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A milestone for Indian indie cinema, says Chaitanya Tamhane of The Disciple's premiere at Venice

This will be the young filmmaker's second visit to the festival. His directorial debut Court (2015) was adjudged Best Film in the Orizzonti section and awarded Lion of the Future in 2014.

Chaitanya Tamhane

Keyur Seta

Chaitanya Tamhane’s Marathi film The Disciple will have its world premiere at the 77th Venice International Film Festival in the main Competition section.

An official release from the film’s publicist said the last Indian film to receive this honour was Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding (2001), almost two decades ago. Monsoon Wedding won the Golden Lion that year.

This will be Tamhane’s third visit to the festival. His previous film Court (2015), which was also his debut, had won the Best Film in the Orizzonti section at the festival in 2014. It was also chosen for the Lion of the Future award.

Tamhane was also a member of the jury for the Orizzonti section at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival in 2016.

Reacting to the selection of The Disciple at Venice, Tamhane said in a statement, “Over the last 76 years, the competition in Venice has showcased some of the absolute best films in cinema history. It is an overwhelming feeling to know that The Disciple has been selected for this honour. I want to thank the Venice festival for showing this faith in my work once again after Court.”

A still from The Disciple

The filmmaker believes this is also an honour for the country. “This is an important milestone not just for us but also for the Indian independent cinema movement,” Tamhane said. “I feel blessed to have a producer like Vivek Gomber, who has supported and enabled my vision with unconditional faith and the best of resources.”

Producer Gomber echoed these sentiments. “This is a historic moment for the Indian film fraternity as it has been a while since we had a film competing for the Golden Lion. I hope this puts the global spotlight on our Indian film fraternity and makes it easier for new voices in our country to get a chance to follow their paths and dreams,” he said.

The Disciple is about a man named Sharad Nerulkar who has dedicated his life to music to become an Indian classical vocalist like his father. The film is about his journey where he makes his way through the hallowed mysteries and rituals of past musical legends.

Vivek Gomber

Sharing the experience of making the film, Tamhane said, “The Disciple has been a true labour of love. Collectively we poured every ounce of energy, effort and love into it over the last four years. It has been a beautiful collaboration and I’m thankful to all of the film’s extremely dedicated actors and the entire crew. I am relieved and happy that it has found such a great start for its journey even in these tough times.” 

Apart from producing Court, Gomber had played a pivotal role as a lawyer in the film. He is not acting in The Disciple, however.

Speaking of his association with Tamhane over the years, Gomber said, “I feel very fortunate to have someone like Chaitanya that I get to collaborate and create with. We started with a play back in 2008 and here we are with our second film.

"The joy of working with him and making movies has been a great tool for me to survive and relate with the world around me. It satisfies my hunger and keeps me going. I hope we get to collaborate again soon.”

Related topics

Venice International Film Festival