Ordinary people setting out to do extraordinary things is what inspired Jagan Shakti, the debutant director of the recently released movie Mission Mangal — a dramatised version of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Mangalyaan. Interestingly, Jagan is well versed with all the South Indian languages, especially Telugu.
Elaborating on his directorial debut, Jagan, who previously assisted A.R. Murugadoss for the movies Holiday and Akira and R Balki on Pad Man says, “My sister is a scientist at ISRO. I have seen her do all the household chores and then head for work. Not just her, even her friends are simple people doing extraordinary work at ISRO. It took me three months to speak to everyone involved in the launch to know all the nitty-gritties.”
Talking about the challenges faced while making the movie, and wanting to maintain a balance between being a science documentary and a feature film, Jagan says, “We have added some elements for entertainment purposes. I have a very commercially inclined mind and right from the start, I was clear that the movie had to be entertaining and not just be a documentary.”
The cast of the movie includes A-listers such as Akshay Kumar as the mission chief, Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu, Nithya Menen, Kirti Kulhari, Sonakshi Sinha and Sharman Joshi. “My initial thought about casting was to include all superstars from different regional movie industries but that but didn’t work out” he shares.
On his Southern connection
“I have learned a lot from A.R. Murugadoss and wanted to take someone from the Southern movie industry for my debut film. That’s how Nithya came on board. I am well versed with all the South Indian languages and hopefully, will soon make a movie in one of them,” he says.
On coping with controversy
“Our intention was to make an entertaining movie from day one and not to hurt anyone’s sentiments. Our only focus is to do our job perfectly,” he explains.