Berlin, Feb 16 (Calcutta Tube) Marathi film ‘Vihir’, produced by Amitabh Bachchan Corp Ltd (ABCL) and directed by Umesh Kulkarni, got a warm reception and ran to a full house at the Berlin International Film Festival.
‘It is a great honour for me to be here in Berlin. The film is based on an autobiographical event, I lost my cousin in a well when I was 14, and I found the idea that somebody can be here one day, and be gone the next, very intriguing. It raised questions that I try to answer through the film, to search for him,’ said Kulkarni, whose short film ‘Three of Us’ was also at Berlin in 2008.
‘Vihir’, meaning the well, ran at the prestigious festival Sunday. Kulkarni was there with his 10 member team, including actors Madan Deodhar, Alok Rajwade, actor-writer Girish Kulkarni and Mohan Agashe.
The film is about the friendship between two teenage boys Sameer and Nachiket and how they grapple with death and larger philosophical questions. ‘Vihir’ played in the Generation 14 plus section of the festival for young adults.
‘Vihir’ has screenplay and dialogues by Girish Kulkarni and Sati Bhave, and cinematography by Sudhir Palsane. The film has warm portrayals by Madan Deodhar, who has a heartbreaking innocence, and Alok Rajwade, who has a maturity that belies his tender years.
ABCL’s CEO Wing Commander (retd) Ramesh Pulapaka was at the festival as well.
Explaining why ABCL backed a Marathi arthouse film, Pulapaka said: ‘ABCL wants to produce meaningful cinema with which it is proud to be associated. So we have produced Balki’s ‘Paa’, Rituparno Ghosh’s ‘Antarmahal’ in Bengali and now ‘Vihir’ in Marathi. Jaya Bachchan firmly believed in the script of ‘Vihir’. We are releasing the film on March 5 through PVR.’
Girish Kulkarni said: ‘In my adolescence, I experienced the death of someone close. I told my parents I wanted to die, not so much because I was fed up with life, but because I was intrigued by what happens after death. The challenge in writing the film was how to capture inner experiences to create meaning.’
(Meenakshi Shedde is India Consultant to the Berlin Film Festival and curator to film festivals worldwide. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org)