For Manahar Kumar, the line between acting and directing shouldn’t be firm, and instead, artists should be seen as general storytellers, no matter whether they are in front of the camera or behind it.
Since Urban Asian last spoke to Kumar, he has won two more Student Emmy awards: one for an acting role in “Distant”, and another for one of his directorial projects (the Student Emmys haven’t clarified which of his directorial projects has won). For Kumar, “Distant” is a special role, since it’s directed by his close friend, Akhil Deva.
“Misfit illegal immigrants living a marginal life have to make a choice between family and love,” said Kumar.
The short film focuses on Kumar’s character, Richie, and his life as an immigrant trying to make a living in the U.S. Richie is unhappy with his work while having to send money to his mother in India to help pay for her medical bills. Throughout the short film, the audience sees flashback memories of a young Richie and his mom, showing the viewer how attached he is to her.
“Distant” is based on Deva’s life and was shot in Atlanta. As the main character of the film, Kumar wanted to replicate Deva’s stories.
“I honestly just observed and listened to Akhil, and to his life stories and struggles,” Kumar said.
Currently, Kumar is acting in a large feature film, though he can’t disclose too much information.
“It’s an extremely mainstream Hindi film and it’s a good role,” said Kumar.
As a director and actor, Kumar looks up to many directors who work both in front of and behind the camera.
“Instead of looking at it from the perspective of divide and rule, you would rather wear one cap of a storyteller,” Kumar explained.
For Kumar, he looks at any opportunity that comes his way, and takes up artistic choices that he feels best fit the path he wants to go down.
When asked if he feels like he can replicate anyone else’s journey, Kumar says that he has to make his own choices.
“There’s always the perfect person for each role,” Kumar said.