The New Wave of Marathi Cinema.
written by Souranath Banerjee
The New Wave of Marathi Cinema is right here right now, exploding this instant, getting more ingenious and innovational every year – but first, let’s get back to the time when it all started!
Flashback. It was in 1913 when a man from Trymbakeshwar (Nasik) called Dhundiraj Govind Phalke (popularly known as Dadasaheb Phalke) made the first ever Indian Cinema, a short film named Raja Harishchandra!
Yes, it was a silent film but still essentially a Marathi one, since all the actors and the director himself were from Maharashtra; and then the screenplay, the prologue in the beginning of the movie and even the explaining of the plot details are all in Marathi!
Then followed a number of interesting films including a famous classic biography called Sant Tukaram (1936), directed by the famous director-duo Vishnupant Govind Damle and Sheikh Fattelal.
And over the years there were many acclaimed Marathi directors who made cinema that won the heart of both the audience and the critics across the country. The likes of –
Shyamchi Aai (1953) and Mahatma Phule (1954) by director Pralhad Keshav Atre.
Me Tulas Tujhya Angani (1960), Rangalya Ratree Ashya (1962), Ektee (1968) and Mumbaicha Jawai (1970) by director Raja Thakur.
Samna (1975), Jait Re Jait (1977), Umbartha (1982) and Ek Hota Vidushak (1992) by director Jabbar Patel.
And then there were the entertaining Blockbuster hits like Maherchi Sadi (1991) and the popular horror flick Zapatlela (1993); and a few commercial comedy films like Pandu Hawaldar (1975), Ashi Hi Banwa Banwi (1988) and Dhum Dhadaka (1985).
But the sign of the upcoming New Wave of Marathi Cinema came with the release of films like Kalat Nakalat (1990), Bangarwadi (1995), Not Only Mrs. Raut (2003), Saatchya Aat Gharat (2004) and Dombivli Fast (2005).
Yes, the time has come for experimental, off-beat, innovative, new-generation Marathi Cinema, and here is the list of the best Marathi films of the last decade or so.
10. Shwaas (2004)
Film clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlg5yScPQ18
A six year old village boy goes to the city (Pune) along with his grandfather for the treatment of his eyes. But the doctor have some tragic news for them.
Directed by Sandeep Sawant, this is a film based on the emotions of a brilliantly touching grandparent – child relationship.
Such powerful performances – a film that will surely wrench your heart to it’s limit.
9. Harishchandrachi Factory (2009)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPvvMbXLfpA
Dadasaheb Phalke aka Dhundiraj Govind Phalke made the first cinema in India – a silent, black and white film in 1913 known as Raja Harishchandra.
Directed by Paresh Mokashi, this is the biopic on Mr.Phalke who was a visionary, an artist, a film maker and an entrepreneur, and this particular film is about his adventurous endeavours towards making the first ever film of India.
8. Natarang (2010)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWzxFgP2f8g
Maharashtra has a rich tradition of theatre and thus when acclaimed director Ravi Jadhav did finally make a film based on the brilliance of Marathi theatre it was undoubtedly one of the most successful regional films of the year.
The film worked both commercially as well as artistically; a visual treat brilliantly supported by the music of the talented composer duo Ajay Atul.
Atul Kulkarni was nominated for Best Performance By An Actor in the prestigious Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2010 for this film!
A few other Marathi films from the same director are Sound of Heaven: The Story of Balgandharva (2011) and Balak Palak (2012).
7. Deool (2011)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfzctPCpb2A
An innocent villager claims the arrival of God in his village!
Initially ignored by all but soon the rumour starts to spread and businessmen and politicians doesn’t seem to miss this opportunity to cash in on people’s faith and belief.
Directed by Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni, written and brilliantly performed by Girish Kulkarni, a must watch indeed.
6. Shala (2011)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IFxDCci564
A marvellous take on young hearts, school romance, the nostalgic moments of having an infatuation or a crush on somebody, the innocence of experiencing love for the first time – and all that combined together!
Directed by Sujay Dahake, this is one film that creates the magic of that divine first love – so pure and blissful. Superb performances by the child actors – a must watch.
5. Killa (2014)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ORlbsJLJuQ
A coming-of-age film based on a young boy who arrives at a new place along with his single mother and is forced to adapt to a new village/school environment.
Subtle yet cinematic, mature believable performances and great story telling.
Directed by well known Bollywood cinematographer Avinash Arun – a superb directorial debut.
4. Dr. Prakash Baba Amte: The Real Hero (2014)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnqioO1v8fs
A well crafted biography made on the Dr.Prakash Baba Amte and his wife Manadakini, who has given their entire life for the welfare of others (for humans and animals).
Well directed by Samrouddhi Porey, and tremendous performances by Nana Patekar and Sonali Kulkarni, the film not only touched the important aspects of Amte’s life but also has stressed the emotional moments with enough dignity.
3. Katyar Kaljat Ghusali (2015)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iTazEogwiY
When two musical dynasties fight for supremacy there can be only one winner – Music itself!
Directed by Subodh Bhave, this is an unique musical (based on a play by the same name) that has a string of brilliant songs and powerful story telling!
Shankar Mahadevan and Sachin Pilgaonkar are the spine of the film – superb performances!
2. Natsamrat (2016)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bp1Hv_-hLUY
Directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, this one is an emotional
story of an aged couple who has become a nuisance to their own children, a mere botheration and a reason of embarrassment in their modern lifestyle.
An unique blend of Theatre and Cinema – Nana Patekar with one of his best performances ever!
A few other Marathi films from the same director are Kaksparsh (2012) and Astitva (2000).
- Sairat (2016)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMrMKnoYWwA
The story of Romeo and Juliet, Laila and Majnu, Heer and Ranjha – retold and rediscovered with the backdrop being somewhere in the interior of Maharashtra!
A fisherman’s son and a local politician’s daughter fall in love and dare to defy their families and caste barriers.
Directed by Nagraj Manjule, this is one of the best films I have seen in recent times!
Another Marathi film from the same director Fandry (2013).
and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch)
+1. Court (2014)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sc8z7zav9A
Directed by Chaitanya Tamhane, a Marathi film that won the National Award (Golden Lotus Award) in the Best Feature Film category and innumerable prestigious International awards as well.
A court-room drama that revolves around folk-singer Narayan Kamble’s unique prosecution – a script deliberately underplayed and yet so effective to it’s purpose!
A few other Marathi films that have made their marks within these recent years Mee Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy (2009), Jogwa (2009), Mumbai Pune Mumbai (2010), Yellow (2014), Time Pass (2014), Elizabeth Ekadashi (2014), Rege (2014), Double Seat (2015).
Poster courtesy: www.marathifilm.in, marathistars.com.