Filmmaker Samit Kakkad is looking for an actor to play the protagonist in the screen adaptation of Uchalya, a Sahitya-Akademi award-winning novel based on a tribe whose members were ostracised for being thieves.
The film, also by the same name, is among several recent Marathi films based on literary works. “I was shaken when I read about a community that has no native place or family name. I had to bring this story before a larger audience,” said Kakkad.
Marathi films are increasingly turning to classic novels for plots and are doing well at the box office. Recent films such as national award-winning Shala, Golaberij, and Ajintha were based on literary works.
“Marathi literary work has been neglected for too long. Moreover, [films] help the current generation, which hardly reads these books, to understand the period and writer,” said Sujoy Dahake, who made Shaala, based on Milind Bokil’s novel by the same name.
“Novels provide core story plots to films. These books are giving Marathi cinema much needed depth and variation,” said Sadanand Deshmukh, who wrote Baromas, a novel which won him the Akademi Award in 2004.
Actor Nana Patekar will soon play the protagonist in ‘Dr Prakash Amte: The Real Hero’, a film based on the life of the Magsaysay award-winning couple, Dr Prakash and Manda Amte. “These books are rooted in reality,” said Patekar, adding that films often spur the audience to turn to the books.
Experts, however, caution that it is imperative for filmmakers to understand the ethos of a book. “The writer has the space to develop a plot and character. It is crucial that the filmmaker understands the essence of the book and selects details judiciously for the film,” said Shanta Gokhale, culture commentator.