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IFFI 2017: Marathi cinema yet to find balance between content and commerce, says Prasad Oak


The well-known actor and first-time director also spoke of the importance of keeping theatres alive and not getting carried away with online streaming platforms.

Prasad Oak and Deepak Gawade at a press conference in Goa. Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Sukhpreet Kahlon

Marathi cinema is well represented at the 48th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) with several Marathi films being screened at the Indian Panorama. The ‘meet the directors’ press conference featured Marathi actor Prasad Oak, whose directorial debut Kaccha Limbu (2017) was also screened at the festival. He was accompanied by National award-winning filmmaker Deepak Gawade whose film Idak: The Goat (2017) was also screened. 

At the conference, Gawade said he was overwhelmed by the selection of his film for the festival and the response it had received. “The film is a journey about wisdom, about the sweet bond between a man and his goat,” he said, revealing that the title is a self-coined word which is the animal's name in the film.

Echoing Gawade, Oak said, “This is a very proud moment for Team Kaccha Limbu. This is my directorial debut and I am very happy that IFFI gave us the chance to participate.”

He also spoke about the representation of Marathi cinema at the festival: “I'm very happy because there are nine Marathi films in the festival this year. Amongst all the nine films, only Kaccha Limbu was selected for the competition section.”

Talking about the theme of his film, he said, “Kaccha Limbu deals with a problem of special parents. I feel the problem of special parents is more important than that of the special child…They just need love.” 

Speaking of the growth and popularity of regional cinema, Gawade said, “Content is still alive and people come to watch good content. We are proud that even internationally good content is appreciated and producers are supporting such content.” Oak agreed: “Content and performance will ensure viewers.”

The filmmakers also addressed the fact that though the content of Marathi cinema has been improving, commercial success continues to elude many good films. Oak said Marathi cinema is yet to find the balance between good content and commercial sensibility. Gawade agreed, saying it was necessary for producers to recover their money so that they could reinvest in future projects.

The filmmakers also expressed concern over the current system of distribution of Marathi films, saying the process needs to be streamlined so that Marathi films do not get crowded and compete for the same limited spots, ultimately losing out on business.

Oak also spoke of online film viewing and said while it was good for streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon to make films available, it was nonetheless important to not ignore theatres. “We have to keep theatres alive because the audience watching films online is very different from those going to the theatres,” he said.

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