Marathi cinema is getting big on the international screen with director Umesh Kulkarnis film Vihir produced by Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Ltd winning best film award at the recently concluded New York Film Festival. For a year,the film has travelled through all prestigious film festivals,including Berlin,Rotterdam,Pusan and Karlovy Vary film festival held at Czech Republic and has won laurels.
The latest accolade in New York Film Festival is significant since it is attended by world renowned directors,writers and artistes. The film got nominations in three categories,including best direction,screenplay and film. I received rave reviews about the film from New York,which I feel was more important, said Kulkarni.
I wanted to experiment with the language of cinema and A B Corp gave me the full freedom. I am happy that it is reaching people all over the world and more importantly they are appreciating it breaking the language barrier, he said.
He said it was the responsibility of new directors to experiment to widen the taste of Marathi audience. Though Vihir was also an experiment,it ran for over 75 days in city theatres. It was well received in small cities such as Satara and Kolhapur too along with Pune,Mumbai and Nashik, said Kulkarni.
As the Marathi cinema is being welcomed at national and international level,big banners such as A B Corp and Mukta Arts have shown interest in producing more Marathi films. On Tuesday,Bollywood director Madhur Bhandarkar at a public programme also expressed his desire to make a Marathi film next year.
In the last couple of years Marathi films like Me Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy,Natrang,Tingya,Valu and Harishchandrachi Factory have drawn big audience to the theatres which was not happening for several years. According to Virendra Chitrav,secretary,Federation of Film Societies of India (western region),Marathi film Shwas getting selected as an official entry of India for Oscar awards in 2004 was a real turning point for Marathi cinema.
With a revolution in media in late 1990s,the new creed of Marathi directors got widely noticed. With the access to information,they could know the tactics of pushing their cinema at global level through international festivals, he said.
Chitrav said in the last decade Marathi cinema had attracted the attention at national arena by grabbing national awards,which were dominated by Bengali and Malyalam films. At present,of 800 films produced in the country annually,100 are Marathi films, he said.