“I make content driven films” – Satish Rajwade

Groomed under the wings of celebrated director, cinematographer, screenwriter and producer Govind Nihalani, this actor-director from Mumbai has now established his forte in the industry. Satish Rajwade became a household name with his mesmerizing, spine-chilling, thriller daily soaps like Asambhav and Agnihotra. The daily soaps varied from the everyday saas-bahu sagas and got the audience hooked to them. The films directed by Rajwade received accolades from the Marathi film fraternity. Mrugjal, Rajwade’s debut proved his worth and tenacity. The film went on to bag 23 awards along with the highly-coveted V. Shantaram award. Following which, Rajwade’s other film’s Ek Daav Dhobi Pachaad, Gaiir, Mumbai-Pune-Mumbai, Badam Rani Ghulam Chor and Premachi Goshta earned much audience applaud. With Popat, Rajwade brings another family entertainer starring Atul Kulkarni, Ameya Wagh, Ketan Pawar and Siddharth Menon. Rajwade talks to us about his upcoming film which is slated to release on 23rd August.

What is “Popat” all about?

Popat is all about youth, friends, dreams, passion, ectasy and it’s about everything that comes to your mind as soon as you hear the word "Popat". This word is associated with lots of connotations and is connected to life – what we do and how we react to situations in life. Life can be very sweet if we are sweet, it can be very nasty if we are nasty, hence it all sums up to Popat.

In Mumbai slang, the word Popat means being fooled, what were your reasons for using it as the title of your film?

There are multiple reasons why the film has been named Popat. Having said that, the word has many connotations connected to it, it is further about our life and what we as individuals find in our life. Popat/Parrot is one such bird which gives back what you give him. It speaks what you speak and it isn’t aware of the time and day. It speaks to you when it wants to. Similar is the case with life. We don’t know what life will speak to us and when.

How did the story of the film evolve?

My track record is such that I have done cinema and serials which are largely content-based and not mindless entertainment. I perceive entertainment as a responsibility. Audience comes to theater, buys popcorns and colas for themselves not just for entertainment purpose but also to take back something with them. So what is told in a film’s story becomes an important asset, an essence coated with entertainment. With Popat, I was trying to go a step ahead after Premachi Goshta, a love story of divorcees. I wanted to show the aura of life, what happens in life and how life happens to us thereafter. I wanted to take a responsible step about making this cinema by telling a very trustworthy story but I also wanted to make it very entertaining because any medicine given to you in a sweet pill is always accepted. I have done the best attempt to do just that in this film.

Will this film be as hilarious as Ek Daav Dhobi Pachaad?

This film is not a laugh riot but definitely humorous. It will not just tickle your funny bone but will also make you think about what made you laugh.

Was Atul Kulkarni the first choice for the role of Janardhan?

I wanted an actor with calibre and Atul is one of the finest actors we have. As also the role of Janya aka Janardhan demanded an actor of that age group. This story is about the boys in their 20s who meet a man who is in his early 40s. There is a generation gap of 20 years between them but they start becoming friends. And then begins a hilarious eventful trip. They have fun in the process of coming together, do what they have always wanted to do, chase dreams, laugh and cry! And to bring out this element of the character, Janardhan Shingre, Atul turned out to be the best choice. I narrated the story to Atul while we were shooting for Premachi Goshta, he liked it and since we had struck a cord during the shooting of the film, he too readily agreed to do this film.

Having done comedy, romance and thriller, which is the genre where you as a director get space to experiment?

I do not categorize myself to a particular character, I like to tell a story. If you see my thriller film, that too had a good story so anything that comes from me will always be content-driven. I want to do different stories and do not want to typecast myself. I enjoy telling different types of stories, my only condition is mass-appealing content.

You have been a writer, director, actor, lyricist, what next?

I have been a director by choice, acting just happened. I did not have any Godfather and since I had to get in this field, acting was the only way. Moreover, this helped me understand the actor’s pysche. Initially, nobody was ready to write for me, so I took to penning down my stories and lyrics.

Audience has thoroughly enjoyed your serials, when will we see you directing yet another daily soap?

Currently, I am looking for something different, a story which has the ability to entertain and preach. I do not believe in the saas-bahu serials where the only thing on the mother-in-law’s (saas) mind is to torment the daughter-in-law (bahu). I love doing serials and will get back on small screen soon.

Mumbai-Pune-Mumbai is being remade in five different languages, what’s your reaction on that?

Mumbai-Pune-Mumbai will be remade in five languages including Hindi, which I will be directing. I am very happy that the story and my thought appealed to all cinephiles. Love truly has no language which is why cinema-lovers are bringing out different versions of Mumbai-Pune-Mumbai. I am happy because the film also marks my Hindi directorial debut.

As an actor, what is it that you see while taking up a role?

As an actor, I feel that my role should make a difference. I need not be a lead but the character should have some meaning. It should be something of substance.

You had been a part of the serial, Duniyadari, the film too is based on the same story, what do you have to say about that?

It was one of my earliest work onscreen. The serial too was based on the same novel, by Suhas Shirwalkar, which is adapted as the film. This marathi novel during one time was worshipped by youth and Sanjay Jadhav’s film which is his version of the novel is indeed very well-made. It is what Sanjay has taken from the book but then again the Box Office is doing the talking!

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