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A new direction for filmmaker Maninder Chana

Not all kids who put up plays for their families grow up to become filmmakers. Maninder Chana did. And a writer, director, producer, actor and musician.

“I’ve been writing stories all my life,” said the director of the critically-acclaimed Little Terrors starring, among others, the late Om Puri. “Over the years, I’ve put on various hats in order to build up to bigger things. Now I am focusing on writing and directing. The main thing for me is to leave a bunch of good stories behind.”

Chana’s parents came to Canada from Phagwara, Punjab, when he was five. The family settled in Windsor, Ontario. There weren’t that many South Asian families in Windsor at the time and Chana remembers kids trying to rip his top knot off or calling him Paki.

“But you deal with it, you grow up,” he says. “I was the class clown even then. My nickname was Indi – short for Indiana Jones! Once people know you, learn about your culture, things get better.”

Like many other South Asian parents, his parents also wanted him to become a doctor or an engineer, a lawyer, or perhaps an accountant. Anything but an actor. That could only be a hobby, they aid.

“I don’t think my mother ever really got what it was that I did. But having a film in theatres across the country a few times makes a difference.”

To those that ask him for advice on succeeding in the entertainment industry, Chana says they have to do it and see for themselves if it is for them.

“Start small and see if you get better at it. I would have stopped if I had not seen improvement over time.”

Posted: Nov 1, 2017

June 2019

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