As one of India’s top designers, Vikram Phadnis has achieved great heights in the field of fashion. Not only has he spun brilliant creations on the ramp but has also designed memorable costumes for various Bollywood films. The talented designer has now added a new feather in his cap by stepping into the shoes of a director, to narrate a story that is close to his heart.

Phadnis made his directional debut with the Marathi film, Hrudayantar, a story about a family that comes together during difficult times and celebrates life. The intensely emotional film struck a chord with viewers all over the country. And now the movie is all to set to reach out to a globe audience as it heads to the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2017.

Ahead of the festival, we speak to the ecstatic director who reveals his purpose behind making this film, how he would love to explore more international festivals and the tremendous growth of Marathi cinema.

Vikram Phadnis

Vikram Phadnis

You’re one of the most prominent fashion designers of the country, was it difficult to don the hat of a director?

Initially yes, it was difficult. Getting the project together is more difficult than running the project. Once the movie takes off, it becomes easier to handle things. Putting my own project together took me a couple of years, but once the ball started rolling in December 2016, everything just fell into place beautifully. Though it was tough in the beginning, but once you get into the mould of things, it all works out fine.

How was the experience of being on the sets of a film as a director?

It was a lovely experience to be the director on a movie set. You see cinema from a different point of view and not from a costume designer’s perspective. You are the captain of the ship; you are the one who is calling the shots as it is your story. The project is your baby, but it is your job to keep a unit of 200 people happy at all times. There is a lot that you learn in the process of making the film, but it is a lovely and beautiful experience.

The challenges that we faced were essentially during the initial stages of filming. Tackling questions about raising funds for the movie and similar questions were challenging. But once all that was taken care of, making the film was just a beautiful experience.

Hrudayantar is an emotional and intense film, what about the subject drew you to make it your debut film?

I didn’t want to do something that was elaborate or glamorous. People expect you to do that because you come from the medium of fashion. But I wanted to tell a story, and the key element was to present an emotional story where there was no concept of fashion, dance etc. Everybody did ask me this question, but the fact is that as a director, I wanted to solely tell a story and that is why I made Hrudayantar.

With the fantastic growth in Marathi cinema, as a director, where do you see this industry headed in the coming years?

I think it is going to grow from strength to strength and will keep getting bigger in the future. There is so much scope; the sky is the limit. Marathi cinema has great visibility in today’s time. The audience has become curious about cinema. I had a cosmopolitan crowd coming to see Hrudayantar. It was not only the audience that understands Marathi, but a diverse audience, which was really great.

Vikram Phadnis with the team of Hrudayantar

The film is going to be screened at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2017, what would you say is the importance of such platforms, particularly for regional cinema?

A festival like this is extremely important. There is a great amount of visibility and exposure as well. The platform is so big and the reach is wide. As a filmmaker, you get so much of confidence. You receive a lot of moral support and it feels fabulous to be a part of the festival.

Do you see the global audience being able to connect with the subject matter of the film? Are you’ll planning to take Hrudayantar to other festivals as well?

I definitely hope so, as this is my first film festival. I am hoping that the response is great and that people like the film, like they did in India. The movie will also be going to the Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival.