month. Already known in the widely versatile world of film making, Sundeep Malani dons many hats with ease and complete panache.
Sundeep Malani was born in 1971 to a Roman Catholic family in Mumbai and was raised in Mangalore. Malani himself did his early schooling at the Milagres School in Mangalore and he pursued his BBM at SDM College, Mangalore.
His father Ramesh Malani was a film distributor in Mangalore for many years and was the manager of Ramakanthi Theatre. His father is a Sindhi who converted to Christianity in 1971, while his mother Meena Cutinha, is a Mangalorean Catholic and the sister of actor Dolphy Cutinha, well known as "Dolla".
Before his career in journalism, Malani worked as a Japanese translator for some years in Paradise Stone Exporting Company in Mangalore and Jin Information Systems in Bangalore. He was also a baila dancer in Eric Ozario's group in his earlier days, taking part in various functions. Later, he organized film dance competitions and cultural events from 1992 to 1995 very successfully in Mangalore, under the name of "Malani Presents Something Special!"
Malani completed a course in Sandesha and then became a film journalist for Canara Times. Later, he moved to Bangalore and started writing for the Times of India and then switched on to script writing for Kannada films.
Malani has worked with several directors as an associate as well as directed many films.
As a associate director, he has worked with directors K. Subaash for the Tamil and Telugu versions of One Two Three (starring Prabhu Deva and Jyothika) and Mugur Sundaram for the Kannada film Manasella Neene. Malani co-directed the Kannada film, Miss California.
He has directed his first Bollywood film, Woh 5 Din, a suspense thriller shot in Nainital and Bareilly. It stars newcomers Akash Hora, Hunny Hora, Piush Anand, Anant Joshi and Jenica Kalra. He has also directed several short films Moments, Shaayad and Brigade Road. His Kannada film, just completed is on the post production stages. The details of which will be revealed shortly.
As a screenwriter, Malani has co-written the script for the upcoming Bollywood film, ‘Hello India’, starring Akshav Kumar and Udita Goswami. Malani has acted in a few serials, films and stage (Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Tulu, Konkani and Hindi) out of which in a Konkani film "Bogsanhe" he played the lead role, in three Tulu films character artist (Bangar Patler, 8 September Annajji, 18 Kannada films (Z, Julie, Indhradhanush, C/o Footpath, Tirupathi, Masala, Jootaata, etc.), 2 Tamil films one Telugu film. He also acted in the Konkani films “Kazaar” and “Padri” and the Tamil film,”Yaar Indha Devathai”.
He has variously served as a TV host for local Mangalorean channels, events organizer, costume designer and directed a few music videos for local channels involving dancers and stage artistes of Mangalore. Malani has acted in a few theatre plays as well.
Malani is currently also part of the direction team in Onir’s I Am series, working on the I Am Abhimanyu and I Am Omar Films.
In recognition for his achievements, Malani has received the following awards:
- Outstanding Young Persons Award for Fine Arts by Mangalore Junior Chambers (15 September 1998)
- Master Couple Award (with Reshma) – Mangalore Junior Chambers (13 September 1996)
- Young Achiever Best Dancer Award – Received by Sri Jesudas by Tarangini (1994)
- Best Team Manager Award – Inter Parish Competition at Mangalore (1996)
Sundeep Malani is married to Reshma, the niece of popular Konkani singer, Meena Rebimbus. Reshma works in a logistics company and is a part-time costume designer. She has designed costumes for Kannada films like Preethse (Sonali Bendre and Shivaji Kumar) Indradhanush, Miss California and for Pooja Gandhi in Onir’s I am Abhimanyu.
They have a son, Silver Rensan Malani. Silver has undergone dance training under the tutelage of choreographer Terence Lewis at his academy and was awarded the best dancer award in 2009. He is the cousin of actress Babita (Randhir Kapoor’s wife and Karisma / Kareena’s mother).
Sandeep speaks to Team Mangalorean on the important moments that shaped his life.
What inspired your interest in the film industry?
