Marathi films Bhonga and Paani won big at the 66th National Film Awards. While Shivaji Lotan Patil’s directorial Bhonga was declared the Best Marathi Film, Adinath Kothare’s Paani won the Best Film on Environment Conversation award.
Two-time National Film Award winner Shivaji Lotan Patil told indianexpress.com, “I am very happy about the award, I can’t really express this happiness in words. Getting a National Film Award again is a great feeling. The journey of Bhonga was very long and different. I told the story of this film to at least sixteen to seventeen producers and nobody wanted to back it. All I have heard is no for Bhonga, but I believed in my film, and the subject was really good. I wanted to do this film by hook or by crook. I just couldn’t let it go. So I managed to accumulate some money and produced the film, along with directing it. After the film was ready, we first showcased it at the Pune International Film festival and won an award. Then there was no looking back. We won a lot of awards and now the National Film Award too. Our team’s efforts have been finally recognised. After facing so much rejection, it is a different feeling to win a National Film Award for the same movie.”
Bhonga will have a theatrical release before the year ends. “Winning this award is the biggest promotion for the film. I am glad now people in Maharashtra know my movie as an award-winning Marathi film,” Patil concluded.
Adinath Kothare made his directorial debut with Paani. It is produced by Priyanka Chopra and mother Madhu Chopra’s production house Purple Pebbles.
Talking about the win, Kothare said, “It is such a great feeling winning the National Film Award. The Silver Lotus is a great feat for the entire team. This project is very close to our heart. We have been working on it for the last five years. When you get appreciation on a national level, you can only feel thankful. I am so thankful to Priyanka Chopra and Madhu Chopra for believing in a debutant director like me. I also thank Rashmi Kulkarni and Nitin Dixit, my writer and creative director. Paani has been a great journey and now that the film is going to release soon, the award is a great beginning to the future of the film. As a debutant director, I feely greatly motivated today. I have acted in it too. It was not easy but I wanted to tell this strong story.”
He added, “Paani is based in Nagarwadi village in Nanded. There is a person called Hanumant Kendre who fought against all odds to bring his village together to fight against the water crisis in the region. Today, the village has no water problem. They are self-sufficient and have water all through the year. They supply water to neighbouring villages too.”
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Madhu Chopra is elated over the National Film Award for Paani. She said, “We are super excited about winning the National Film Award for Paani.” This is Purple Pebble’s second film to have won the National Film Award. Their film Ventilator had won three National Film Awards in 2016.
Singer-lyricist-actor Swanand Kirkire also won an award this year. He was honoured with the Best Supporting Actor award for his performance in Marathi film Chumbak.
Kirkire said, “This has to be one of the best days of my life that two of my films won National Film Awards. For Chumbak, this has come as the biggest surprise. I don’t know what to say because acting was something I never thought I would do. This is overwhelming.”