Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Interview with Director Maan Singh

Most of us watch television shows and know the names of the actors and everything about them. However there are many other elements that go into making a television series, Direction being the most important. We at TellyTadka decided to talk to Maan Singh( not the character) but the Director of the hit series Geet-Hui Sabse Parayi and find out, what is it about him that makes him tick as a Director. They say, what you are within reflects not just in your personality but your work and surroundings as well. Same seems to be the case with Maan Singh as well.
Maan has done Miley Jab Hum Tum for StarOne in the past and we all know how successful the show was while it aired. Fans to this date demand a sequel to the same. It was no surprise then, when the Director of the show was asked to take the responsibility to tell Geet as a story through his vision.

Q. 1 How did Geet happen?

I was doing MJHT and the Creative Team was the same as the one on Geet. When the show was wrapping up I was called to work on Geet. When I came here, Nissar Parvez was already there as the Director. For a few days I observed the shoots , read screenplays, watched old episodes and realised that I really loved the way the characters had been sketched out; Especially the chemistry between Geet and Maan captured my attention.  If you notice in the initial episodes how, Geet who is from a small town had transitioned into being a part of the city life and its ways I really liked all of that and instantly agreed to be a part of it.

Q.2 What did you like about the story?

The story began with honour killings which is still prevalent in Punjab today. As I also hail from a small village in Punjab the subject was something I could relate to. I moved in to metros only later. Interestingly, the main lead character is also named after me. The Creative Director of the show at that time was Richa Yamini, who I had worked with for over two years on Miley Jab Hum Tum, she called me to tell me she had decided on calling the main lead of her new show by my name. I joked with her that she will have to pay a royalty for doing so. I am not at all like Maan Singh Khurana the character though.

Q.3 What inspires you as a director in a story like Geet-Hui Sabse Parayi?

The struggle of a girl, where she fought for herself and the baby, was a concept that motivated me the most. There is a stark contrast in the characters of Geet and Maan and I think that’s what makes their chemistry possible. This is what I think inspires me to direct the scenes on the show.

Q.4 What are the factors that trigger your imagination as a Director? How do you conceive the scenes that we finally watch on screen?

MJHT as a show was very different from GEET in terms of flavour. It was a show that was full of life, activity, energy and fun. The situation there was hence was very different.  While switching to Geet it was very important for me to switch to a totally new scenario and set up. The characters here play a very important role. Once you know the characters the execution becomes easy. Their body language, gestures, the way they emote on screen also subsequently comes along. That’s when I set my own expectations as to what I would want to see in a scene and I work accordingly.

Q.5 How do you blend romance into drama?

Romance between Maan and Geet is the focal point of the story. Every story needs a drama to move forward. In Geet’s case, the drama point would be scenarios where she fights for justice and for her baby at every stage of her life. However without a romantic angle it becomes very boring to take any story further. And to present romance in the most convincing manner, one needs to get the nuances right. It is only then that one gets the chemistry right. One needs to know the in and out of romance. You need to know what romance and love is. It helps you fit it better with your characters. I take things from my personal experience.

Q.6 How important is it to achieve your love? (Har pyaar ka anjaam Milan hi nahi hota)

(ref: In GEET, though Geet had gotten married to someone else, her destiny lay somewhere else and her love came out only later for someone else. How do you ensure such situations are portrayed sensitively?)
Maan:If you ask me in real life, it depends on where you see your happiness. If you know, you are happy with a person and you know the person is the love of your life you would automatically want to be with the person and hence would work towards the same.

Q.7 How would you define a good day at work?

It’s hard to say. But when everything goes right on a day’s shoot, from the scripts, to correct lighting, to the instructions to and from the DOPS, everything falls in place. When one of them also is not in order anything could go wrong. It’s all basically team work. Many people provide their inputs and contribution and when it all goes right I would call it a good day.

Q. 8 How much freedom do you give to your actors when it comes to their performance?

Actors come rehearsed from their make-up vans once the scripts are handed over to them. They are hence mentally prepared to do a scene. Besides now that they have worked for a year on the show  they know their characters really well. Hence characterisation is no longer a problem. It’s the feel that has to be brought out perfectly. That’s why I make it a point to discuss the scenes with the actors and see how best things can be worked out. When we feel changes are to be made, I tell them and then we take it from there.

