By Akshay Bardapurkar, a Producer and a passionate Marathi filmmaker
Film industries across the world are facing some real challenges post the COVID- 19 outbreak, in the past few days we have seen many Hollywood and Bollywood films cancelling their film releases and to some postponing it, where some taking advantage of the situation and rolling it out on the OTT’s.
While Bollywood has found its way to release biggies such as Shoojit Sarcar’s ‘Gulabo Sitabo’ to golden ratio film making its debut on OTT with Manoj Bajpayee’s much spoken about ‘Bhonsle’. Avoiding theatre releases and straight landing up on some of the premium platforms such as Amazon, Netflix, Hotstar and Sony LIV. While all these are doing extremely well in the new normal era of the Hindi film industry, regional cinemas especially the Marathi cinema industry is yet to see the rising sun. There are 40 cinemas yet to be released some of the big names are also suffering. So is this the case of mediocre or doltish content or is the regional audience feeble towards Marathi cinema or whatever be the case, this new normal phenomenon isn’t working that great for the Marathi space.
Wherein a good movie is often spoken about and then watched in the theatres, as opposed to Bollywood Hindi films has passed that verbal evidence era and now it is consumed more with vigorous digital campaigns, probably something that Marathi cinema is yet to come to terms with. I have always believed in the passion with which Marathi filmmakers make cinemas, maybe if they could show the same passion in packaging, promoting and branding a film, I am sure they shall equally ring a bell on the various OTT’s present in the market.
Technicality in the Marathi cinema
Another area of concern with Marathi cinema has been its production value, although it does great with the content, and filmmaking but they lack the attention and support from the producer, the “Chalta hai” attitude or oh! It’s a Marathi cinema which is made only in this bracket of budget that has to be shrugged off. It’s about time that Marathi cinema gets some good backup from intelligent producers who not only believe in the director’s vision but they aid up with great budgets too! A well supportive team of likeminded producers who aren’t naive and equally passionate towards filmmaking can do wonders to this small yet evolving Marathi cinema space.
Captain of the ship: Director
Marathi cinema has generally produced some great directors in the past but they have always chosen to follow their path by enhancing themselves to do a Hindi film. You will rarely see any Marathi director after doing a Hindi film makes a comeback in doing Marathi, he or she simply will not like to be associated again with Marathi cinema. This is due to the lack of support from the producers and I have always maintained in my films if the film has to do well, the director and the producer have to be in sync with each other else the film will suffer irrespectively.
Another debate of Nepotism which is currently creating waves in the Hindi circuit, Marathi industry has zilch! The one who did well in the drama (nataks) have slowly and gradually walked the corridors of Marathi cinema to Bollywood. Direction has always been a key in both the fiefdom, and I have no qualms in saying a Marathi film is today being judged on ‘who directs the film’. Marathi cinema has been blessed with the current breed from the likes of Nikhil Mahajan who directed a newly released horror drama ‘Betaal’ on Netflix along with Patrick graham. He has the vision and the glory which any cinema, in particular, the Marathi cinema requires at the moment. Another one being Sameer Vidwans who recently released his film known as ‘Dhurala’ and ‘Anandi Gopal’ about two years back. Then you have Samit Kakkad a natural director who has made his name globally by doing films such as ‘Half Ticket’ and a bold film naming ‘Ascharya Chuck It’ and making the Marathi flag rise higher.
These are the pearls of the Marathi industry and I won’t be surprised if they grow up to becoming the Gen-next of world cinema. These talents will do wonders if they are clubbed by great production budgets and given a free hand. If Hindi cinema suffers from nepotism than Marathi cinema lacks the support from a producers lobby. Be it OTT or a normal 70 mm cinema, along with passion it requires vision and money! Hoping that Marathi cinema will be discussed in the studios of Burbank, Hollywood for its art of making successful films someday.