When Satish Manwar penned a heart-wrenching tale of a farmers family in Vidarbha,it was a reaction of sorts. For a person who had grown up in a farmer family in Yavatmal in Vidarbha region,the spate of suicides that ravaged the region was not something he could ignore. So he decided to address the issue through a medium he knew best. Manwar made a film on it,Gabhri Cha Paaus (The Damned Rain).
Even while I was writing and directing theatre plays,I was deeply disturbed by the grim picture emerging from Vidarbha. My conscience wanted me to address it. Farming is the tradition of our country,hence it was necessary that the issues related to people involved in it be highlighted, said Manwar.
Scripting was not so difficult; the challenge lay in finding a producer. Nobody wanted to touch the subject. It was a realistic,satirical film and to top it all the language was the Varhadi dialect of Marathi that made producers all the more wary. That is when Girish Kulkarni,the lead actor,suggested I approach Prashant Pethe – and everything just fell into place, Manwar said.
Gabhri Cha Paaus is Manwars first directorial venture in feature films.
Pethe,who is known for his inclination for powerful scripts – he had co-produced Umesh Kulkarnis much acclaimed Valu – said it took him just 45 minutes to read the script and decide that he was doing the film. I believe a good film will always find its audience, Pethe said. The film does not hit hard the political side of the farmer suicide issue. It stresses more the other functional aspects of farming – like the inconsistent weather,the biggest villain for farmers,the irregular rains and the havoc it creates in a farmers everyday life, he added.
Shot entirely in Amravati,Gabhri Cha Paaus focuses on a farmer family affected by the inconsistent rain. Even when the entire village is reeling under bad crop seasons,the protagonist – Kisna (played by Girish Kulkarni) – is optimistic. The film also touches on other issues plaguing the already distressed farming community – like the ignorance of farmers about the compensation they are entitled to,the corrupt officials who take advantage of this ignorance and so on, said Manwar,who already has a decade-old association with theatre.
A graduate from Lalit Kala Kendra (Centre for Performing Arts) in Pune,Manwar has also tried his hand at short filmmaking. Gabhri Cha Paaus,which also casts Sonali Kulkarni,will be screened at the Pune International Film Festival on Friday at City Pride,Kothrud. The film is to be screened at the Rotterdam International Film Festival on January 26.
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