Mumbai, March 17
Take a straw poll and Aamir Khan would top as the most dazzling debut director in recent times and his Taare Zameen Par’s child actor Darsheel Safary as the most delightful find. These two darlings of film lovers faced a stiff competition, along with Shah Rukh Khan and his Chak De girls, during the 10th MAMI International Film Festival from Tingya director Mangesh Hadawale and Sharad Goekar, the Marathi film’s child hero.
The 27-year-old Hadawale emerged winner with Tingya bagging the Best Film award in the Indian competition section and the critic’s award in the international category. What makes the victory of a meagre Rs 24 lakh-project unconventional is its storyline—a tale of debt-ridden farmer family’s love for their bull. When the family is forced to sell the bull to the local butcher to pay off their loan after a dismal potato crop, nine-year-old Sharad tries to save the animal.
Despite the grim subject, the film exudes rural charm and innocence. And according to Israeli director Dan Wolman, head of the competition’s jury, “the film’s humane appeal” made them select it as the best film.
About the selection of his subject, Junnar-bred Hadawale says: “I was aware of frequent farmer suicides in Vidarbha. But I was disturbed when someone, who had taught me how to ride a bicycle, ended his life as he couldn’t pay his daughter’s engineering fees due to debt.”
The journey of the film, set and shot in Pune district’s Junnar taluka, has been as interesting as its director’s. Hadawale wrote the script, which borrows generously from his life, in 2003, but finding a producer took him two years. “Making the film seemed a reality only on my 42nd visit to a producer, when Ravi Rai, head of Small Town Boy Productions, loved the story,” says Hadawale.
The shooting was wrapped up in a 16-day schedule in Kopre Mandave, a leopard zone, with most of the cast comprising local villagers.
The film, which was finally ready in 2007, has done the rounds of various festivals—earning more than three times its production cost. More financial gains are on the way as the film, distributed by Parvez Damania and Azam Khan, releases on April 11. Before that, a special screening is organised at Cinemax, Versova, on March 19 to celebrate its success.
A career in films was unimaginable for the young director, who after passing class 10 with 37 per cent marks, was planning to help a relative sell vegetables. It’s only after stumbling into Lalit Kala Kendra, Pune, to get a degree in theatre that he came in touch with the vast world of cinema and started dreaming.
Now that he has tasted success, he is eager to go behind the camera soon for his next project, Hindi film Package India. And this time he dreams an even bigger production, shooting in