“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
Manahar Kumar is extremely passionate about acting, directing and film making. So much so, that he switched his stream from engineering to mass communication in college (society: “Haaw. Ho gayi life barbaad!”). Currently in third year, he is pursuing a Bachelors degree in Mass Communication from Manipal Institute of Mass Communication and has already lived several lives by participating in lots of staged productions.
His love for theatre bloomed when he was in class nine. His school staged a play, The Lion King on the occasion of its Golden Jubilee celebration in which he bagged the role of the Hyena. This was the first time that he consciously interacted with a huge audience and was greatly appreciated. Quite naturally, his first thoughts about a future career tended towards Acting.
Manahar has never looked back since. He has been a part of Wings Theatre Academy, Chandigarh and has acted in plays like Mothers Day by J.B Priestly and The Night of January the 16th by Ayn Rand. He even interned at the Academy this summer as an Assistant Director and played the lead role of Juror 8 in 12 Angry Jurors by Reginald Rose. He received a lot of acclaim and appreciation for cracking the difficult and enigmatic character.
A part of two theatre groups in college, Dramanon Manipal and Aaina Dramatics, he has directed and acted in several plays including the popular ‘nukkad nataks’ that have won prizes in inter college fests of VIT Velore, Bits Pillani, IIT Mumbai, etc. He remembers fondly, “As soon as I reached IIT Mumbai, I texted my mum saying, Maa tera beta IIT pahunch hi gaya!?” The many plays he has been a part of include Tara and On a Muggy Night in Mumbai by Mahesh Dattani, Jack vs Jill by Robert Blakeman, Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring and The Mouse Trap by Agatha Christie.
Manahar’s interests extend to film making and directing too. He has co-produced, directed and acted in several short films that include Time to Make a Difference(2013), Pehchan (which won the first prize in the SRCC Annual Festival, 2014), The Sensible Indian (which won the third prize in the Short Film making Competition) and Bottled Dreams which is a short documentary.
Manahar has also been conducting interesting social experiments in Chandigarh and Manipal which include Chandigarh on Love and Heartbreaks, Manipal on Relationships and Manipal on Manipal. Moreover, Dramanon Manipal’s in house band, Nothing But Treble, recently recorded the famous song Chulein Aasman in association with MARD (Men Against Rape and Discrimination-headed by Farhan Akhtar) and UnTied Laces (co-founded by Manahar) whose video was shot and edited by him.
Manahar continues to explore the different facets of his field and advance his knowledge and experience. He has a lot to learn and do and has several projects up his sleeve. He was recently chosen to be the official Director of Dramanon Manipal which has been recognized by Broadway World as one of the top 20 theatre companies in India.
His advice to young actors, artists and aspiring film makers is, “Don’t be reluctant to follow your dreams. Believe in yourself and know that you have the magic in you to change the world. Have a clear vision, be focused and determined. Don’t let the muggles bring you down,” he adds with a smile.
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