‘Multiplexes have played a role not just in Marathi cinema but also many other films’ – Amol Palekar

After Daayraa in 1996 and Anaahat in 2003, Thaang is your third in the trilogy, which also deals with a man-woman relationship. Can you elaborate on the theme of the movie?

Thaang is a story about a Maharashtrian couple Sai and Aditya. Sai is a lawyer in Mumbai high court and Aditya is a chef in a five star hotel. Both have highly demanding professional lives.


The film deals with multilayered issues. It dwells on what happens to Sai when she finds out that Adi is involved in a homosexual relationship. If there was a woman in his life would this be more acceptable? The movie focuses on how Sai copes with the situation in today’s high paced city life and how her life has to move on. At the end of the day, she cannot afford to leave everything aside and deal with one problem, however big it may seem.


You have made this film in English as well and titled it Quest. What prompted you to make this film in two languages?

Thaang in Marathi is titled Quest in English. They are two independent films that have been shot twice with the same cast.


I had started off with the thought of making it in Marathi but before making the film we had our wine tasting sessions wherein we read out the script to different types of people to get clarity.


The feedback on one aspect was unanimous that I should make the film in English. The views that I got were that subject of the film was universal and it dealt with a contemporary issue and hence I shouldn’t make in Marathi only and limit its appeal.


I also felt that I should take the film beyond the state boundaries and the decision for not making it in Marathi initially was not a choice I made due to my commitment to regional cinema.


What is the revenue model for a film made in Marathi and English?

I don’t know if there are any models. Rather, I think there are no models. However, commercial viability is a necessity.


My last Marathi film Anaahat was the first Marathi film, which opened the avenues of multiplexes for Marathi cinema. The film ran for 60 weeks. Quest has been made in English and Marathi keeping in mind the commercial viability.


It is not necessary to look up to one model perpetuated by mainstream Hindi cinema. It is indeed a successful model but I want to explore other ways with every film that I make.


How has the boom of multiplexes played a role in Marathi cinema?

Multiplexes have played a role not just in Marathi cinema but also many other films. I came across a person doing research on a topic who told me that last year more than 70 films saw a release due to the multiplexes. Multiplexes offer the film maker and the audience a wider choice.


During the 70’s and 80’s, which was the era of parallel cinema, theatres like Akashwani, Lotus and Opera House showed Basu Chatterjee, Shyam Benegal and M S Satyu films to packed houses. However, after that it stopped. Now with the advent of multiplexes, that era has started again. The multiplexes today are like the Opera Houses of yesteryears for parallel cinema.


Until a few years back Marathi Cinema did not receive much acclaim as it does today. When do you think the turning point for Marathi cinema came about?

Before the lean phase of Marathi cinema, there was also a phase wherein people like V Shantaram, Master Vinayak and Raja Paranjpe gave absolute glorious cinema and Indian cinema is very proud of that phase. Then gradually it declined and until a few years back Marathi cinema was in absolute doldrums.


It’s a circle of life and now it has again shot to limelight. It was with Anaahat in 2003 that multiplexes opened their doors to Marathi cinema and then it was Shwaas in 2004 that created waves. Younger directors these days are also coming up with different subjects and films that are truly Marathi.


Where do you plan to target Quest and Thaang?

Quest and Thaang will release simultaneously on 29 September in Pune and Mumbai. After which Thaang will be showcased in various parts of Maharashtra. Quest will then be shown in cities like Delhi, Calcutta, Bangalore and Chennai till around December.


I am also planning to release the film overseas. In fact, the world premiere of the film took place on 5 August at the Brisbane Film Festival and the response for the film was excellent.


Over the year, how have you seen cinema change in terms of technology, business and audience?

Technically we are making far more superior films today. In that sense our cinema has definitely improved.


It has also grown immensely in terms of monies involved. The buying power of the audience has also grown immensely. It’s a happy feeling that everything seems to be looking up now in Indian cinema.

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Rohini Bhandari

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