Legendary actor Mac Mohan etched a special place in our hearts with his iconic role Sambha in Sholay. Now it looks like his daughters are also all set to take the legacy forward. But not with acting! Yes, his daughters- Manjari and Vinati Makijany are all set to make India’s first feature film on skateboarding. Manjari has written and directed the film while her sister has co-written and produced the film titled Desert Dolphin.
For her debut feature film, Manjari Makijany chose to come back home and tell India’s first skateboarding film with women empowerment as its core theme. Set in a remote village of Rajasthan, Desert Dolphin is about Prerna, 16, a rural girl who finds the courage to skate against all odds when her path crosses with Jessica, 34, a graphic artist from Los Angeles who is looking for deeper joy in life.
Talking about her debut feature film, Manjari says, “When I stumbled upon a video online and watched how a small village in Madhya Pradesh was transformed through skateboarding, I sat up and took notice. This led me to dig deeper and I began my research process in September 2016. I immersed myself in studying the correlation between skating and social change.”
Adding to the research process, producer Vinati says, “Keeping in mind that this was India’s first film based on skateboarding, the idea was to involve as many real skateboarders as we can. During the auditioning process, we reached out to the skateboarding communities in India. I travelled to Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, villages in Rajasthan and Mumbai and spent a few days’ workshopping with over 3000 kids. Personally, it was important for us to workshop with the local kids from the village and involve them in the film.”
The team even made India’s largest skatepark for this film, in the tiny village of Khempur near Udaipur, Rajasthan. With skateboarding officially entering the Olympics in 2020, the team hopes that the skatepark will serve as a local and international training ground for future champions.
Not many of you would know but Manjari Makijany has worked for nearly 12 years, directed three critically acclaimed short films and won several accolades and awards nationally and internationally. Over the years, she has worked with incredible filmmakers and before that on Bollywood films like Saat Khoon Maaf, Wake Up Sid and Gandhi of the Month.