What is the buzz about Yellow now that it is due for release on April 4?
We are receiving good response from all quarters. Ritiesh Deshmukh, who is the co-producer of the film, is even planning to show it to his friends from the industry. So, hopefully the release is going to be on a big scale.
The film is based on a true story. What is it?
Yes, it is a true story. It is based on the real life story of Gauri Gadgil who is playing the lead in the film. Actually my father Hitendra Thakur and elder brother MLA Kshitij Thakur were invited for a function at a special school in Virar, Mumbai. Seeing the children there, the germ of an idea came to my brother for my next film. He discussed it with our writers Ambar Hadap and Ganesh Pandit who then began developing the story. They met Gauri, who is suffering from Down Syndrome condition and her parents. She looks so normal that we had the confidence that she could act in our movie.
How long did it take for the team to learn and deal with her mannerisms?
Initially, we had thought it would be very tough but soon Ganesh and Gauri began sharing a very good rapport. He was always present on the sets to communicate with her. It then became easy to work with her as she understood what was being told to her. She jelled with director Mahesh Limaye, who patiently managed to extract a good performance from her.
Did a lot of research go into the making of the film?
We started working on the story around April 2013, and finalised it in August, after which we started shooting soon after. Ambar and Ganesh did a lot of research and gathered information about this case. For instance, we realised that such people have Mongolian features, which signifies that they suffer from Down Syndrome.
There is another kid, Sanjana Rai, in the film. What is her role?
Sanjana too is suffering from Down Syndrome in real life. In the film, she plays the younger version of Gauri. We had to be very patient with her though and had to wait really long to make her give a good shot.
How old are both the girls?
I am not too sure. I guess, Sanjana is eight years old while Gauri must be in her twenties.
Were you not apprehensive to make a film with complete novices, who are special children in real life too?
Even Balak Palak had new faces and that did well. Yellow needed Gauri and Sanjana in the film. They have made my film what it is. There are lot of expectations from my film, and I think word-ofmouth is the best publicity. More than awards, I want to reach to more people through my films. That is my goal.
The film has a very unusual title?
(Laughs) You have to see the film to know why it is titled Yellow. I cannot reveal it. But what I can tell you is that Mrinal Kulkarni and Manoj Joshi play Gauri’s parents while Upendra Limaye plays the role of a swimming coach and Hrishikesh Joshi is in the role of Gauri’s mama (maternal uncle).
Ravi Jadhav gave you a big hit with your production Balak Palak. Why then did you opt for cinematographer Mahesh Limaye to direct Yellow?
Ravi was busy with Timepass and I could not wait till that film was completed. Also I want to work with different directors so each one has his own point of view of directing a movie. I just want to take experience from everyone.
Moreover, during the making of Balak Palak, I would watch Mahesh work as the cameraman. I noticed that he would always help director Ravi Jadhav with perfect advices and suggestions. As a renowned cameraman for many years, I felt that he may be able to direct a film too. A cinematographer is the first person to see the movie through his camera. I asked him and he told me that he was planning to direct a movie. That’s how he came on board.
Are you planning to take up direction?
Yes, but first I want to learn and take lessons from everyone. (Laughs)
What was Ritiesh’s part in the making of this film?
He has given a lot of suggestions in the screenplay. Otherwise we have segregated our work— I take care of the production, Ritieshdada takes care of all the publicity. The film is made by my banner Viva In-En (Viva in entertainment) and Ritieshdada’s Mumbai Film Company.
Having tasted huge success with your first film, what are your expectations from Yellow?
My expectations are really high because I have once again attempted a very sensitive topic. I think people would appreciate my effort as well as the film which is the first of its kind in Marathi cinema. Please note that it is not a very serious film, there is entertainment as well as a strong message.