In February 1990, a voyager sent by NASA had taken a photograph of Earth from a distance of nearly 6 billion km. In the photograph, titled Pale Blue Dot, the Earth appeared smaller than a pixel against the vast expanse of space.
The reality of Earth’s minuscule existence, when compared to the infinite universe, is the idea that inspired Sarvanaam – Pale Blue Dot, a Marathi film that deals with deeper questions of life and death.
The film is the only Marathi entry among the 11 films that have been shortlisted in the ‘India Story’ section of the prestigious 19th MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2017. Much before it turned into a film, the concept of Sarvanaam had remained with filmmaker Girish Mohite for four years.
“Four years ago, I had read a short Marathi story titled Khaase Pardhi Naslela Manoos by Pune-based author Bashir Mujawar. The story questioned the essence of life and death. It talked about a human being’s fear of losing her life, when she sees someone else losing their life. It was quite a thought-provoking story and I felt it deserved to be told on the big screen… that’s how Sarvanaam was born,” says Mohite.
Over the next few years, Mohite says he met a number of writers who wrote screenplays for the film, but their drafts couldn’t meet his expectations. Finally, a year ago, a close friend of his wrote the screenplay, and that set the ball rolling.
In January, he shot the film in the interiors of Kolhapur, in remote villages such as Gargoti and Gujargadh, as well as the village Pachal, located between Karad and Rajapur. “There are some projects that one makes for oneself. I was very convinced about the subject and had decided that even if I don’t find producers, I will produce it myself, and I did produce it,” says Mohite.
While the end of the original story by Mujawar was left open-ended for the readers to interpret it themselves, Mohite said he did try to interpret the meaning of life and death in Sarvanaam.
Talking about the film’s plot, he says, “Death is the ultimate truth. Each one of us is aware that at some point of time, death is going to come meet us and end our role. This close shadow of death destroys the peace of mind of every individual , irrespective of how inevitable the truth may be. An approaching shadow of that evil arouses a feeling of unacceptable injustice in his mind and he leaves no stone unturned to unveil the answer to this riddle. The unbearable sorrow of this inhuman destiny and the agonising journey of every human being’s life is narrated in Sarvanaam”.
The film’s cast and crew include Mangesh Desai, Dipti Dhotre, Rajvardhan Rahul Desai and Umesh Bolke, while its music has been directed by Pune duo Avinash-Vishwajit Mohite, who hails from Sangli, studied at the JJ School of Arts in Mumbai, before becoming a part of the TV industry and directing TV serials like Shriman Shrimati, Gilli Danda and Chacha Chaudhry, among others. In 2006, he made his first Marathi film Vishwas, followed by films like Bhartiya, Conditions Apply and Bioscope, among others.