Non-Marathi audience have started watching Marathi films – Amol Parchure
With over sixteen years of experience as a television journalist, Amol Parchure has worked with some of the top media houses in the country. He is also the recipient of the News and Television Award for Best Film Critic 2012 who is known for the popular review show Box Office on IBN Lokmat. Parchure also hosts Popcorn Pe Charcha – the first Marathi review and interview show for the web.
With such credits to his name, Amol is the apt choice to curate Marathi Talkies, the first ever section dedicated to Marathi cinema at the Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star. Parchure who hopes that this representation of films will help in promoting Marathi Cinema tells us more about his selection of films.
How important is it to have an entire section dedicated to Marathi cinema on a platform like MAMI?
There are so many Marathi movies that don’t get promoted well. They don’t get DVD releases or satellite premieres. All the films that are a part of Marathi Talkies were released 3-4 years ago. But they didn’t manage to get the right promotions or clashed with big Hindi releases. Films like Sairat, Killa or Court have gone to various film festivals and most of them even have satellite rights. They’ll air on TV channels and people will be able to watch them. But since films like Vakratunda Mahakaaya, Bioscope and Rajwade & Sons are not available anywhere, we thought that it is very important to promote them.
We initially thought of organizing panel discussions after the screenings but then it occurred to us that the audience who come to MAMI already have a lot to of discussions to attend. So, we thought of keeping a premiere of a forthcoming movie. And that is why we selected Ventilator.
People generally think of Marathi cinema to be rural or festival cinema. Marathi Talkies is going to play an important role in changing this perception. We have deliberately selected urban Marathi movies for the screenings because festivals mostly have films showcasing rural backdrops. These films will give people a glimpse of the diversity of Marathi cinema.
Could you tell us more about the criteria of shortlisting these films?
We wanted films with urban sentiments. Secondly, we wanted films that were not available anywhere. And of course including good films was the priority.
The last few years have seen Marathi cinema generating very impressive content. What has led to this growth and innovation in content?
Ever since the release of Natrang in 2010, there has been an innovation in the content. The subjects of stories have become fresh. A lot of new directors and actors have come up and they’ve received a good platform.
But if you ask me if there has been a huge growth business wise, then I would say, ‘Not really’. Around 100 Marathi films are released in a year but only one or two movies do good business. Other movies are often in the loss. So there is not much growth in the box office collections.
In the past few years, there is a wall that has come up, where on the one side there are festival movies and on the other, commercial films. We need to achieve a balance like Natrang or Balak Palak have done.
This idea of balance happened only after 2010. So we have selected films which showcase that good commercial movies can also have good content. For instance films such as NH10 or Pink were both critically and commercially appreciated. This trend is slowly being seen in Marathi cinema too. That is the reason why we have started Marathi Talkies.
With Priyanka Chopra producing and backing Ventilator, how important do you think is to get noted names from the industry to support and boost Marathi films. Is it a helpful step?
Definitely. Amitabh Bachchan had also produced a film called Vihir. So this trend (known names backing Marathi films) has been there since then. This really helps the film because celebrities like Priyanka Chopra have many followers on social media. If they put up even one single post, it reaches a lot of people. For instance, during the release of Balak Palak, Ritiesh Deshmukh organized a special screening for his co-stars and celebrities. A lot of known names came for the film and also tweeted about it. We saw a drastic difference in the collections post this initiative. This also helps attract non-Marathi audience.
We have recently noticed that non-Marathi audience have started watching Marathi films because of subtitles. Names like Killa, Harishchandrachi Factory, Sairaat, etc. are popular among this audience. Last year Eros also produced four-five films in Marathi. All this really helps boost Marathi cinema.