Hello People! In this week’s #BlabWithSandy, I have the ever-charming Mantra with me. I have known Mantra to be funny, spontaneous and intelligent but, whilst the interview, I got to learn much more from him. It isn’t easy to imbibe knowledge mixed with puns, but he is an expert at it.
Let’s wait no further and dive into the blab I had with Mantra:
Sandy: Hellooo Mantra! How have you been?
Mantra: Hey Sandy Boy! I am doing good. 🙂
Sandy: Please throw some glittery light on your background.
Mantra: My family belongs to Kolkata, but I haven’t stayed there much! I was born in Indore and that’s one of the reasons for my shuddh Hindi which is much appreciated.
My family has more of a vocal background. I completed my Hotel studies and worked at the reception of Taj Indore. One fine day, a fine man heard my voice and conveyed it to be great, ha-ha! He told me to give radio a try and I did follow it.
The first private radio station in India was of Radio Mirchi and I attached myself to it. I was known to people as RJ Mantra.
Swami Mantra Mugdh is my sanyaas name given to me by the Osho asharam. I am an avid follower of Osho Rajnesh. I had to pick a cool RJ name and I continued with Mantra. 🙂
From Indore I moved to Delhi and worked with Radio City. I feel Delhi choose me as I feel talent speaks across boundaries and borders.
I joined theater at the Barry John acting studio, did Hindi and English plays. Then, I was ready to move to Mumbai in 2006 for my next opportunities.
Indore se Mumbai, Man! This was a huge change. Traffic has no similarities, and the crowd is huge. I did take some time to adapt but eventually everything fell into place and here I am!
Sandy: Wow! Interesting indeed. Anchoring isn’t as easy as it looks but you make it so easy for the eyes. How close is hosting to you? Out of all the shows, how do u manage to bring a difference to each with keeping your own wit intact?
Mantra: Radio or Anchoring, both are almost similar. We need to have rich oratory skills with enough words in the armory. 🙂 During early days, people used to call Anchors as Announcers. It’s more like they are treating us like “Mela mein koi bacha ghum gaya hai, aur usne laal chaddi pehni hai. Agar kisi ko mil jaye toh turanth hamein bata di jiye” kind of event announcers, ha-ha!
But now the things have changed for the good! I always looked up to Javed Jaffrey as he is the finest ever we have. I anchor the Pro Kabaddi League with Vrajesh Hirjee and he is absolutely good!
Guess what? Technology is such that, during the time we are hosting the event live, simultaneously we are to hear seven people talking over the microphones and simultaneously we are to talk. 🙂
It isn’t an easy business. But, there isn’t any specific way of anchoring. It’s all about loving what you do. For example, in IGT: India’s Got Talent, it’s all about the people and not us. In such cases, we need to be good listeners and then do the talking. It all depends on the concept of the show and how we adapt in accordance to it.
Sandy: Again, interesting indeed, ha-ha! Yes, I can vouch for that as I too have been in that place and interesting aspect is that, people don’t really understand what goes behind being the face and handling the whole thing. 🙂 People reading, this is what Mantra goes through literally every day!!!
Talking about films, you made a good debut with Tum Mile, then followed it up with Hum Tum Shabana, London Paris New York and others. High Jack was the latest. The films that you have done, they may be big or small, but they seem class and each film has been way different than the other.
Whilst watching Tum Mile, your death scene had me cry and smile at the same time, ha-ha!
Mantra: Sandy, that must be the funniest ever death scene ever in Bollywood, hahaha! When the film’s DVD came out, I had sent it to my friend in England. She laughed and told me “How can someone die like that?” 🙂
Yes, I tend to agree that my Bollywood journey hasn’t been very colorful, but I am happy with the choices that I have made! I don’t want to do movies just for the heck of it. The role needs to have some depth to it.
Apart from films, I am into theater and stage shows. My upcoming role is of Disney’s Aladin. I play the genie and it’s a game changer for me.
Sandy: Wonderful! Coming to the integral aspect of your life: Radio. What’s your take on the radio culture when you started and its current presence?
Mantra: It hasn’t changed much. When I started, radio culture was a rage. In 2015 it somewhat got stagnated. I am not disappointed as there is a long way to go. A giant leap is still awaited but radio stays my first love.
