"I hope Indian audiences mature a bit more"

Pune 52, which is slated to release in select cities with English subtitles on January 18 is also part of the Pune International Film Festival. The Guide spoke to Nikhil Mahajan, the young director of the film about Pune 52, Marathi cinema as a whole and the challenges faced by the industry

(L-R) Director Nikhil Mahajan and cinematographer Jeremy Reagan

About the name, Pune 52
Till 1992, there were pin codes in Pune only till 30, but after globalisation the city increased and so the pin codes went on till 52 so I kept the name Pune 52. Since 1992, the reforms changed the economy and suddenly people became money-minded. People from other cities started coming here and people from Pune shifted to other cities. The movie is about a couple and their conflict.

A still from the film

Behind the scenes
The movie portrays the city in a different time and age as it follows the life of a private detective living in Pune in the early 1990s. It features Girish Kulkarni, Sonali Kulkarni, Sai Tamhankar and Bharti Achrekar among others. The main challenge while shooting the movie was to recreate the city, as it was two decades back. The film team had to spend a considerable amount of time on streets and research.

Working with an international team
Cinematographer Jeremy Reagan has worked on Pune 52, which is Reagan’s first Indian project. Before this he has worked in Canada, Japan, Korea, England, New Zealand and Australia on short films, music videos and documentaries. The main motive was to make a good film.

Difference between international and Indian film direction schools
The only difference I felt between the International film school in Sydney and schools here is that I came to know about a lot of new things that are done in international cinema in Sydney. You get a chance to meet people from different countries and learn from them. There is greater exposure abroad.

International presence of Marathi movies
I don’t feel that the presence is less; it is increasing now as movies are being screened at international competitions as well. The number of good movies coming up is less but I still feel that there are certain good movies that meet international standards.

Audiences are getting matured?
I really hope that audiences in our country mature a bit more and learn to appreciate good movies. That does not mean that commercial films should not be made, but alternate films need appreciation too.

Tips to become a good director
Keep watching movies and be ready to work hard. The atmosphere is full of negativity but you have to think positive and convince yourself that you are good. There is a lot of competition in this field and a lot of good people are coming in, one has to be determined and think positive to succeed in this field.

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