Marathi cinema like any other regional Indian cinema needs to reach far and beyond local boundaries. It is a way to not only preserve our cultural heritage while adapting to modern times but also a channel for making our mark in a world full of diversities. So, it indeed proved to be a rare treat to sit back and relax in a boutique theatre with drinks and nibbles to accompany this achievement, made possible by The Last Minute Productions AU, who hosted the first-ever Marathi Film Festival (MFF) at Lido Cinemas in Melbourne from March 9 to 11.
The festival showcased a fabulous selection of films, taking the audience on a whirlwind journey with films like Katyar Kaljat Ghusali (based on Indian classical music); Gulabjam (based on traditional Maharashtrian food); Savita Damodar Paranjpe (a psychological thriller); Lokmanya Ek Yug Purush (patriotic drama) and Ti Aani Itar (a film bordering on moral perplexities). The enthusiastic and industrious creative head of The Last Minute Productions, Achala Dattar, assured that she is determined to work through the challenges of weak distribution channels and tight advertisement budgets to continue bringing such world class Marathi films to our platter. If all goes well, we might even be looking at a travelling Marathi Film Festival across Australia!
The festival was inaugurated by renowned actor-director-producer Subodh Bhave, whose glorious career spans over more than a couple of decades. Coming from a theater background, Bhave today has more than 25 TV serials and 75 movies to his credit. A recipient of prestigious awards for his outstanding performances in Balgandharv, Lokmanya Ek Yug Purush and Katyar Kaljat Ghusli, Bhave has also outdone himself in directing. His directorial debut Katyar Kaljat Ghusli has been the third highest grossing film from the Marathi Film Industry that was screened worldwide. Over a cuppa, Bhave shared with The Indian Telegraph, his insights on acting, directing and his vision for Marathi cinema.
Coffee With Subodh
A very down-to-earth and straight forward person, he spoke fondly of his humble beginnings, his struggles in a flailing film industry, and how he finally became the man who has seen-it-all. He appeared to be a staunch self-critique, who works primarily for himself rather than name and fame.
His urge to continuously evolve as an actor by opting for challenging and diverse roles; his interest in doing biopics and classic revivals, further revealed his versatility as an actor.
The Man With A Vision
There seemed to be a flicker of frustration in Bhave’s otherwise calm demeanour when it came to Hindi cinema and its strong hold on viewers worldwide – something that Marathi cinema inadvertently has to fight against. As an integral member of the film fraternity, he wants to take Marathi cinema above and beyond geographical borders, across language and cultural differences. He is confident that contents of Marathi films are strong enough to cater to the likes of cinema lovers across the globe.
Leena Kukde: – MFF has been an absolute three-day treat. Thank you Last Minute Productions for bringing to us this carnival. We enjoyed all the films and it was a pleasure to meet and greet a talent like Subodh Bhave in person.
Arya Athavale: I am a big fan of Subodh Bhave. It was fantastic meeting him. Like Subodh, I am a very proud Maharashtrian, proud to speak Marathi. I love to watch Marathi movies and shows; therefore I thoroughly enjoyed the entire event and hope they organise such festivals every year.
Sameer Borkar from UNTACG Regional Marketing: Akshaya Borkar (my wife) and Achala Dattar, have worked tirelessly to make MFF happen in just three weeks. We are every glad to see the shows being well received. It is a huge motivation to keep us going.