"I love the whole game of Indian movies. I met well known theatre personality Tirlok Malik of Apple Productions in New York and he gave me a major break with `Arya'."
The directorial debut, starring Samrat Chakrabarti, Manvi Dhoopar, Sheetal Shah, Tirlok Malik, Sonny Suri and Manan, is a psychological thriller scheduled for a global spring release this year.
The 29-year-old, who has also acted and assisted in the direction of "Flavors" and starred in "Indian Fish in American Waters", said: "I had an MBA from Pune and a lot of time. I always loved movies so I took script writing classes and did a four-month diploma in New York University."
"However, like all Indian parents, mine too wanted me to be an engineer. But I pined to be a filmmaker. The turmoil lay in finding myself in this chaos. As I went soul searching, I couldn't resist the climb that led to days of worship at Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu and Kashmir. I came closer to my family, started respecting women. Why women, I don't think I respected anyone before, I lived life on the edge."
What makes a good film? "Movies with believable characters. If you have the audience empathising with the on-screen characters within 40 minutes, you've got a great movie."
"M. Night Shyamalan is my idol. I love his movies," vouches Manan, who has just completed a short film "Paint Me Nude" with Purva Bedi of "American Desi" fame and a music video with Reggie Benjamin, Sukhbir and Brandie Roderick.
"My religion is humanity. I embraced Buddhism, because it doesn't name a god, it's more spiritual. I would love to travel to Turkey, Spain and Tibet and learn about all faiths. Each faith is as beautiful as its country and people," Manan adds.