Article Marathi

Box office is 101% dependent on luck, says Judgement actor Mangesh Desai

The Ekk Albela actor speaks about his part as a killer in Judgement and reveals why he can afford to be choosy about acting roles.

Keyur Seta

Mangesh Desai made heads turn with his performance as Master Bhagwan aka Bhagwan Dada in Shekhar Sartandel’s Ekk Albela (2016). Also starring Vidya Balan, the film was a biopic of the late and popular actor. 

The next film with Desai in the lead is coming almost three years after Ekk Albela was released. It is Sameer Ramesh Surve’s Judgement. From the gentle and adorable character in the 2016 movie, Desai has switched to a misogynistic IAS officer who doesn't baulk even at murder. 

During an exclusive conversation with, Desai said he agreed to do the role as he was looking to play a baddie. “I was eager to do a negative role. When I was offered this film, I realized this is something I have been wanting to do for long,” he said. 

The actor said he does not like to repeat genres. “If you look at my filmography, I have done different films like Bapu Biru Vategaonkar (2005), Blind Game (2006), Khel Mandala (2012) and Bioscope (2015). I have also done Laal Batti (2019), which will be released in some time. I don’t like doing typical work. I like something that requires preparation,” he said. 

With Vidya Balan in Ekk Albela

Judgement also stars Tejashree Pradhan as a lawyer and the daughter of Desai’s character who decides to nail him for having killed her mother (Shweta Pagar).

The film is based on the novel Rounn (ऋण) by ex-IAS officer Neela Satyanarayana. During the trailer launch, Neela said the story is based on a real incident.

Desai explained that his character is not a psychotic killer. “The only issue is that he has a certain anger towards women," he said. "Otherwise he is a good person. The backdrop of his views for women is something different. That will be clear to you when you watch the film. Initially we feel he wants a son and that is why he behaves this way with his wife. However, he behaves the same even later when he gets a son.”

Desai said he was getting acting offers after Ekk Albela, but he prefers quality over quantity. “I waited two years. During this period, I did Laal Batti, Judgement and another film for Zee Talkies, which I can’t name now. The genres of all these three films are different,” he said. 

Asked about the uncertainty in waiting for the right roles, Desai said his bread and butter does not depend on acting. “I run a production house and a studio. I get money from there. Acting is my passion. I never look at money when it comes to acting. I only look at the role. My only concern is how creative the role is,” he said.

People have various theories about what works and what doesn’t at the box office. Desai has a different view. “Amitabh Bachchan sir’s film can flop and a film starring a newcomer can be a hit. I am very clear that the box office depends purely on luck. If the day is good, the film does well. If the day isn’t good, the film won’t work, no matter how good it is. It is 101% dependent on luck,” he said. 

Judgement will be released on 24 May.