Friday, February 04, 2011

Marathi Cinema - Dawn Of A New Beginning

A movie buff that I am, cinema has always been one of the major sources’ of entertainment for me, Bollywood being my favourite. Unfortunately, I have to admit that I haven’t seen much Marathi movies and can only name few Marathi actors correctly. I won’t say I have been consciously avoiding films of my own mother tongue, but it is true that they never caught as much interest (barring a few exceptionals).

Pinjra, Maaficha Sakshidar, Chaukat Raja, Mumbaicha Faujdar, and a few otehrs have been classics. While in the recent past, films like Shwaas, Mi Shivaji Raje Bhosale Boltoye, Dombivali Fast, Vihir, Valu, Gabhricha Paaus, Natarang, Jogwa, Mumbai-Pune-Mumbai, Pak Pak Pakaak, Lalbaug Paral, Mee Shindutai Sapkal, Jatra, Haapus, and many more (these are the ones that came to my mind instantly as I was writing this) are not only worth watching, but they have brought about a complete renaissance in the industry! My mistaken point of view towards Marathi films has been completely erased and now I enjoy them like never before, I even prefer watching them on the big screen! Marathi cinema has been as rich and entertaining for that matter, but the new blood in the industry is definitely carrying forward the legacy in a polished manner (of course, under the guidance of their seniors).

Criticizing and complaining about the lack of freshness, new ideas, risks and a realistic theme seems to have become bygones with a completely new approach and talent that Marathi cinema has been blessed with in the past half a decade.

The age-old standard techniques used in our films and cringing about the woeful lack of good films made by directors with potential seems to have fading and paving new ways for those who are ready to challenge or face their critics on the front foot. If you believe in quality films then it might be a good idea to catch a few Marathi films that have released in the last five years and have infused fresh blood in a sagging industry.

So much so, that even Bollywood stars are now appreciating Marathi cinema and its quality. Many Marathi films have tasted the sweet box office success and have even treaded their paths through some of the national and international film festivals. Bollywood movies that were reining in the multiplex success now see Marathi movies standing next to them in the race.

Those who feared the risk of investing in this league of routine Marathi films, now seem to have been more than pleased to be associated with today’s revolutionary phase that the industry is undergoing. Marathi Film Industry, yes! Now looked at with respect and a new avenue to venture in to, Marathi films are now mushrooming with quality, ideas, techniques and talents to make it a full fledged and an organized industry.

It had a glorious past that has strived to showcase the face of Maharashtra, especially relative to a major audience in the rural and outskirt areas and imaginary for those who lead an urbane life. This had created a vacuum that restricted an interest level among an audience that needed a break from the clich├ęd style and themes. The much needed breakthrough has arrived in the Marathi film industry and it has caught attention of even the non-Marathi audience.

This boom in the industry has proved to be a boon for producers of Marathi cinema who vouch to carry a smile with the success of these movies and overall appreciation. The industry is now flourishing with 100-125 releases per year, yet needs to arrive a decent number of hits that it provides. A complete makeover that this industry is witnessing, it definitely promises to open doors of opportunities for fresh talent in all aspects – be it acting, directing, or even the technical departments.

The Marathi film industry is blessed with the Midas touch of people like Mahesh Manjrekar, Ajay-Atul, Sachin Pilgaonkar, Smita Talwalkar, and the likes. This industry now also boasts of making a style statement with the dressing and make-up that matches standards with its Hindi counterpart. For producers, this industry is like a platter to unleash the undiscovered path and bask in the glory of new heights that it promises to behold. The industry is now graduating in its post-production stages like marketing, promotion, premiers, etc. which were known terms but now are being executed – which if polished, shall work wonders with the money matters in terms of returns.

To watch the kind of approval for the film discussed by those who watch Marathi films on the big screen, is a delight and encouragement for a producer’s hard work! A large number of audiences still need to be attracted to the theatres to start churning the returns on investments and see Marathi films for longer durations on the multiplex screens.

Judging by the changing trend of the last five years, it might not be an exaggeration to say that these small progressive films might just bring back the golden era of the sixties when the likes of V Shantaram and Dadasaheb Phalke changed the face of not just Marathi cinema, but scripted a new chapter of Indian cinema. The recent past in the industry is testimony enough that even small budget films click if they are well planned throughout the pre-production stages. Marathi cinema has proved that with an entry in to the Oscars!

One thing that I like the most about this industry is that it is sans any typical grapevine that its counterpart is engulfed with. It boasts of a much cleaner and friendly atmosphere even among costars (a healthy competition is what can be sensed among them, unlike most of their counterparts) and is far from being westernized, as yet!

Marathi Paaul Padate Pudhe....!!!!