For the last couple of years, actor Sandeep Kulkarni has heard many requests from people to come out with a sequel to Dombivli Fast, the critically-appreciated Marathi film in which Kulkarni acted in 2006. “But I don’t think there can be a sequel to that film. The story ends with the death of the protagonist,” he says. Kulkarni believes that Dombivli Fast was a hard-hitting psychological film, and it would not be feasible to have a second partto it.
Which is why, when we hear that Kulkarni is line producing and acting in a film titled Dombivli Return, we can’t help but question him about the possibility of the film being a sequel. But he’s quick to quell our doubts. “Except for the word Dombivli and my association with it, it has nothing to do with the earlier film,” says the actor.
Whereas in Dombivli Fast, Madhav Apte (Kulkarni’s character) was a common man who was frustrated with corruption and injustice, Dombivli Return’s Anant Velankar is a man who gets a taste of power. “It’s a psychological thriller. If I have to sum it up in one line, it would probably be ‘you get to know the true character of a man, when you bestow power on him’,” says Kulkarni, whose production house Kathakaar Entertainment is backing the project, with Mahendra Teredesai writing and directing it and Mahesh Taras producing it.
Perhaps the biggest difference between both the films is that while the film made in 2006 was in Marathi, Dombivli Return has been made in Hindi to appeal to a wider audience. “When we reached the scripting level, we realised that the canvas of the film was much bigger. Also, Madhav Apte was a typical Marathi common man, while Anant Velankar, although a Maharashtrian, can be a common man from anywhere in the country,” says Kulkarni, who showed the movie’s rough cut at an industry screening at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) at Goa this year.
And he’s happy to report that the industry did sit up and take note. “It was almost two and a half hours long but people sat through the entire screening. They were curious about it and eager to see the finished product,” he says. As for its release, Kulkarni says he needs all the help he can get. “I don’t have the infrastructure to release a Hindi film. It is pan India and requires a lot of money,” he adds.
Apart from Kulkarni, the film stars Rajeshwari Sachdev, Amol Parashar and Hrishikesh Joshi. “I wanted to take good actors, who could convey what the story required,” says the actor, who started his career from theatre, and then went on to do television and films, both in Hindi and Marathi. A good film, he believes, will do well despite the absence of big stars or big budgets.
“Even when we did Shwaas or Dombivli Fast, we were not sure how many people will want to watch films like these. But they did, and how! It’s the filmmakers who think that the audience will not watch films like these. Good films like Kai Po Che and Vicky Donor have worked. The only thing is that the audience need to be aware that such films exist,” he says. Awareness, and not marketing, Kulkarni believes, is the keyword. “There is hunger for entertainment but there is something called cerebral hunger as well. If there’s a good film, people will watch it,” he concludes.