I have always been attracted to films right from my childhood. The reason being, my dad was more of a filmi person, He was into film distribution and used to discuss films at home. Film Magazines, Audio cassettes, LPG recorders were our daily stuff as we had a shop of these for sale, Later we moved to a Video Cassette Library too. Meanwhile my cousin in Mumbai was into films. Having closely watched the muhuraths, shoots and previews and all the time watching films in theatres and glued to the screen, I would always visualize myself being a part of it in my early days itself.
Who is your role model in the film industry?
My Role Model – Well, as an actor it is Amithabh Bachchan and Kamal Hassan, and actress none other than the one and only Sridevi. I have been following her films since my childhood, all in all her South and Hindi films. And I believe, its Sri’s films that made me fall in love with the Silver Screen. Besides, I am a die hard Yash Chopra fan and I love Mahesh Bhatt and Mani Ratnam films too.
Explain the key factors necessary in the direction of a film.
Directing a film is not an easy task. A director is the captain of the ship and it’s up to him to sail the ship perfectly which carries a lot of passengers and here it’s the entire team that he is supposed to take care of, right from the actors to technicians of all departments. And so, to make a film look beautiful and with grace it’s the understanding of the cameraman and the director with the cooperation of the artists that looks wonderful and can create magic. Also, one just cannot wake up early one morning and dress up and go to a set and say Action. A director needs to do his homework with all the scenes in place, script tight and screenplay perfect. And it’s always advisable for one to learn, assist some notable director and learn from him and also watch films of all kinds.
I was privileged to have worked under the well known director K Subaash, who was a Mani Ratnam protégé. Also I had the opportunity to learn a lot from Onir, with whom I worked for his films as his assistant for I AM Abhimanyu and Omar.
Which is the better job in the film industry, producing or directing?
Directing is always a better job. Producing is risky as the producer is the one who gains or loses. It’s more like a gamble and I am more interested in creativity, which a writer and a director can do. So, I am happy being a director and can show my creativity in many other films with regard to the subjects they are made upon.
Which is the most unforgettable moment in your life?
As this question is related to films, well, I have lots of unforgettable moments to cherish. Some of them being, meeting Amithabh Bachchan and greeting him in my childhood, facing the camera for the first time for an advertisement with actor Kader Khan in Mumbai, being a part of a Tulu film as a villain, watching myself on the big screen as a Hero of a Konkani film, directing my first film, matching steps with Prabhu Deva for a song in a Kannada film and being a part of some films with great actors. But the one that I cherish the most is meeting Sridevi (and that has been only in my dream) which I would want to make a reality and that would be the day I would say is the most memorable moment of my life with regard to my profession of being in films.
What are your immediate plans for the future?
As of now, the following months will see my films getting released. Woh 5 Din is a fun suspense thriller, while Shaayad is a bold erotic love story. My Kannada film has just been completed and I am looking forward for its release soon and very excited about it. Besides that, two of my other short films ‘Moments’ and ‘Toh’ are also for festival entries. I have plans to direct two Kannada films in the near future and a Hindi film to go on floors this December. Besides this, I am looking forward to the release of Onir’s ‘I AM’ wherein I am a part of his venture (as his assistant) and the film ‘Hello India’ with Akshay Kumar and Sunil Shetty, for which I have written the script.
What are the common hurdles you have had to face in the film industry?
I haven’t faced any hurdles so far, touch wood. I have managed to go according to the way it has lead me. I have had the opportunity to be a part of several film industries, right from Tulu to Konkani to Tamil to Telugu to Kannada to Hindi and also I have done a English and a Japanese film too. So, that makes me feel proud to be part of all these film woods.
How much support did you get from your parents to get into film industry?
My dad was always a part of it somehow or the other and although my mom was strict with education, when time came for me to get into it, no one stopped me. And I had support from them always. Besides, my better half knew that I was into films and is supportive of me even today!
What is your message to youngsters?
My message to youngsters is live your dreams. Don’t let it go. Believe in it and it will come true. Stay safe and enjoy your life with a smile on your face all the time.
Submitted by Violet Pereira, Team Mangalorean - Mangalore