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Marathi films ruling the roost

Shah Rukh Khan may have left no stone unturned to make sure his upcoming Eid release gets as many screens as possible. But even the star had to recently bow out to director Sanjay Jadhav’s recent release Duniyadari that seems to be the toast of the town right now across single screens. 

Even Rajiv Patil’s forthcoming 72 Miles Ek Pravas (albeit co-produced by Akshay Kumar) is the only film releasing on the coming Friday that will single-handedly take on Chennai Express for the week to come. And this once again brings to our notice a handful of Marathi films that are gems in their own rights. Some of them, promoted well or otherwise, had the potential to give their Bollywood counterparts a run for their money.

Shwaas
Shwaas (2004)

Director: Sandeep Sawant
Storyline: The movie that set the ball rolling in Marathi cinema’s favour last decade, was also based on real-life events. It follows a grandfather and his attempt at showing his grandson “the world around” before he loses his sight forever.
Honours: National Film Award for Best Feature Film, India’s official entry to Oscars.

Dombivali Fast
Dombivali Fast (2005)

Director: Nishikanth Kamath
Storyline: There’s a price you pay when you try too hard to correct some of the wrongs. Something the protagonist in this film does too. A fast-paced film, just like its title suggests, it brings to light the dark side of the city and a man’s drive to keep it clean.
Honours: A commercial success, the film was later remade in Tamil as well.

Tingya
Tingya (2008)

Director: Mangesh Hadawale
Storyline: The rural-based movie concentrates on a little innocent boy and the love he has for his bull. The story throws light on the daily challenges too by the farmers in Maharashtra.
Honours: Sharad Geokar won the National Film Award for Best Child Artiste.

Harishchandrachi Factory
Harishchandrachi Factory (2009)
Director: Paresh Mokashi
Storyline: As a homage to the very founder of Indian cinema - Dadasaheb Phalke - the film revolves around his struggle to keep his passion for filmmaking alive despite several obstacles.
Honours: India’s official entry to the Academy Award.

Vihir
Vihir (2009)
Director: Umesh Kulkarni
Storyline: Vihir is a heart-wrenching tale about friendship between two young boys. And it also subtly touches a chord with the insignificance of death and the endless possibilities of keeping a memory alive.
Honours: Screened at international film festivals including Berlin, Rotterdam, Warsaw and Pusan.

Jogwa
Jogwa (2009)

Director: Rajiv Patil
Storyline: Unlike the title, which refers to charity, the film is quite au contraire as it deals with the gross abuse of faith. Highlighting the societal ills of the past, it focuses on an inspiring woman and her struggle to break free from the shackles of discrimination and sexual oppression.
Honours: National Awards in five different categories.

Me Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy
Me Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy (2009)
Director: Santosh Manjrekar
Storyline: Much relevant to current times, this film jostles its audiences by showing how prejudiced a common man could be under the garb of regionalism. Interestingly, the fabled Shivaji Maharaj himself is reckoned by the plot to conclude on a fair scale.
Honours: First Marathi film to gross over R 25 crore.

Zenda
Zenda (2010)

Director: Avdhoot Gupte
Storyline: A rather very brave - controversial too - attempt at depicting politics the way it is. This particular movie showcased the animosity that political differences can create not only between enemies but also between friends.
Honours: In the first quarter of 2010, it managed to outclass several Bollywood releases at the box office.

Natarang
Natarang (2010)

Director: Ravi Jadhav
Storyline: Set in the 1970s, a bold film that depicts the journey of a young artiste in overcoming hurdles in pursuit of artistic passions. As the story progresses, several issues like gender bias are effectively tackled.
Honours: A commercial success, it was the only Indian film to be selected in the Above the Cut category at MAMI.


Shikshanachya Aaicha Gho
Shikshanachya Aaicha Gho (2010)

Director: Mahesh Manjrekar
Storyline: Unlike its controversial title, the film quite literally attack the education system. The young protagonist wants to have a career as a sportsman but his dad doesn’t share his zeal for cricket.
Honours: A bumper hit, the film was later remade in Tamil, Telugu and Bengali.

Deool
Deool (2011)

Director: Umesh Kulkarni
Storyline: Starring Nana Patekar and Sonali Kulkarni in the leading roles - and marking Naseeruddin Shah’s Marathi film debut - the film lays bare the effect of globalisation on smaller towns in the country and the terrible state of Indian villages with a political back-drop.
Honours: Won three National Awards including the Best Film.

Shaala
Shaala (2012)

Director: Sujay Dahake
Storyline: Set in the ’70s, Shala is about four young kids each hailing from varying background but almost facing similar problems. Friendship, love, innocence, family and loneliness are some of the themes the film brilliantly explores.
Honours: National Award for Best Feature Film in Marathi.

Anumati
Anumati (2013)

Director: Gajendra Ahire
Storyline: Starring Vikram Gokhale and Reema Lagoo in the leading roles, Anumati is a heartwarming story about love and understanding between an elderly couple. To add to the pathos, the husband is about to lose his wife and adjust to life without her.
Honours: Gokhale won the National Award for Best Actor.

Kaksparsh
Kaksparsh (2012)

Director: Mahesh Manjrekar
Storyline: A period drama set in 1930s, the film starring Sachin Khedekar and Priya Bapat upsets the proverbial cart with a story yarned around an orthodox Brahmin community. In the meantime, many societal mores are challenged in its trials against modernity.
Honours: Commercial success along with critical acclaim.

Touring Talkies
Touring Talkies (2013)

Director: Gajendra Ahire
Storyline: About the dying world of artistes and workers involved in travelling tents and wheels, this peculiar film is a tribute to the love of cinema and art.
Honours: Perhaps first-of-its-kind story.

Ajoba
Urmila Matondkar in Ajoba

Coming soon
Some Marathi films to look forward to...
Shivaji Doltade’s Topiwale Kawade
Atmaram Dharne’s Govinda
Sujay Dahake’s Ajoba
Satish Rajwade’s Popat
Ajay Naik’s Lagna Pahave Karun
Pratik Kadam’s suspense-thriller Sutradhar

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