Ravi Jadhav, a revered name in Marathi cinema especially after the super success of Balak Palak and Timepass, is now gearing up for his big Hindi directorial debut with Banjo which opens in cinema screens across India tomorrow. We caught up with this acclaimed filmmaker to know more about his Hindi venture.
How was it directing your first Hindi film?
The experience has been very overwhelming. I have received a good and warm reception here. And ever since the teaser of Banjo was out, we have been getting a lot of positive response from many big names of the industry which is both encouraging and humbling.
Is directing a Hindi film any different from a Marathi film?
The process is the same whether you are directing a Marathi film or a Hindi one. The difference is in the audience you are catering to. A Marathi film is made keeping the Marathi audience in mind primarily. And if it becomes a hit, Hindi audience and other language audiences too will watch it. A Hindi film however is made keeping in mind the entire nation and the Indian diaspora abroad. So it caters to a large number of viewers. That’s the only difference for me. And also, the budget you get to make a Hindi film is substantially larger.
Weren’t you skeptical about signing Nargis Fakhri. She isn’t known for her acting skills?
Not at all. Her character in the film is that of girl from New York named Christina who comes to Mumbai and knows absolutely nothing about the place here or the language or what clothes to wear in which place. And in the first meeting itself I told her you will do the film. And she was quite happy doing a film where she didn’t have to wear long haired wigs and she could wear punjabi clothes and not look Punjabi. She was quite comfortable doing the film because she plays herself in the film. She fits in easily into the film. You will be surprised. The way she speaks in Hindi is the way she naturally speaks. I am happy with her performance.
Was Riteish Deshmukh your first choice?
Always. I wrote the story keeping Riteish in mind. We have a great equation.
Banjo is the story of street music and street musicians. Did any particular incident inspire you?
Street musicians are present across the nation and not only in Maharashtra. Street music is so beautiful. Internationally, hip-hop, rock, reggae all trace their origins to street music. Abroad street music and musicians get a platform to showcase their music. I remember the incident which pained me and led me to start researching on this topic was when at a wedding I saw kids singing and playing and people throwing money at their performance. I started researching and learnt that these musicians don’t get platforms to showcase their talent. Also, these people primarily play music to earn money and keep their house running. They play cover versions of popular Bollywood numbers on streets, at weddings and at other places. The reason why they don’t perhaps think original is because they don’t get a platform and music for them is primarily a tool for survival. There is beautiful line which says, ‘kab tak bajayega doosre ki dhun kabhi apne dil ki sunn’. Composing your own tune is important but not easy.
Are you happy with the music of your film?
Very happy. It’s difficult to compose, mix and record live street music. What’a more difficult is to retain that experience. You need to get the same feeling inside the theatre just like how you hear it on streets. There are very few studios like Yashraj which can achieve that. Vishal and Shekhar who have given the music have done a marvellous job to retain the right flavour.
Finally tell us how did you convince Salman Khan to do a role in your Marathi film, Shivaji?
All I can say is Riteish is talking to a lot many people and there will be a lot of them in my film. I have not met Salman yet but I would love to work with him. Who wouldn’t want to?
What is it about Salman that you like the most?
I love that person. When Dabangg was being filmed, my friend Mahesh Limaye was part of it. I had met him then and found him to be down-to-earth. He is a great person to work with.