About making Mirg, director Tarun Sharma said, “The entire journey started with Satish Kaushik.”

On February 9, Mirg, starring Satish Kaushik, Raj Babbar, Anup Soni, and Shweta Abh Singh, was released in theatres.

 

Director Tarun Sharma, who has also written and produced his first feature film, Mirg, talks candidly with Cine Blitz about the difficulties of filming and releasing the movie in theatres as well as how the project began with actor Satish Kaushik.

What is the Mirg? And what made you choose this title for the movie?

About making Mirg, director Tarun Sharma said, "The entire journey started with Satish Kaushik."
About making Mirg, director Tarun Sharma said, “The entire journey started with Satish Kaushik.”

Tarun Sharma: The mountain leopard is Mirg. In Himachal Pradesh and certain regions of Uttarakhand, leopards are referred to as Mirg. Since I was a young child, I have heard folktales about Mirg; I am from Himachal Pradesh. There is a jungle around my house. Not many houses can be found in the area. Thus, the elders used to say to us as children, “Baahar mat nikalna, mirg aa jayega.” Back then, I had never seen a snow leopard, so I was fascinated by it.

 

According to folklore, a mirg is an extremely astute hunter. Even a leaf can conceal it. Its body is shorter than its story, among other things. We recognised as children that these were over-the-top accounts of the animal. After all, it’s a leopard. It cannot be concealed by a leaf.

 

But I had a picture in my head as I listened to those stories. Thus, I reasoned as I was writing this script, why not use Mirg’s character to further explore the characters? The fact that Mirg is a single, snappy word makes it an extremely intriguing term as well. 

 

One of our exercises when I was practicing theatre was picking an animal and playing out its traits. I thus considered approaching a script in that way: how does the character of Anil (Shwetaabh Singh) become a mirg if I give him the traits of one? Thus, the movie follows the adventures of a single guy and whether or not he turns into a mirg. It chronicles the path of a young child who meets three different people and learns to listen to and follow them. He may end up like any one of those three, but Mirg is primarily about the road he picks.

 

And do Raj Babbar, Anup Soni, and Satish Kaushik portray these three different characters?

 

Tarun Sharma: Alright. It was a blessing that these actors agreed to participate in the movie. Satish Kaushik was the initiator of the entire trip. I had an actor and a different kind of persona in mind. However, as soon as Satish Sir’s name was mentioned, I knew that, in terms of the character’s demeanour and feel, he would be able to bring to the role something that, in all likelihood, no other actor I could conceive of could.

 

When I unexpectedly approached Satish sir, he was really receptive. I was asked to submit him the script. I was thinking along the lines of his responding in a few weeks if he wanted to do the movie, and not responding at all if he didn’t. To my amazement, however, two hours after receiving the script, he called me back and declared, “I want to do this film.”

But sir, we haven’t talked about where we’re going to shoot the movie, costs, or anything else, I added. “Don’t worry about it,” he said. We’ll work that out. I wish to work on this movie. Having him on board offered me the assurance and conviction that perhaps we weren’t embarking on an entirely novel endeavour.

 

In Mirg, Satish Kaushik and Shweta Abh Singh

 

In the same way, I didn’t want Anup Sir and Raj Sir to act in the ways that I had witnessed them acting. Because, albeit not in the manner that I’m presenting it, you may claim to have seen the movie. It had to be something novel, then. The persona I was presenting the three performers made them tremendously invested in it.

 

How about Shwetaabh Singh in the lead role?

 

Tarun Sharma: It’s his first motion picture. To be honest, we never considered using Shwetaabh for that specific Anil position. However, he and I have been connected for a while. At FTII, he studied acting. He was acting in college plays when I saw him. “Why don’t you audition for this role?” I asked him. We gave him a go, and I liked the curiosity he offered to the role. I therefore cast him.

What lessons did you learn while producing your debut feature film?

 

Tarun Sharma: I used to help directors before. I was just somewhat knowledgeable about filming. Having written, directed, and produced the picture, as well as haviFng witnessed the entire process from a holistic perspective, I can now say that each of them has a unique set of problems. I experience distinct anxiety when I’m a producer. As a filmmaker and writer, I feel the same way. However, it’s beneficial because I’ve always wished to work in the film industry. And from this, I was able to have a pretty comprehensive understanding of how the entire scenario functions.

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