Article Marathi

Opinion: Jhund and the collective silence of Marathi filmdom


What holds the leading lights of the industry back from at least a polite congratulatory message?

Editorial Board

Silence is often more eloquent than words. Even as one of the best contemporary Marathi filmmakers is set to enter the much larger Hindi space with a movie led by one of the biggest stars India has produced, there is complete radio silence from his colleagues.

We refer to Nagraj Popatrao Manjule, arguably one of the more influential moviemakers in India today, a man who could easily be slotted with pioneering masters such as V Shantaram and Guru Dutt, and his upcoming movie Jhund, starring Amitabh Bachchan and a host of newcomers picked up from the unlikeliest of places.

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A couple of songs from the film as well as the trailer were launched over the past 15 days, and the film is set for release on 4 March. But what emerged during the now routine journalistic chore of going through the social media feeds of artistes and directors — and we are open to correction on this score — is that not a single prominent name from contemporary Marathi cinema shared the trailer or a song, or even posted a message congratulating Manjule on his long-delayed film — it was launched in 2019 — finally coming to theatres.

This is a man who brought the Marathi film industry much fame and recognition around the country and the world with just two movies. His second, Sairat (2016), broke all box-office records in Marathi cinema, with a lifetime collection almost double that of the next best, Natsamrat (2016) — the former's figure is said to have been Rs80 crore nett while that of the latter was Rs41 crore.

Jhund is only Manjule's third film and he is working with a veteran who has been celebrated as the biggest superstar Hindi cinema has seen. Yet, even filmmakers who have worked frequently with Ajay-Atul, composers of the Jhund album, have not cared to share a single song from it. On the other hand, filmmaker Aanand L Rai, who has no connection with Jhund or with Manjule, shared the title song on social media, to cite just one example.

For contrast, recall the time when a popular Marathi actress landed a small part in the Hindi sex comedy Grand Masti (2013). Many top artistes from the Marathi industry posted congratulatory messages on social media.

Of course, you could argue that we are reading more into this than is warranted. Then again, as Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle’s story The Adventure of Silver Blaze aka The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, averred, silences can sometimes be instructive.