Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Renaissance of Marathi Cinema

It's been almost two weeks since I have watched Sairat. It captured my mind and it's not going anywhere soon. More than the ending, I am now intrigued about the whole Sairat phenomena.

First, Its music. Raj has written about the songs of this movie on his blog.

Then, Sairat's director- Nagraj Manjule. His life is no less than a movie itself. He is a paradigm shift for many of us. I watched his interview "Great Bhet" by senior journalist Nikhil Wagle.
How many times have we heard that people can change inside out over the time period? Honestly I never totally believed that persons can evolve so drastically.  Even the story of Walmiki didn't feel right to me. Nagraj is a living example of such shift of personality. He failed 10th exam twice, was a narcotic addict, had violent past; today, he speaks eloquently about most sensitive issues of mankind. He doesn't just speak but expresses it through his art. He is not just a loner artist deeply hurt with the realities of life, he has made that pain his strength and became one of the most successful personalities of Marathi films.

Then the music composers of this film - Ajay-Atul. The duo never took any lessons in music. They don't know how to write music notations; yet, they have produced original tracks and symphonies which can make a seasoned musician question god that why he chose them over him.

Sairat is an iconoclast movie; on so many levels. It's been three weeks since its wide release and it has earned 700 million rupees (~11 million dollars) on its humble 40 million rupees (~600 thousand dollars) budget. That's hell lot of money for Marathi movie. It has almost twice than the second most successful Marathi movie Natsamrat. Signs are that Sairat will surpass 900 million mark in its full theatrical run. Natsamrat is also this year's movie. That means suddenly Marathi movie became significant earners. Now, the question is- What the F..?

Incompetence disguised as lack of audience in the 90s

I am pissed. This is clear sign that Marathi movie market was pathetically underrated for last so many years. Those creepy movie makers who made excuses that Marathi audience is not into Marathi movies and cried for patronage for Marathi cinema were actually losers who took Marathi cinema down the drain over those years.

Epitome of narcissism - Sachin getting himself praised in his own function.
Marathi audience has not suddenly became rich or aware of their heritage. While Tamil, Telugu movies were crossing 1000 million marks even in last decade, Marathi movies limped to cross 50 million mark.

Those movie makers who ceremoniously become judge of dance shows, crown themselves as showman of Marathi cinema,  the onus lies on them. Not only they undermined the cinema, they made a clown of versatile actors in the charades of what they thought were funny movies. Such a waste of the likes of Ashok Saraf and Laksmikant Berde.

Dawn of hope

Thanks to the brigade of new creators who proved that Marathi cinema was actually victim of mediocrity of the 90s. This new breed of directors liberated Marahi cinema from those hopeless dungeons of cheap entertainment. Big thanks to Mahesh Manjrekar for starting the success trend with Mi Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy. Likes of Umesh Kulkarni, Ravi Jadhav, Subodh Bhave, Nikhil Sane took it ahead. Popular talk shows like "Chala Hawa Yeoo Dya" gave good stage for promotions for these movies.

The force behind Renaissance of Marathi Cinema
However, it still was not clear if Marathi audience got aware of their heritage suddenly or it was the quality of the movies that improved. The phenomenal success of Sairat has made it completely clear now. Marathi movies was an untapped market. It is a good example how a potential can remain hidden in plain sight.

Though hugely because of the incompetence of the Marathi movie makers of the 90s, Marathi cinema got disparaged by the Hindi film industry. Now the balance has shifted big time.
The so called big budget albeit mediocre filmmakers of Bollywood movies must be shitting bricks watching over the success of a sensible film like Sairat.

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