Whenever the hero is an underdog and goes on to achieve something big in life, the audience is able to connect with him. They walk out of the theatre with a feeling “life isn’t that unfair,” says Santosh Manjrekar, who delivered Me Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy in 2009 — a film that went on to break all records at the Marathi box-office. Now, after a gap of five years, he is ready with his next film — Surajya. “Yes, there has been a gap but that doesn’t mean I was away from film-making,” says Manjrekar, adding that during the past few years, he assisted various film directors from the Marathi industry as well as from Bollywood.
Besides, he adds that he was looking for a script with enough content to stir him with emotion and fill him with passion to translate it into a film. When he read the script of Surajya by Vinayak Prabhu and Saurabh Bhave, this is exactly what happened.
The film revolves around the subject of practicality over blind faith. When the protagonist, Omkar, and his love interest, Dr Swapna, find a wounded man on the highway on their way to Goa, they hunt for a hospital to get him medical attention but cannot find even one till they reach Goa. However, on the way, they find numerous temples. After delving into the issue of lack of hospitals in the area, the protagonist soon finds many cases of deaths due to lack of medical attention. Omkar decides to take up the initiative, making people aware that it is vital to build hospitals instead of temples.
“Though we are all idol-worshippers, we must introduce a bit of pragmation into society. While a temple should be built, having a hospital is sometimes more essential,” says Manjrekar, adding that the highlight of the film is its music. With a few romantic, urban and youthful numbers, the music has been made in a way that will stay on playlists for a long time, he says.
During the entire shooting of the film, the success of Me Shivaji…. kept playing on his mind, says the director, adding that he was aware that his previous film had set the bar high. However, Manjrekar didn’t want to bring any elements of his previous film into this one, so he consciously avoided repeating any members of the crew or cast. “Vaibbhav Tatwawdi has acted in Mahesh Manjrekar’s television serial and I knew that he could carry off the role of the hero. Though he has acted in films before, this is his debut as the protagonist. Other members of the cast were also selected after thorough brainstorming sessions with my producers. We didn’t hold any auditions, but simply selected people whom we thought were fit for their respective characters,” says Manjrekar.
The cast includes Mrunal Thakur, Pournima Manohar, Madhav Abhyankar, Nandkumar Patil, Vinayak Bhave Shriram Patki, Reena Sule, Ravindra Sangvai and Shahaji Kale. The film is set to release across theatres in Maharashtra on April 18.
Shutter releases in July 2014
The first teaser trailer of Marathi film, Shutter was released on the auspicious occasion of Gudi Padwa. The film is a remake of Malayalam film by the same name. Veteran ad film-maker, actor and National Award winning director V.K. Prakash (VKP) who has earlier made films in Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu makes his directorial debut in Marathi with this film that stars Sachin Khedekar, Sonalee Kulkarni, Amey Wagh, Prakash Bare, Jaywant Wadkar and Kamlesh Sawant. Shutter portrays unexpected incidents happening in 24 hours with three people in a small town in Maharashtra.
Atul Kulkarni drives Happy Journey
Atul Kulkarni will be soon seen in a film titled Happy Journey. Produced by Everest Entertainment, the film, shot in various locales of Pune, Goa, Velhe and Mangaon, is currently under production. A special vehicle (a house on wheels) has been created for the film and the Tempo Traveler has been modified in to a caravan by Imran who is an assistant to car designer Dilip Chhabria. Atul Kulkarni will be seen driving this vehicle throughout the film.Also starring Priya Bapat and Pallavi Subhash, it is directed by Sachin Kundalkar. The film is scheduled to release in September 2014.