V Shantaram’s daughter and Pandit Jasraj’s wife, Madhura, is looking to make a place in the Guinness Book Of Records and the Limca Book Of Records as the oldest debutant director. She directed her first film, a Marathi mythological, Aai Tujha Ashirwad, at the age of 73.
"The right opportunities didn’t come up earlier and, given my family connections, I couldn’t go to anyone for work. Eventually, my son suggested I direct this film based on a one-line story idea I’d written. I wrapped it up in 26 shooting days, but had to make do with just a couple of hours sleep," she laughs.
After almost six months of post-production, when the film was lining up for release, Uddhav Thackeray launched the move to get Marathi movies more shows at multiplexes at reduced ticket rates. "It should have come earlier given that down South, regional v/s non-regional cinema has long been an issue. While Maharashtra, despite being the seat of Indian cinema, thanks to Dadasaheb Phalke, had shut its eyes to the discrimination. It would have helped if my film had released now, but I couldn’t delay it any further," she rues.
From her father’s treasury of classics, Jasraj’s two favourites are Do Aankhen Barah Haath and Dr Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani. But she believes that with its socially relevant message of Hindu-Muslim unity, her film is closer to her father’s 1931 film for Prabhat — Gopal Krishna.
She roped in Lata Mangeshkar to sing a duet with Pandit Jasraj who sang for a Marathi film for the first time. “Lataji sang the first two lines of a mata ki aarti that we’ve used in the title track while Panditji sang a Sanskrit shlok,” says Jasraj, who’s started work on two other subjects, one on water harvesting and the other a historical love story that could be made in Hindi.