Published On : Sun, Jul 19th, 2015

After winning Best Film at “Cannes”, Nagpurian Rakesh Totla all set to release ‘MASAAN’


Nagpur based Producer is all set to release his Cannes award winning film ‘MASAAN’ on 24th July.

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Nagpur: Cannes Film Festival is a Mecca of world cinema. It is the most respected film festival in the world. And nowadays it is not an unknown name for even the general movie goer who follows Cinema News. Getting invited and attending Cannes Film Festival is a dream for many celebrities. Getting a film selected for screening there is even bigger dream for any Film Director or Producer.

In such scenario, a Nagpur based producer’s film getting 5 min standing ovation and winning 2 top awards including Best Film at Cannes, seems like fiction. But Lo and behold, this is true. Masaan which is in news for all the positive reasons in International and Indian Cinema world is produced by our own Nagpurian, Rakesh Totla.


Rakesh Totla is Promoter Director of Drishyam Films, which by now has carved a name for quality cinema. A company which started its journey with production of the critically acclaimed film “Aankhon Dekhi”, has many Internationally appreciated movies in its Kitty, all set to release in coming months. MASAAN is the first from this lot realising on 24th July. A special screening of MASAAN is scheduled at Nagpur on 21st July for select few invitees.

Rakesh Totla is a CA and MBA with meritorious academic track record. Apart from academics, he was very good at sports while in collage and still continues to play badminton. When Nagpur Today asked him if it was his love for Cinema which attracted him to become a producer, he smiled and said, “Frankly speaking, I never had much inclination towards movies except few which I used to watch with family and friend more for their company than the movie itself. But when the famous story of a tweet by Rajat Kapoor happened, I was bestowed upon with the responsibility to look after the commercial aspects of this creative business.”

The tweet story he was pointing is very famous and well circulated one on social media. I will repeat it here for our readers. Sometimes towards the end of 2013, Film Maker Rajat Kapoor posted a tweet pouring out his frustration about being unable to find a producer and that he would never make a movie again. Almost immediately, he got a reply from a stranger that he will produce the film. The stranger was Manish Mundra, MD of a Petrochemical Company in Nigeria. And rest is, as they say, history.

“But that was just the story till interval”, added Rakesh Totla, Brother-in-Law of Manish Mundra, “After he signed the MOU with Rajat Kapoor, he straight away landed at Nagpur and told me that we are now in movie business and you have to handle all the commercial aspects of it. That’s how happened my entry into the film business.”

3 (2)Nagpur Today asked him about the unusual choice of movies at Drishyam Films, “Are you not afraid of the fact that yours are not typically masala movies nor they are with big stars. Don’t you find the need to be compliant with mainstream film business equations?”

Rakesh replied, “That’s what we are trying to prove here that it is not important for a film to compromise with the so called market demands. Film making and business of films are two different aspects.

At Drishyam, Manish Mundra takes the creative decisions along with his team headed by our CEO, Shiladitya Bora. After that I have to make sure that the project is commercially viable and is in fact profitable. We have not restricted ourselves to Indian box office collection though I agree that it is very important barometer.

But movies like ‘The Lunchbox’ made much more business in International market where it was average in Indian market.”

“So our business philosophy is based on the study that there is a market for every good movie and it can be anywhere, be it international business, festival business, online revenues and many more such non-traditional distribution channels. So why a film maker shall be forced to compromise with his creative vision and made to compromise to suit the imaginary dictates of the film market?”

“At Drishyam, we are trying to create a platform where talented film maker gets to make the movies they want to make. My job is to make sure Drishyam makes money from all such projects.”, says Rakesh with confidence of a well researched person.

Isn’t it incredible that a Nagpur based producer is making movies which are not only changing the Indian Film Business but also projecting India as a creator of Quality Cinema? This is only a testimony to the fact that Nagpur has so much talented and capable people who are helping India make a mark in the world.

Till now, Nagpur has given Top Directors like Raju Hirani and showman Subhash Ghai to Indian Cinema. Now with Rakesh Totla, this time a Nagpuri Producer is making it big in Bollywood.

More power to you, Nagpur and Nagurians!


Neeraj Ghaywan’s directorial debut, Masaan which recently won two awards at Cannes Film Festival stars Sanjay Mishra, Richa Chadha and newcomers Vicky Kaushal and Shweta Tripathi in the lead roles.

The movie which has been produced by Manish Mundra (Drishyam Films), Vikas Bahl, Vikramaditya Motwane & Anurag Kashyap (Phantom Films), Melita Toscan du Plantier & Marie-Jeanne Pascal, (Macassar Productions) and Guneet Monga & Shaan Vyas (Sikhya Entertainment) will release in theaters across India on 24th July 2015.


Four lives intersect along the Ganges: a low caste boy falls hopelessly in love, a daughter ridden with guilt of a sexual encounter ending in a tragedy, a hapless father with fading morality, and a spirited child yearning for a family, long to escape the moral constructs of a small-town.

Festivals & Awards for MASAAN:

Winner of two prestigious awards at Cannes Film Festival, 2015

· FIPRESCI prize, International Jury of Film Critics prize for the Un Certain Regard section

· Promising Future prize in the Un Certain Regard section

1. Making of Masaan

YouTube Link:

2. Making of Masaan: Location capsule

YouTube Link:

3. Trailer of the Masaan:

—- Interviewed and Written by: Prashen H. Kyawal