Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Natrang : Another step in the right direction for Marathi cinema !!...

Till about a few years back, Marathi cinema was, to put it bluntly in a word, dying. Of the little movies that were made, most were of the slap-stick comedy variety and the very few different films that were made suffered due to lack of publicity. The Marathi public had generally shown their back to Marathi cinema, resulting in the chicken-and-egg problem of low audience, reduced number of screenings leading to still lower audiences (not to mention the advent of the multiplex, we middle-class Maharashtrians are thrifty when it comes to spending 100+ bucks in a mutliplex :-)). Till 2004, only one Marathi movie had won the Golden Lotus at the National Awards, and that was way back in 1954 ('Shyaam chi Aai') !!

Things probably began to change in 2003. Then 'Shwaas' happened. It won the Golden Lotus award and then went to the Oscars. And the publicity it gained on account of this led to a revival of interest in Marathi cinema. And most importantly, the money started coming in. Theaters like Plaza and Bharatmata (bastions of Marathi cinema) came back from near extinction (in fact, there is a movement to save Bharatmata from being razed down to make way for a multiplex). Along with the money came the publicity. Simultaneously, channels like Zee Marathi, E TV etc started becoming popular, creating a vital publicity medium for new releases. New talent came in (e.g. composers like Ajay-Atul), bringing with them new ideas. No longer were Marathi movies only about wise-cracks. Then recently came two breakthroughs: 'Harishchandra chi Factory' became India's entry to the Oscars and last week, Marathi cinema bagged five awards at the National Film festival, including best actor for Upendra Limaye.

To add to this feeling of optimism is 'Natrang', the very first Marathi release this decade. And it has been a spectacular success (going by the full houses at multiplexes past Sunday, when I saw the movie). Will post a review of the movie soon, but for now, suffices to say that if this continues, there is no reason for Marathi cinema not to regain its glory days (V Shantaram, Prabhat Movies etc) and claim its place besides Bengali and the movies from the South as one of India's premier movie industry. Way to go !!

Check out ... an informative and comprehensive look at today's Marathi movie industry.


1 comment:

Harshada said...

totally agree with you - Natrang is a pre-cursor to what lies ahead this year.
Zee Marathi first revolutionised the television netword and Zee Talkies is all set to do it for the 70mm screen!