The actor talks about providing opportunities to young talent with her production house, and how the inspiration behind it was Anushka Sharma
Mamta Mohandas wants to throw mainstream light on up-and-coming artists — writers, musicians, directors and actors — through her production company Mamta Mohandas Productions, which she launched on November 14. The date is not to be missed; it was her birthday and this year she completes 15 years in filmdom.
The plan was to launch the production house in March, along with the announcement of an yet-untitled film. The pandemic, however, had other plans. The scheduled film, of which pre-production was on pre-lockdown, has been set aside for now. Instead she launched her company with the lavishly produced Malayalam single (rap) Lokame, by Ekalavyan, a newcomer, which ties up with her intent to provide a platform for new talent.
Mamta met her business partner, entrepreneur Noel Ben when she was involved with the Celebrity Badminton League; the two kept in touch over the years and finally ventured into business together.
She has a team of writers, who work on content. They are also on the lookout for new scripts that can be worked on in the present circumstances. About the selection process, the actor says, “We are listening to all genres of scripts. I want to make an entertainer now, make people smile as we are getting out of the present, difficult situation. A light film with music and dance; when I say ‘entertainer’ it will be on a larger scale with a complex script.”
She does not want to hurry into a project and instead, wants to choose carefully. “My partners tell me I am hard to please, since I am choosy about which projects to invest in. ,” says Mamta with a laugh, adding that the company’s first film will release in 2021.
Mamta’s career spans the four South Indian film industries, a connection she would like to leverage as producer, “This is the age of transformation, where language is not a barrier. With COVID-19, we have learnt that language is not a barrier in entertainment. People want to know what is happening in other parts of the world. Everybody wants stories.” As producer she wants to explore the potential of digital platforms too.
Making her debut with the Malayalam film Mayookham (2005) directed by Hariharan, she has made a name for herself not only as a actor but also as a singer. When she looks back on the years, Mamta says, “I look back on myself I see two sides to me — someone who stumbled into films and the professional I have became. The years and experiences have transformed me,” she says.
Taking a new risk
Cancer struck four years into her career in films just as she was establishing herself. It made her re-evaluate her life. “I was fighting for my life and I started to be appreciative of the opportunities I had been given.I asked myself ‘What am I doing?’ I had seen my father work hard to achieve what he had, so I knew I had to work hard and I was prepared to do that,” she says.
The inspiration to turn producer came from actor Anushka Sharma. “The seed was planted when she turned producer with NH 10 (2015). If I was in a better phase, health-wise, I might have done it earlier.”
Turning producer was not an easy decision. She worked on her ‘internal infrastructure’ before making the leap as producer. “I wanted to see how courageous I feel to take a new risk. I have grown as a person in the last six years, I am not impulsive now and that is part of my transformation,” she says.
Mamta was last seen in the Malayalam film Forensic.
She divides her time between Los Angeles, where she is based for her treatment, and India, where her work is. Mamta agrees her new role would demand her to spend more time in India, “Anyway I spend a lot of my time here. In fact my friends there tell me I am not there much… I see myself moving to India in 2021. Even if I do have to travel, I don’t mind since I am used to it. I have been travelling long distance from 2015, since I moved to the US.”