Q. 9 People attribute the lack of storyline to the last minute arrival of scenes. Comment.

That’s the constraint, I would say, of working on a daily soap. With a show running 6 days a week these things are bound to happen at times. However as a Director this doesn’t really affect my performance as I know the story and characters. I already know the back story and what has to be logically ahead. So once the scenes arrive, I read them, and it’s not very difficult to execute them. This doesn’t affect the story as such.

Q. 10 Do you also edit what you shoot?

With a 9-9 shift it becomes difficult to shoot as well as edit the sequences. However whenever there are song and fight/shaadi sequences where you need to pick from a whole lot of shot scenes we do sit and edit our own scenes as we know which would be the most apt one.

Q.11 What is the importance of parallel tracks and characters on a show?

Introducing new characters always adds value to the story. Maan and Geet are married now, but the drama needs to continue. We hence bring in elements like conflict, tension, romance and other scenarios into the storyline in order to take the story further.
For example if you look at the Arjun and Annie track, Arjun realised the value of Annie only when Manav came in. He didn’t know till then that he could get jealous in the presence of another person. He had otherwise taken her for granted. With that track we brought out insecurity, love and uncertainty in their story.
So these are the little sequences and bits that help us forward with the story telling on a day to day basis. The introduction of parallel characters and other cameos bring out the emotions of the main characters in a more clear and distinct manner.

Maan Singh the person:

Q. 12 What is the importance of love in your life?

Love is very imp in my life. I wouldn’t be doing this show if I hadn’t experienced love in my  life. It’s your own experiences that make you bring out these sequences better.

Q. 13 Whats the most romantic thing you would like to do for your partner?

I would like it if it was just the two of us were on a vacation somewhere, where we could just switch off from the whole world.

Q.14 Have you been told by your partner that you are a romantic or does she say you are not romantic at all?

Well, luckily for me I have been told I am romantic.

Q.15 Most romantic sequence you shot so far:

There was a scene in early December where Geet is sleeping and Maan comes to wake her up in the morning and blows air on her face, and her hair flies. When this scene was brought to us, Gurmeet walked up to me and asked me, “how am I supposed to do it, do people do this for real?” I turned around and said, “dude I do it every morning (laughs)” and then I explained the scene to Gurmeet and he went on to do the scene very convincingly. Sometimes when scenes come I read them and smile to myself since they have all happened to me as well.

Q.16 A song that describes your romantic mood the best:

I am not very crazy about songs.

Q.17 Best song sequence you shot on GEET:

Roop Tera Mastana on Maan and Geet was a beautiful sequence. I enjoyed shooting the Maan and Geet wedding sequence as well. It came out really well I thought.

Q.18 Importance of Valentines day:

I don’t believe in epitomising love on one particular day. It’s a day to day thing. My partner and I always aim at making every morning wonderful for the other person and every evening amazing.  When the other person matters, every little detail becomes important. You do things accordingly and make sure you do special things for each other always.

Favorite Holiday destination:

First holiday that I took with my partner was at Mahabaleshwar and so that has to be my favourite.

Movies that Maan Singh likes watching:

My favourite movie is Love Story (English). When the movie got over I was in tears. It is a beautiful movie.  I also like DDLJ, QSQT, Kabhi haan Kabhi na.

Jeene ka Funda:

Any human is according to me is made of three D’s,Desires, Deeds,Destiny! You can dream, do your deeds, but destiny also plays its role. I would like to believe SRK and Paulo in saying that the universe does conspire to make things happen for you but it is also important to do your own thing as well and take a step towards it. No one will take a step for you. And then everything else eventually falls in place.

What do we look forward to in the future on Geet?

Pyar ikraar takraar; the three elements of a love story is on at the moment. With Dev also having entered the scenario, I would like to only say, you have to wait and watch.
On that note we sign off.

Reporter - Niharika Vidya Sagar
Telly Tadka


  1. wow...eagarly waiting to those three elements reflection on the screen!! THANKS A Lot Mr.Maan! And Thanks A Lot to TellyTadka to brought this to us.!!

  2. Pyar ikraar takraar waiting to watch that sequences