‘Anupamji  is like a friend, philosopher, guide’

‘Anupamji  is like a friend, philosopher, guide’

Actor-producer Vishwas Paandya is making his directorial debut with comedy-thriller Baa Baaa Black Sheep. The film stars Maniesh Paul, Anupam Kher, Annu Kapoor, Manjari Fadnnis and Kay Kay Menon (in a special appearance). Produced by Anand Swarup Agarwal and Krishna Datla, it will release on March 23.

The film’s title is quite catchy. So what was the thought behind it? Vishwas says that Baba is Maniesh’s name in the film. “But we can’t call him the hero. He is the central character in the film just like everyone else. While writing the story with my co-writer Sunjiv Puri, I realised that every character in the film is black, in some way or the other,” Vishwas says. He adds that Baa Baaa Black Sheep is the second-most searched nursery rhyme on the net. “So the recall value is great.”

He further says that he is also trying to point out that every person has white, black and grey shades in their personality. “People who say that they are white sheep are great liars because all of us have a little bit of black and grey sheep within us,” he says.

Considering Baa Baaa...is his first film, he has still managed to rope in not one but several talented actors which Vishwas says wasn’t a humongous task. “Anupamji is like a friend, philosopher, guide. He was part of my first acting project, production and now direction. He plays an important part in my life. He was the first person I approached. Then I approached Annuji who got interested after reading the script. Kay Kay is an old friend and I told him, ‘I need you to do this and it’s my first film. He readily agreed.”

And how was it working with Maniesh? Vishwas replies, “Maniesh has got a fantastic comic timing and can improvise while shooting. The only thing that Anupamji and I kept reminding him while shooting is that he needs to stop being Maniesh Paul, the host and needs to be the actor, which eventually he did.”  

Vishwas announced the project in 2015 but it took him three years to release the film. That happened because I was doing everything at one go, says the director. “We had some issues in Goa and that kind of delayed the film. I also re-edited the film and shot an extra song with Mika,” he adds.   

Why did it take such a long time to make his directorial debut, considering he has acted in films and television for many years and has also been a producer for a while. “I agree but there were a couple of things. One, I wanted to produce more films before getting into direction. Secondly, I wanted to write my own film,” he says.

Before signing off, we ask him if we will see him directing his actress wife Prachee Shah anytime soon and he says, “Why not? She is an talented actress and if I get the right script, I will.”

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