Marathi Cinema should remain story-led & not budget-led, insist film experts
Marathi Cinema is considered as the starting point for all cinema industry in India. The whole culture evolved with Dadasaheb Phalke starting the industry from Mumbai. In the last few decades, Marathi Cinema has evolved its unique positioning and following. Several Marathi movies were sent as official entries to the Oscar’s.
Marathi Cinema has very distinct maturity when it comes to dealing with several critical and sensitive subjects in the society and surroundings. Marathi Cinema has shown the world that the creators are capable of dealing with these kinds of subjects as even the audience also equally prepared to lap these creation up and appreciate the growth. The shaping and funding of these great ideas into films remain a challenging experience, finding theatres, funding marketing and distribution, etc. The time has come to establish Marathi film fund as well as shaping the institutional design from creating, marketing and distributing Marathi films globally.
The session on ‘Shaping & Funding the Marathi Film Ecosystem’ at FICCI Frames 2016 saw the speakers discuss ways to grow the Marathi film industry and how to tackle the various challenges. The panellists included Valsa Nair Singh, Principal Secretary, Tourism and Culture, Government of Maharashtra; Vishwas Joshi, Producer; Shhyam Singhania, Chairman, Enarr Capital; Swapnil Joshi, Actor; and Ajit Andhare, COO, Viacom18 Motion Pictures. Ashish SK, Chairman, FICCI Animation, Gaming, VFX & Comics Forum, moderated the session.
Funding and finances formed a major part of the discussions. Highlighting the difficulties in funding in the industry, Vishwas Joshi and Swapnil Joshi noted that often the financiers had no clue about the content and production aspects of filmmaking. With their eyes only on the investments and the return on investments, any hike in production costs or delays could upset the applecart and lead to a finance crunch.
Viacom18’s Ajit Andhare, on the other hand, called for increasing investment in developing the infrastructure and the market rather than merely pumping the money into a single film. Andhare further pointed out that unlike Bollywood, the Marathi movie industry was purely story led rather than depending on big stars or budgets or technology. He urged filmmakers to not lose this story led perspective and fall for big budgets.
On why his company chose to invest in Marathi Cinema, Shhyam Singhania of Enarr Capital said that he was a Mumbaikar and hence, he understood this industry better. He added that Enarr Capital was planning to invest in around 120 films over the next seven years and explore the market potential of this industry. Singhania also spoke about the problems he faced in investing in Bollywood and Tamil Cinema.