Bandookya, one of the controversial Marathi films of the year, is finally releasing on Friday 1 September 2017 in 100-plus screens across Maharashtra. Among the many reasons that the film has been in news is, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had demanded 68 cuts to issue certificate to the film. Thankfully, it was not slaughtered that way.
Bandookya features Shashank Shende, Atisha Naik, Namdeo Murkute, Nilesh Borse, Amol Bagul, Tanmayi Chavanke and other actors. The film has been produced by Rajendra Borse and Pratibha Borse. The film has lyrics by Guru Thakur and Namdeo Murkute, and music composed by Parikshit Bhatkhande. Its cinematography has been done by Krishna Kumar Soren while Nitesh Rathod has edited the film.
Writer-director Rahul Manohar Chaudhari, in an exclusive interview to RangMarathi, tells about Bandookya’s journey from a short story to the silver screen.
Congratulations! Very few films manage to garner this much buzz before release. Tell us about this journey from the beginning?
It all started more than three years back when I came across this short story by Prof Ramnath Chavan. I told him that this story is very important and that it should be told in other forms also. Then, I myself adapted it into a one-act play and later into a full-fledged play. We staged a few shows but it was not giving me satisfaction. So we stopped the shows and I started developing its screenplay. In the process, I noticed that it was working. Things were falling in place. I used the junnar language to keep it raw. And the day I completed the screenplay, I was convinced that film was the right canvass for this Bandookya.
When I approached Shashank Shende for his role, he was worried about the abusive language in the script. He warned me that I was taking a risk as he was afraid that the CBFC would never clear the film. And, indeed, the CBFC demanded 68 cuts in the film. But we convinced them that that is how the particular community speaks and lives. We succeeded in our efforts as the film was cleared with only 16 cuts.
Weren’t you worried about the business when you decided to take up this non-commercial project?
I think this is a commercial project. I’ve made a very entertaining film. I was very passionate about telling this story to the world, and I did it in the best way possible.
What happens is, when we promote our films, we focus on the stars or the actors. We don’t highlight the content. In Bandookya, content is the hero. And that’s why we are focusing more on it while promoting the film. I want people to come and see as what I have done as a director.
And if we see the trend in the last five-seven years, audiences have always supported and appreciated good content. I hope this happens with my film also.
How was the experience of working with so many new actors?
Almost 60% of the cast of Bandookya is of new actors. I wanted most of them to be fresher for the realistic look of the film. We held workshop for around three months to make sure that all the actors are well-versed in the language. I got a few actors from my acting institute itself. And I’m very satisfied with what all the actors have given to the film.
Bandookya has got ‘A’ certificate from the CBFC. Do you think it will affect the business adversely?
I would have been very happy to receive the ‘A’ certificate had we shown even 25% of what the television serials are showing to women and children in our homes. But that is not the case. There is no nudity, no violence or communal remarks in Bandookya. Still it was given ‘A’ certificate despite so many cuts.
Anyways, our producers were prepared for this and there is no issue as such. The film was nominated for six awards and won four of them in the 54th Maharashtra State awards. It is like winning the National Award at the regional level. It also won Best Story award at Sakaal Premiere awards. And wherever we are going to promote the film, 50% of audiences there are already waiting for the film.
What do you think the audiences will taking with them while leaving the cinema halls?
Bandookya is a two-hour entertaining film. People will like its picturisation and the way I told the story. Bandookya will compel people to think as how some communities are living or are forced to live in pathetic conditions and traditions even today. I think that is very important.