Filmmaker decodes changing city,gets nominated in NYIFF-2013

Nikhil Mahajan’s Pune 52 deals with the 1990s,a time of changing financial scenario,new PIN codes and changing relationships.

Written by Garima Mishra | Published: April 23, 2013 1:37:42 am

Changing financial situation of the 90s,globalisation,changing relationships,new PIN codes and a changed city — these and much more were brought back to life through Nikhil Mahajan’s

newly released,debut Marathi film,Pune 52.

In spite of the mixed reviews that it got since its release in January this year,the film was pushed to the frontlines of Indian Cinema by getting nominated not only in the upcoming Maharashtra State Awards 2013,but also in the New York Indian Film Festival 2013.

Concepturalised three years ago,the film got five nominations in the state awards [Best Film,Best Screenplay (Nikhil Mahajan),Best Debut Director (Nikhil Mahajan),Best Actor (Girish Kulkarni) and Best Actress (Sai Tamhankar) and also succeeded in getting three in the NYIFF-2013 [Best Actor,Best Actress and Best Screenplay.

When asked about his film’s impact and his accomplishment as its writer-director,he said,“Although I was expecting a few nominations at the state awards,I wasn’t expecting to get nominated myself,that too in two categories. And then NYIFF was really a pleasant surprise,” says the 28-year-old debutante,who keeps coming to Pune once a week to visit his maternal grandparents. He even prefers to call himself a Puneite rather than a Mumbaikar where he actuially lives.

“I can connect well with this city. Besides,I stayed here for two years before and during the shoot of Pune 52,” he says.

The film revolves around a private detective’s life and how it undergoes a dramatic change when he takes up a personal and a very complex case. The Marathi thriller is set in the year 1992,against the backdrop of the financial reform policy of the period and how globalisation changed the city,its people and relationships forever.

Mahajan started started working on this project since 2010,when he returned from Sydney after completing his studies in film direction at The International Film School. His early schooling took place in his native Aurangabad.

“Then (2010) I started working on the script of Pune 52. One thing led to another and things started into place,” says Mahajan. The film will also be screened at the upcoming Silk Screen Film Festival in Pittsburgh,which will be held from May 10 to May 19.

Explaining the title of the film,he says,“Pune 52 is the PIN code of Karve Nagar. During that time,several new areas were demarcated and began to develop. That is when over 30 PIN codes were introduced. Karve Nagar was one of them. the name of the movie also points to the changes that were witnessed at that time in the city.”

According to Mahajan. the regional and international nominations are victories in itself. “The fact that my film is competing with those made by accomplished filmmakers is quite fulfilling. I will not be disappointed at all if the nominations don’t translate into awards,” says Mahajan.

While the Maharashtra State Awards will be declared on May 2,NYIFF function will be held on May 4.

The film,which stars Girish Kulkarni,Kiran Karmarkar,Sai Tamhankar and Sonali Kulkarni,has been produced jointly by Indian Magic Eye Motion Pictures and Arbhaat Nirmitee.

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