Mumbai, Aug 5 Showing rare grace and sincerity, filmmaker Manish Jha has decided to abandon plans for making a biopic on Dashrath Manjhi, the man who dug a roadway out of a mountain that separated his village in Bihar from the nearest hospital.
A few months back, filmmaker Ketan Mehta decided to make a film on the Mountain Man with Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the lead, precipitating a legal war with Manish Jha and his producer who claimed their idea had been stolen by a writer and sold to Ketan Mehta.
But now Jha sees the matter more rationally.
“I think it’s important that Dashrath Manjhi’s story be told. It doesn’t matter who tells it. I guess somewhere I was being egoistic by insisting on making my own film on the subject even when I heard Ketan was doing it,” said Jha.
“I did feel cheated because I had started work on the subject many years ago. However, now I see that every story has its own destiny. If Ketan was destined to tell Dashrath Manjhi’s story, so be it,” he added.
Jha’s plan was to make Manjhi’s story as a bilingual.
“I had planned it with Dhanush. It was going to be in Hindi and Tamil. We were both very excited. But then I don’t know why the delay happened. It killed my dream project. I don’t blame anyone for it,” he said.
Jha blames himself for the story’s leak out.
“If in my enthusiasm over the subject I shared the idea with a writer who passed it on to another filmmaker, it is my fault. After all these years, I am still a stranger to the ways of show business. In spite of being a filmmaker for 12 years, I still don’t know how the system works,” said Jha, who in his over a decade-long career as a filmmaker has directed only two films – “Matrabhoomi” and “Anwar”.
Jha says he spent his time travelling across India and preparing for the film on Dashrath Manjhi, but now he says: “I’ll direct something else. I am sure Ketan has done a fine job.”
After hearing of Jha’s decision to abandon the Dashrath Manjhi film, Mehta said: “I am thankful and relieved. My film is looking good and Nawazuddin Siddiqui has given a stupendous performance. We complete the film in December.”