BY ARUNDHUTI BANERJEE
Mumbai, Oct 26 (IANS) Film director Nachiket Samant is experiencing a double dose of satisfaction. His Hindi rom-com Comedy Couple has dropped and has been well received. Now, Habaddi, his debut Marathi film as director has been selected as the opening film at Indian Film Festival of Melbourne.
“The film is close to my heart and we as a team went through hardships to make it. Then, when we were done, the pandemic hit us and a series of troubles came our way. But right now it is just the happy feeling that that the film is getting light of the day,” Samant told IANS.
Optimistic about his film’s reception at the festival, he added: “The festival audience love watching pure films. They love to engage with the story first. Our film is one of such. It is very much a local story, yet very universal.”
The film revolves around a young boy who is an orphan and has a speech problem, and therefore cannot pronounce the word kabaddi. He says ‘habaddi’.
The film features child actor Karan Dave and, according to Samant, from swimming to scuba diving there was an extensive training process that the young actor had to go through for the role. An elaborate VFX work was involved in post-production later.
“Initially we gave Karan swimming training for his scenes in water. Then we realised that he also has underwater scenes, so scuba diving was required. For around four to six months, we trained him in scuba diving. By the time he was well-trained in swimming and scuba diving, his height had grown (laugh). Such physical changes happen among kids who are 10 to 12 years old. However, we shot with certain camera angles and there was VFX work,” shared Samant about the film, which also features Vedshree Mahajan, Mayur Khandge and Niranjan Javir.
The film is in Marathi language and, according to the director, receiving appreciation at an international film festival would be an advantage. “Regional films always struggle to get a good theatrical release, because somewhere we always compete with Bollywood and star-driven cinema. I love such cinema too, but for a theatrical release of a film that is story-driven, festival rounds add milage,” mentioned Samant.
(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at email@example.com)