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'Harishchandrachi maybe dubbed in Hindi'

Harishchandrachi Factory, India’s official entry, is out of the Oscar race. Was it lack of promotion and funds that killed its chances of making it to the final five?

regional movies Updated: Feb 10, 2010 17:31 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya

Harishchandrachi Factory, India’s official entry, is out of the Oscar race. Was it lack of promotion and funds that killed its chances of making it to the final five?

It’s a misconception that you have to lobby for the Oscars. A producer’s role is limited to submitting a print. After that, the Academy of Motion Pictures organises screenings for its members. The final selection is entirely the jury’s decision. It’s a strict, secretive process that you cannot manipulate to your advantage.

Did the Oscar hype boost the film’s commercial viability?
Maybe marginally. But the news of its selection for the Oscars only came towards the end of the calendar year and by that time, the film had created a buzz on the festival circuit and people were keen to catch it anyway. The Oscar hype was just another feather in our cap.

Even though it’s still to recover its record Rs 4 crore investment, Harishchandrachi Factory has definitely given a boost to Marathi cinema.

(Laughs) Yeah, Marathi cinema was in the ICU 10 years ago. But the entry of people like me with a background in literature and theatre and an exposure to world cinema has brought different sensibilities and energy to our cinema.

Filmmakers today are willing to invest in new and engaging narratives without compromising on commercial viability. It’s important to choose different subjects but even more important to treat them differently, as we have been doing lately. Films like: Shwaas, Dombivli Fast, Tingya, Gabricha Paus, Gandha, Valu and Harishchandrachi Factory have made a difference. My film focused on the adventures of a pioneer rather than his painful struggle and made the Father of Indian Cinema a man you could ‘connect’ with. In retrospect, would you have made the film any differently had you had better resources?

I made it the way I wrote it so there are no complaints on that front. The shortcomings are not connected with lack of money or technical expertise but are purely creative. Had I written it today, I would have handled a scene differently, maybe added more characters or deleted some. (Smiles) Maybe I’d have changed the whole movie.

Any plans of remaking it in Hindi and reaching out to a wider audience?
UTV and I have been talking on the subject. There’s a possibility of dubbing it in Hindi or even remaking it because a lot of non-Maharashtrians have told me they want to see it in their language. But having spent two years on the movie already, I wouldn’t want to direct the remake myself. I’d rather it be made by a different set of people.

So, what’s next on the agenda?
I’ll be directing a couple of plays. Then maybe, after a year, I’ll make a movie again. I have three subjects in mind. One would be in Marathi, the other two could be in English and Hindi. After Harishchandrachi Factory, several companies want to be associated with my next venture. I just have to figure out what it will be.