For a while now, Marathi cinema has been witnessing a surge of thought-provoking films. This wave, which began with the recognition of the 2004 film Shwaas that was India’s official entry to the Oscars, was carried forward by Harishchandrachi Factory, Valu, Gabhricha Paus, Shaala and Deool, recently, which received great response and also bagged the 59th National Film Award for Best Feature Film. Nave Valan, which starts this Sunday, features six films: Kaksparsh, Dhag, Chintoo, Gajrachi Pungi, Masala and Deool.
“That Nave Valan in its fourth edition is still spoilt for choice, proves that Marathi cinema has not lost its creativity and courage,” says Deepa Gahlot, Head Programming (Theatre and Film), NCPA. The films that will be showcased this year are on a range of themes and subjects. Gajrachi Pungi is a comedy about a film unit’s visit to a village for shooting and Deool, which won three National Awards, showcases the commodification of religion. Chintoo traces the adventures of an eight-year old, while Dhag is about a young boy born in the family of crematorium caretakers who tries to break away.
Shivaji Patil, director of Dhag, feels that though Hindi films are bigger with bigger budgets, barring a few films, the content in most others is not new or different. “Marathi films are better in content but budgets are low. Today, many who don’t understand Marathi watch such films in theatres,” he says, adding that such festivals help the films attain a bigger reach.