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To love someone is very difficult: Nagraj Manjule on Sairat

The celebrated filmmaker spoke about his inspiration to make the blockbuster at the Mumbai International Film Festival earlier this year.

Sonal Pandya

At the 16th edition of the Mumbai International Film Festival, filmmaker Nagraj Manjule screened his second short film, Pavsacha Nibandh. The Marathi film won the Silver Conch for Best Short Fiction Film 'for its evocation of a grim social reality through the metaphor of rain that transforms into an unwritten essay'. Manjule called the 26-minute film the 'toughest film' to make at a press conference because of the locale and time of year that he had to shoot the short in.

Naturally, questions later turned to his blockbuster, Sairat (2016), which was later remade in five different languages, including in Hindi as Dhadak (2018). Sairat, starring Rinku Rajguru and Akash Thosar, was released on 29 April four years ago. The romantic drama, filmed in Maharashtra, was the star-crossed love story of a 'lower-caste' boy and 'upper-caste' girl.

Asked what made him think of making Sairat, the filmmaker thought for a while, then replied, "It happens that anyone can fall in love. There comes an age when we feel the world is beautiful and we should be in love. But I came to know a time when in our country it is difficult to fall in love. If you hate, it is much easier.”

Nagraj Manjule at the MIFF 2020 press conference

“If you hit someone, curse them, be mean to them, that’s an easier thing,” he continued. “To love is harder. I had that in mind, that was my inspiration. When you like a girl, there are so many things in your mind, why do you like them, instead of that you don’t think, who is this girl, what is her caste, religion, or what will happen? If I say something, what will happen? If I say no, what will happen? Being in love also contains many hardships in itself. It’s a very strange thing.”

The filmmaker also observed the behaviours of societies in other countries compared to ours.

“When I had gone to London, I thought that [public] expression is so lovely here. Here, on the streets, someone will urinate, but they won’t embrace or kiss someone [in public]. If you kiss someone, [they] will go and hit [you]. But the person who urinates, no one says anything to them. We are strange people.

"I have been experiencing this from childhood that to love someone is very difficult. We cage in areas of right and wrong, so Sairat was there in mind. And if you fell in love, the outcome that will happen with you, that was also in [my] mind,” he added.

Manjule’s next film Jhund (2020), his debut in Hindi, stars Amitabh Bachchan as a football coach.

Related topics

Mumbai International Film Festival