Sandy: Could you throw some light on your Mantra Mugdh Productions? What are the verticals it caters to?
Mantra: Mantra Mugdh Productions’ is into many things. It has three wings: M&M talkies which is the audio wing; Another wing produces short films; and the M&M theater wing.
We are into radio drama, producing new age sound. My film ANA won many international awards. 2019 is going to be a very busy year for me.
Quick Shot Round:
- Favorite role of yours: Magga Baba wherein I played a 70-year-old rebellious character
- What makes Mantra angry: It’s a rate thing. Sometimes many reason too, ha-ha, kidding! I rather find a reason to be happy. I do get angry when I witness fake patriotism and nationalism. Everyone want rights, but no one is fulfilling their duties. We ask the government but we ourselves do not follow rules.
- Acting or hosting: Love acting but I kind of enjoy hosting more!
- Habit of yours which you aren’t happy about: Ha-ha! I don’t know. Maybe I fall in love too many times Sandy, LOL!
- The most entertaining show that you did: Comedy Circus. Because I got to perform some fun stuff and got to watch others perform
- Directors you would like to work with: RGV, Ashutosh Gowariker, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Mahesh Bhatt
- You are stuck in a lift and can have 2 other people with you. Who would those be? Wish it was Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan ji and Kamal Hasan. It would also be awesome to have Shashi Tharoor and Subramaniam Swamy together 🙂 I will just keep listening!
- One thing which we don’t know about Mantra: It would be my original name: Puranjit Dasgupta and I am an Osho sanyasi since ages
- Love: It’s the only thing, rest all is noise! Love resonates everything. It is pure silence and a lovely feeling
- Mantra’s biggest weakness: I will be all-time awake if I hear Nusrat ji’s songs
- Favorite genre in acting: Stanley Kubrick pattern films, Films with a little tinge of abstract art
- A film/ show u regret doing: It must be Radio Lamhe – a story telling concept. I got short-changed by the station
- Your 3 AM friends in the industry: Vrajesh Hirjee and Purbi Joshi
- Apart from what all you do, what else do you indulge in? I am an avid traveler. Love theatre. Maine puri duniya dekh li. I always love to wake up in a new city, explore hidden places, bike rides, etc. Be it Guwahati, Meghalaya, or Paris, I love to randomly walk, take a train and feel the places
- Akarsh Khurana (Karwaan director): My favorite director and an amazing person. Loved working with him for High Jack. He knows how to keep people happy!
- One good thing and one bad thing about the Industry: It has given me things that I had asked for and I am thankful to the industry people. Industry ek sundar si saanjh hai 🙂 Naachne Gaane wale log hain sab! Bad thing: You are all by yourself. Connections help but you are always alone. If you are on a low streak, you are forgotten within 24 hours
- If you aren’t what are, what would you have been? Ha-ha! Nicely made question. I would have been a nomad
- What makes Mantra totally mantramugdh? It’s the silence! Every morning is a sign of gratitude
Sandy: So, what’s in the pipeline for you in the coming months?
Mantra: There is Aladin, and a period film whose shooting begins in 2019. Theatre is happening and so is the Pro Kabaddi League.
Sandy: A piece of advice which you’d like to give to the newcomers?
Mantra: There is no set formula unlike the Pythagoras theorem. There is no recipe, so you will have to make your own dish my friends.
Do not follow anyone or anything blindly. Churn your own path in your own way. All the best to each one of you.
Sandy: A few words about Hyderabad Local.
Mantra: It is real fun talking to you. Kuch cheezein paision ke liye karni padthi hai aur kuch cheezein paison ke liye 🙂 Tu paision ke liye kar raha hai abhi. Karte jao aur woh din aayega jab teri paision tumhe paisa degi.
Sandy: Ha-ha! Comic Comic mein aap ne Tonic de di 🙂 Thank you so much!
Mantra: Lol! Kya line hai, badiya.
Editor’s note: It is indeed special getting to know and talk to Mantra. He is on a spree in spreading his mantra allover. I hope this genie grants many more wishes and love in the coming days! 🙂