Growing up in Mumbai, it was only natural for Shrihari Sathe to feed on a healthy diet of films. He would watch Hindi and English films as well as Tamil ones without subtitles because he didn’t care too much about the language of a film. This was probably the time Sathe made up his mind to join the film world himself. Today, it would not take a genius to track the trajectory of the 30-year-old’s career and say, “He chose well.”
Set for his directorial debut, with Marathi film Ek Hazarachi Note, Sathe has a sizeable list of achievements to boast of. Having studied films for about eight years in the US — pursuing degrees from the University of Michigan and Columbia University’s School of the Arts and receiving fellowships from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Producer’s Guild of America, Sundance Institute — Sathe has been producing indie films for nine years. Accolades have been coming his way from film societies in the US and other countries. First Day of Peace, a Bosnian short film he co-produced, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Slamdance Film Festival (2010) while Off Season, another short film Sathe co-produced, was nominated for a BAFTA in 2010. These are only some of the highlights.
All that considered, one wonders why he would turn back home and that,too, towards regional cinema for his directorial debut. “It’s basically a film that happens to be in Marathi. I would get involved in any project if the story interested me; it could be in any language. With Ek Hazarachi Note, the story is set in Maharashtra and, therefore, the language makes sense. The bottomline is that cinema is visual storytelling,” he explains, adding that this is also his first film in the country.
Shot near Pune and set in Vidarbha, the film revolves around an old woman, played by Usha Naik. She leads a happy but uneventful
life till something changes it all. “The film is inspired by how we are. We are the common person, who is perpetually waiting, while those in power dictate how life ought to be lived,” says Sathe explaining that the simplicity of the story captivated him. “I was attached to the subject and the themes of how we can look at present society. The writer’s and characters’ voices interested me,” he says.
Sathe says the name of the film has stuck since the beginning of its inception. “The screenwriter, Shrikant Bojewar, named the film. Literally meaning, ‘thousand rupee note’, it signifies a pivotal point in the film vis-a-vis the woman. It also questions the value of money or the lack of that value, depending on which way one is looking. Of course, it is also a slightly catchy name that triggers some curiosity,” says Sathe.
Currently in the post-production phase, Sathe feels they have managed to produce a hybrid between the American system of making a film while keeping in mind the requirements of shooting in India. Their challenge, however, was the heat. “I have earlier shot in -27 degrees C and this was the other end of the spectrum. We were shooting near Pune during April and May with the temperatures soaring. We had to make sure everyone, including the equipment, was surviving. Ideally, I would like to be somewhere in between,” he says.
Going back to the course of his career, Sathe explains that his next film is in the US and then he has an Arabic venture lined up. But the filmmaker is not done with his homeland. “I am developing Indian content and I will be on the scene,” he says.
Mohan Agashe gets Godavari Gaurav award
Noted Marathi actor Mohan Agashe was honoured with the ‘Godavari Gaurav Puraskar’ in Nashik for his immense contribution in the field of cinema. Instituted by the city-based Kusumagraja Pratishthan, the award was presented at a function held in Nashik on March 11. Film producer and director Jabbar Patel, who is also the chairman of Kusumagraja Pratishthan, presented the award which carried a cash purse of Rs.21,000, a memento and citation.
Public demand for Nirel
On public demand, Nirel, the first International Tulu Movie will once again be screened at Golden Cinema, Bur Dubai on March 21. Earlier the family entertainer had had its premier in Dubai on Valentine’s Day with two full house shows. It later had three shows in Abu Dhabi and a successful run at five theatres across Mangalore. Nirel was released at Star Cinema, Ruwi in Muscat on March 14. Produced by Shodhan Prasad, the film stars Anoop, Varuna Shetty and Deepti Salian.