Govt must help Marathi cinema through indirect subsidies – Nilesh Navalakha

Posted on Jan 12 2013 - 6:14am by Shailesh Narwade

Yogesh Soman’s Daandgi Mula, Sujay Dahake’s much-acclaimed Shala, Tejas Deoskar’s just-released Ajinkya, and Nagraj Manjule’s upcoming Fandri; these Marathi films have a few things in common. They are different from traditional Marathi films, have strong content and have been produced by Navalakha Arts, Media and Entertainments (NAME).

The production of such quality films has earned producer Nilesh Navalakha an invitation to attend a five-day Workshop for Film Producers at Rotterdam Film Festival in January-February 2013. Nilesh Navalakha talked to Rang Marathi on his experience of being a responsible producer of new-age Marathi films.

“I don’t want to make typecast films. There are many doing that in good numbers. I want to make content-rich and quality films and therefore I work with new filmmakers because they have fresh ideas and progressive approach to filmmaking. If we want Marathi cinema to get established as an industry, we constantly need to provide good films to the audience and create a good market,” Nilesh said.

Speaking on his selection of films, he said, “I’m very passionate about films and I love producing them, but I will never make one that harms my personal reputation. Hundreds of people come to me with their ideas, but I’m very selective about the content. I make sure my films don’t risk my credibility. I want to make such films that when they release, people should look at the entire unit with great respect,” Nilesh expressed.

The last Friday saw the release of Tejas Deoskar-directed Ajinkya starring Sandeep Kulkarni, Kadambari Kadam and Sarika Nilatkar. The film is based on the life of a basketball coach. Generally, a film on sports is seen as a big risk. “Ajinkya is not only on basketball, it’s also about the husband-wife relationship and the attitude towards the sports. Basically, Ajinkya has been produced by Sandeep Kewlani from Nagpur. We looked after its shooting in Pune,” Nilesh informed.

On his next project, Mr Navalakha said, “At the completion stage is Nagraj Manjule’s Fandri. When Nagraj narrated the story, I found it to be very different and immediately decided to produce the film. It’s a love-story having a rural backdrop. Nagraj has no background of films, but he is a very good poet and has good depth in his writing. Content-wise, Fandri is a very strong film and will certainly emerge as a milestone film in Marathi cinema,” Nilesh said with confidence. He added that they will decide on the film’s release after returning from the workshop in Rotterdam in February.

There are many producers, who make good films, but fail to get deserved response from the audience. Nilesh Navalakha said the government should act in a meaningful way to help such producers. “There should be dedicated cinema halls for Marathi films. Moreover, the State should create indirect subsidies to promote Marathi cinema. It can be anything like government providing passes of Marathi films to the State employees, or asking new industries and corporates to give such passes to their employees at least once a month. Giving money as subsidy is not enough, bringing people to cinema halls is important,” Nilesh suggested.

The young and passionate film producer is also coming up with a play in the next few weeks. He is also preparing to enter Bollywood very soon and has already shortlisted a couple of scripts. “I want to make socially-responsible and content-rich films. But considering the poor economics of Marathi cinema, I want to develop a feasible and sustainable business model in the form of Navalakha Arts, Media & Entertainments. Making money from films is very important if we want to make more films and take them to the global platform. That’s why I’m going to attend the workshop at Rotterdam Film Festival to learn the commerce of cinema,” Nilesh Navalakha said.