Home » Interviews » “The Kannada film industry is making a lot of progress and it is bound to grow in the future” – Diganth Manchale

Diganth is one of the most popular faces in Kannada cinema. Around six years back, the actor made his Bollywood debut with ‘Wedding Pullav’. Though he had bunch of other films lined up for released in Bollywood, none of them saw the light of the day. Diganth continued working in the Kannada film industry and recently, made a comeback to the Hindi entertainment space with Kunal Kohli’s ‘Ramyug’. Initially designed as a film, ‘Ramyug’ was released as a 10-episode series on MX Player a couple of days back.

In this interview, the actor talks about playing Lord Ram in the show, working with Kunal Kohli, losing out on work because of a fatal incident, bouncing back in the industry, the growth happening in the Kannada film industry and more.  

Many actors in India have stated that playing Lord Ram would be like a dream come true for them. What was your reaction when you were offered to portray him in Ramyug?

I was overwhelmed! During my childhood, I was an avid watcher of Ramayan, the TV show. I wouldn’t miss it for anything on the planet. Hanuman was my favourite character then. I was so inspired by the show that I would make wooden bows and arrows at home. Playing Ram is a privilege an honour which I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Hindi is not your first language. Was getting the lines right the biggest challenge while working on this project?

Yes, there were a lot of Sanskrit words. That was definitely a challenge for me as I don’t speak in Hindi regularly. Even other actors who were familiar with Hindi, found the dialogues to be a little difficult as there were many Sanskrit words. You could not change or alter anything. I thank my co-actors as they were very patient with me when I gave multiple takes because of my language issues (laughs). We used to have an hour-long session of Ramayana every day on the sets. Working on this project was a beautiful experience.

How was the experience of working with director Kunal Kohli?

It was an honour for me to get this opportunity to work with him. I have been a fan of his work since ‘Hum Tum’. When I was confirmed for ‘Ramyug’, I was the happiest as I was going to be working with a director like him. He is a walking encyclopaedia. He has a great amount of knowledge on a variety of things.  

Five years back, during the shoot of the Hindi film ‘Ticket To Bollywood’ you suffered from a fatal injury in your right eye. Have you recovered from it now?

It’s a permanent damage but I have come to terms with it. I have less vision on my right eye. With contact lens, I can manage now.

You lost out on a lot of work because of that accident too.

Yes, for two years, I didn’t have any work. It was quite depressing to be in that space. But then, I was offered ‘Ramyug’ after this phase and things slowly started falling into place.

There were a couple of other Hindi films you had shot around that time like ‘Sattack’ and ‘Jee Bhar Ke Jee Le’. Was it disappointing?

Yes, it feels quite disappointing when you put in so much effort and hard work into something and people don’t get to see it. I guess it’s part and parcel of one’s journey in this industry. Even when I was at the peak of my career in Kannada industry, many of my films there got stuck.   

Now that ‘Ramyug’ has come out, are you looking forward to getting back to Hindi cinema?

I haven’t really thought about it. I am not making a conscious effort towards doing. If I get a good project like Ramyug, I will definitely take it up.

Last year on your birthday, you released posters of your four upcoming films.  

Yes, I have a couple of good films lined up in Kannada. A couple of my films are still under production. The thing is that Covid situation has gone out of control. The first priority is to be safe. We have to be patient and positive.

If you had to recommend three of your Kannada films to the Hindi audience, which ones they would be?

I would definitely recommend ‘Gaalipata’. It’s a multi-starrer. It’s a film that released in 2008 and people still watch it whenever it comes on TV. The audience loves it so much that they keep watching it again and again. We are coming up with ‘Gaalipata 2’ now. It’s in the ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ space. ‘Katheyondu’ was very different. ‘Manasare’ is another film that will always be very special as I met Aindrita, who is my wife now, on that film.

The success of ‘KGF’ proved to be a big boost for the Kannada film industry. The film reached out to the audiences across the industry and implored many to explore Kannada cinema. ‘KGF 2’ is slated to release this year. Do you expect more pan-India films to be made in the Kannada industry?

Definitely! I can see a lot of pan-India films being made in the near future. The Kannada film industry is making a lot of progress and it is bound to grow in the future.