The Marathi film industry has come a long way from its Raja Harishchandra days. Today, a Marathi film raises our expectations way before its release. Whether it’s with a stellar star cast, a famous director, an intriguing trailer or an interesting plot Marathi filmmakers have mastered the art of packaging. And it has worked wonders for them. In recent years, the Marathi film fraternity has been joined by a new breed of directors, who have taken film-making to a different level altogether. They’ve made their presence felt, not only in India, but across the globe. Their films often give us a hint of their own perspective towards certain things in life. Let’s take a look at some of these gems of Marathi cinema:
1. Avinash Arun
He was not a known name in the industry until his debut film took the world by storm. Avinash Arun’s first directorial venture, Killa made huge waves right from the outskirts of Maharashtra all the way to Berlin. Arun’s coming-of-age story shows a young boy’s tryst with his ever-changing world, and is laced with visual brilliance. He wonderfully blends local flavours (monsoon in the Konkan region) into a story that is heavily derived from his own childhood. What separates Arun from other directors is his signature style of film-making quiet yet expressive. In this day and age of in-your-face cinema, Arun has quietly carved a place for himself with a film like Killa, sans the big star cast and over-the-top publicity.
Killa won the Crystal Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and the National Award for Best Film in Marathi.
2. Samruddhi Porey
The Marathi film industry is no longer dominated by men alone. Now, women are also at the forefront of film-making. One such example is Samruddhi Porey, director of the national awardwinning film, Mala Aai Vhaychay! An advocate by profession, Porey’s strength lies in her ability to quickly grasp technical aspects. Her second big film was Dr. Prakash Baba Amte - The Real Hero, a biopic on the life of the social worker and his wife, Mandakini. Porey’s USP is that her films are inspired by reality real people, real incidents.
Porey became the first woman director to win two National Awards (for Mala Aai Vhaychay).
3. Nagraj Manjule
Poet, writer, filmmaker Nagraj Manjule is probably one of the most underrated directors of contemporary Marathi cinema, even though his first two projects created quite a buzz among the audience. Manjule’s first venture was Pistulya in 2011, a short film that won him a National Award. In 2014, the director came out with Fandry, his first feature film that deals with issues like the caste system and discrimination in Maharashtra. Fandry received tremendous global acclaim and was a hit at international film festivals.Manjule’s mantra is simple - to engage people through their emotions; making people cry is also a part of entertainment.
4. Ravi Jadhav
To be able to create a masterpiece like Natarang in his first attempt requires immense courage and commitment. Ravi Jadhav announced his arrival in Marathi cinema with this 2009 super hit film, based on the famous tamasha culture of Maharashtra. Jadhav won a National Award for Natarang, besides being heaped with praise from the film fraternity. In 2011, his film Balgandharva was screened at the Cannes and Venice festivals. The film also won three National Awards that year! Jadhav was then roped in by Riteish Deshmukh to direct Balak Palak – a brave attempt to touch upon issues sensitive for today’s generation. Known to have a creative bent, Jadhav is also the creator of the Timepass series. Timepass was the first film to cross the 30-crore mark and win more than 30 awards. Jadhav went a step further in 2015, exploring the concept of homosexuality in his latest co-directorial venture, Bioscope.
It is safe to say that Marathi cinema has taken a giant leap in terms of film-making. With such talented directors dishing out masterpieces one after the other, we’re all in for a treat!