Nine Marathi films have made it to the coveted Indian Panorama section of this year’s International Film Festival of India (IFFI), outnumbering films from any other states. Notably missing from this section is Ravi Jadhav’s Nude, which wasn’t among the selected films due to its subject matter.
The selection includes Kaasav, which got a direct entry after winning the Golden Lotus Award at the 64th National Film Awards, as well as Ventilator, a mainstream Marathi language film directed by Rajesh Mapuskar and produced by Priyanka Chopra. The selection also includes seven other films — Kshitij: A Horizon by Manouj Kadaamh, Kachcha Limbu by Prasad Oak, Maza Bhirbhira, a joint effort by Yogesh Soman and Vivek Wagh, Redu directed by Sagar Chhaya Vanjari, Varun Narvekar’s Muramba, Gajendra Ahire’s Pimpal and Deepak Gawade’s Idak.
As many as 26 Marathi films had been submitted for consideration for the festival. Two more short films — Baluta by Ajay Kurane and Khidkee by Rohan Kanawade — have been selected to be screened under the Non-Feature Section.
The number of Marathi films that have made it among IFFI’s final selection this year is remarkable as last year, only four Marathi films had made it to the final pool of 22 films.
“Films like Nude and Dashakriya show that directors are finding innovative ways to make films now. I am very happy to see this… people are also responding very well. The Marathi film industry is only going to keep growing in the future,”said Prasad Oak, an accomplished actor who ventured into film direction for the first time with Kachcha Limbu, which deals with the issues faced by the parents of a special child.
Vivek Wagh, who co-produced and co-directed Maza Bhirbhira with Yogesh Soman, said the fact that Marathi films outnumbered other language films proves that the industry is doing “something right and something different, creatively”.
“It’s a big deal. Hundreds of films are sent to compete for the Indian Panorama section. If so many Marathi films have made the cut, it shows that we are doing better than any other industry. The range of subjects that are being handled, and the kind of treatments and narratives being used, is certainly making people stand up and take note,” said Wagh.
Manouj Kadaamh, director of Kshitij: A Horizon, believes that this year’s IFFI selection includes strong films and it will be a tough competition. “Marathi films have no star value. It is the content that is the hero. Similarly, more and more people are focussing on the content of their films,”, he said. Of the 153 feature films IFFI received, a jury headed by filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh selected 26 films to be screened at the festival. Apart from nine Marathi films, the selection also includes six Hindi, three Bengali, two Assamese and one Malayalam film, among others.