Mac Mohan’s daughters Manjari and Vinati Makijany are set to enter Bollywood with a feature film on skateboarding titled “Desert Dolphin”. A skatepark has been developed in Khempur, near Udaipur for the feature film.
Mac is best remembered for his role of Sambha in Ramesh Sippy’s “Sholay”. He passed away in 2010.
Manjari (writer-director) and Vinati (co-writer-producer) are excited about stepping into Bollywood with a film with women empowerment at its core.
Set in a remote village in Rajasthan, “Desert Dolphin” is about Prerna, 16, who finds 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.
“Living in Los Angeles, I was exposed to the skate culture and skaters all the time but 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,” Manjari said in a statement.
“Upon further research and meeting the skaters from there, I realised the concept was inspired by Skateistan in Afghanistan. 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,” she added.
The filmmakers have made a skatepark for this film, which is about 14,500 sqft, in a village of Khempur near Udaipur. The team hopes that the skatepark will serve as a local and international training ground for future champions and can be the beginning of a movement and add to the growing trend of skateboarding in the country.
Talking about the research process, producer Vinati said: “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 on workshop with over 3,000 kids. Personally, it was important for us to workshop with the local kids from the village and involve them in the film.”
On building the skatepark in India, producer Emmanual Pappas shared: “At the time, India didn’t have a skatepark of the calibre we had envisioned and so we set out to build India’s largest and most advanced skatepark. It’s also rare for a film to leave behind a permanent structure and actually use it to bring about social change in the lives of the local community. With this initiative, we hope to impact the lives of over 5,000 children residing in and around the surrounding villages by introducing them to skateboarding.a
Manjari has worked for nearly 12 years in the industry, and directed three short films. Over the years, she has worked with filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, Patty Jenkins and Vishal Bhardwaj. She assisted them on films like “Dunkirk”, “The Dark Knight Rises”, “Wonder Woman” and the fourth instalment of “Mission Impossible”. In Bollywood, she has worked on films like “Saat Khoon Maaf” and “Wake Up Sid”.