By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Nishikant Kamat's much acclaimed psycho-thriller Dombivali Fast won an unprecedented two awards for best producer and best film at the Asian Festival Of 1st Films in Singapore concluded on Wednesday.
"I couldn't be there in Singapore because I'm shooting the film's Tamil version in Chennai. But my producer was there. If it wasn't a Marathi film, Dombivali Fast might have got a much larger audience. But I feel every film has its own rhythm, flavour and language," explains the soft-spoken director.
"When I made the film I didn't even know how films were taken to festivals," says the director whose film, at the last count, had won 34 awards at international and national festivals.
"God has been extremely kind," says the modest director who came in the industry in 1990s as a TV director. "I directed serials for nearly six years. Unfortunately television directors were looked down on, so I switched to writing screenplays. I'm the culprit behind Deepak Shivdasani's Julie. Yes, I wrote it "he laughs.
Finally he directed his first film about a common man played by Sandeep Kulkarni who looses his life in the everyday rut of life. Now this Mumbai-centric film about the commuter's nightmare has been shifted to Chennai where Kamat is directing the same film in Tamil with Madhavan in the lead.
"Luckily in Chennai too the common man commutes by train... However let me tell you, though it's a film about the travails of the Indian working class every member of the audience the world over has identified with the frustrations of the common man."
Kamat attributes the film's reach to fellow-filmmaker Anurag Kashyap. "Anurag's American friend Christina saw the film with a theatre audience in Mumbai. She selected it for the Indian film festival in LA and it went on to win the grand jury award for best film. Suddenly the entire world woke up to my film!"
The film ran uninterrupted for 28 weeks in Pune. "Marathi cinema still doesn't get a strong distribution circuit. In Maharastra they prefer watching Hindi to Marathi films whereas in Tamil Nadu they prefer Tamil films. But with some films like mine things are changing. When my film was released Ek Ajnabee and Neal 'n' Nikki got all the theatres."
Peculiarly Abbas-Mustan are producing the Tamil version of Kamat's Dombivali Fast. "I was writing two films with them. Abbas-Mustan were shooting abroad for fifty days when I shot and edited my entire film. When they returned I shocked them by asking them to attend my premiere. Luckily for me, they were impressed and decided to turn producer for the Tamil version of my film. I wasn't excited about a Hindi version. It'd have been a repetition of what I had done in Marathi. But here in Chennai I'm giving the entire theme a new look and texture. Eighty percent of the script is the same. But I'm changing the nuances. "
Kamath arrived in Chennai two months in advance. "I've learnt some of the language. But I'm being helped with the nuances of the Tamil language by my hero Madhavan and three Tamil assistants. Maddy is having a gala time doing something so real. I've realized he has so much potential. And he's hungry to try different roles. He was itching to do something so real."
A Hindi version of Dombivali Fast is also on the anvil. Probably Abbas-Mustan would direct it.
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