Mansore has won the National Film Award for Best Kannada Film not once, but twice. Once for his debut feature Harivu (2014) and another for the Sanchari Vijay-Sruthi Hariharan starrer Nathicharami (2018). His films explore social themes such as urbanisation, systemic oppression, female sexuality, and bureaucracy. He belongs to a unique section of directors in Kannada cinema, who consistently explore political themes in their films.
“It is an empty playground now,” he says on being asked about the nature of films, “There are not many filmmakers who deal with this genre. Right now I am successful in this genre because I am the only one doing it. I hope more people come in and make films here. That will create some fear in me. I believe great art comes out of fear.”
His last film, Act 1978 (2020) shows the extent of bureaucracy in a Government office and follows a citizen who takes matters into her own hands. His upcoming film 19.20.21, which is set to be released on March 3, too explores the atrocities faced by a tribal community in Southern Karnataka. The trailer shows a conflict between the nature-loving locals and law enforcement officials.
When asked about plot similarities with Kantara (2022), he replies, “We were halfway through the shoot when one of our set members told me that the story is similar. I immediately called one of my friends on Kantara’s set and asked him what the story was. He was not ready to say which was an ethical thing to do. I then asked him if the hero beats up the bad guys. He said yes and I was safe. In my film, the hero does not fight back.”
A common theme running in Mansore’s films is the pain and tragedy that often befalls the protagonists. While Act 1978 had a glimmer of hope at the end, he mentions that his other two films are similar in the way they end.
“I take the audience to a point of extreme sadness with the ending of those films,” he says when asked if he intends for the audience to take away hope or sadness after watching his films. “Due to the journey I have had and how that has impacted me, I do not feel very hopeful or happy. Maybe one day, when I do feel happy, that will carry over to my films. Nathicharami makes the audience speechless and I felt bad for all the people who were asked how the film was outside theatres. That was brutal. I have tried to break that aspect of my films with 19.20.21. Let us see if it impacts the audience the way we intend it to.”