Better Halves

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Tula Kalnar Nahi team – actors Sonalee Kulkarni and Subodh Bhave,
director Swapna Waghmare Joshi, producers Arjun Singgh Baran, Karthik
Nishandar and Shreea Yogesh Kadam, and co-producers Kalapi Nagada and
Jayesh Muzumdar – in conversation with Team Box Office India

Box Office India (BOI)Tula Kalnar Nahi is a very light hearted film. Where did you get the inspiration from and what made you make a film like this?

Swapna Waghmare Joshi (SWJ): Most concepts are inspired by real life and in this case, Sonalee (Kulkarni) and I were looking for a good subject. So we met the writer Sameer Arora and he narrated three to four subjects. The subject we chose is one that you see all around you and so we loved it. This is something you see in your own house, your neighbour’s house and in your friends’ house. It’s a slice-of-life film and all the slices have different spices. We were lucky that Shreea (Yogesh Kadam) stepped in and trusted us.

Shreea Yogesh Kadam (SYK): When I heard the script, I had just got married, and marriage is about making adjustments, about of a lot of experiences that happen in your life. When I heard  the script, it was so relatable. When the audience watches the film, they will realise that they have seen these things in their families. The whole point is to make people go to the cinemas and watch the
film, so that they come out feeling happy. We have Karthik sir (Hishandar), Arjun sir (Singh Baran), Kalapi sir (Nagada), Swwapnil (Joshi)… everybody came together to make this happen. Another
important thing is that the chemistry between Subodh (Bhave) and Sonalee is so natural that everyone will fall in love with them.
BOI: What was your reaction when you first got the script?

Subodh Bhave (SB): I loved it because nobody had approached me before with such a role, everybody had approached only with serious roles. This is a very light-hearted film. The similarity between the characters is that they are very simple. Somehow, I managed to bring out the innocence of my character.

BOI: Were Sonalee and Subodh always the first choice for this film?

SWJ: Sonalee, yes. Both of us had gone to Sameerji and we both loved the subject and immediately, right there… I could see Sonalee there. I have not seen her perform like this in any other film. Since I
had already worked with her in one film, I know her capabilities. She can mould herself. She is one of the most versatile actors I have ever worked with. So, from the word go, I knew that she would do
this role. For the hero, we waited for the screenplay to be complete, and when it was, we knew it had to be Subodh. There were no other options. Fortunately, he agreed to do this film with me, after doing
a film together earlier. After that it all fell into place.

Karthik Nishandar (K): She is not going to tell you that she’s in love with Subodh.

Sonalee Kulkarni (SK): Hat-trick!

K: Exactly! She has done three films with
him, back-to-back.

BOI: You are known for serious roles. What was it like to step outside your comfort
zone?

SB: As a director, I think this is Swapna’s comfort zone. She has shown a lot of versatility right from Mitwa, Laal Isqh to Tula Kalnar Nahi. Each of these three films are different from the others. This
film is a light-hearted, comfortable film. The role of Rahul was very difficult for me in the beginning. But the moment we reached the sets and started shooting, the entire team including my co-stars, writers, directors and producers made it possible for me to get into the skin of the character.

BOI: The Marathi industry is evolving very well and it’s changing all the time. Do you
feel the films need to be marketed well to reach out to a wider audience?

Kalapi Nagada (KN): The content is great. If you go down South, they have great content but they don’t market their films much but it still reaches the right audience. The audience is also smart
enough to reach out to the right films. When we became associated with this film, we found that it was a realistic subject which touched everybody’s lives but was presented in a subtle way, which made it appealing to watch. In a way that it is reaching the mass audience. I don’t think Marathi films need to be marketed in the way Bollywood films are because Marathi films have their own sentiments attached to them. But, yes, as the industry grows, the numbers at the box office also increase. And whenever a Marathi film is to release alongside a Bollywood movie, they shuffle their dates. This proves Marathi
films don’t need to rely very much on marketing.

Jayesh Muzumdar (JM): I think the Marathi audience is pretty evolved. The kind of exposure they have… whether Marathi literature, Marathi theatre… has widened their perspective. Through our movies, Marathi movies, there is a certain seriousness within. That’s why, as Kalapi sir said, if a good Marathi movie is releasing, it’s the Hindi movies that have to rethink their strategies and shuffle their
release plan. That’s a big compliment for the Marathi industry. It is doing really well, touch wood. And with Tula Kalnar Nahi, we will reach greater heights.

KN: But we do market our movies like they do in Bollywood. Actually, sir (Jayesh Muzumdar) will be able to elaborate on this. We go all out even for Marathi movies, unlike earlier when we did not
market them at all. There’s a lot marketing that happens, whether on ground, on air, television, radio, newspapers. We splurge on marketing and it works.

Arjun Singhh Baran (ASB): Luckily, 2017 has been a great year for all of us. As film producers, we have released Fugay, Bhikari and now Tula Kalnar Naahi. Both Fugay and Bhikari have become success stories at the box office. And we have worked with some of the best actors in the industry. These actors themselves go out and promote their movies, unlike the Bollywood scenario. So, if it’s Swwapnil or Subodh or Sonalee, they went all out to promote the film for two months, so that
they can reach out across Maharashtra. So, I believe that marketing a film is extremely critical in the Marathi industry scenario.

KN: There’s a huge difference in the way Marathi movies were marketed earlier and the way they are being marketed now, thanks to new-age media. The exposure we are receiving from the digital platform is tremendous. The audience has also changed. The audience is a lot younger now and even the non-Maharashtrian audience is attracted to Marathi cinema. Credit for this goes to directors like
Swapnaji because they are churning out quality movies. That’s one reason the numbers are rising.
And, now, non-Maharashtrians are also watching our movies. So thanks to the writer, the director, the entire crew for coming up with good content like this. It is a joint effort between the technical as well
as the marketing teams that are delivering these results.

BOI: Being a director yourself, Subodh, did it help you to understand the content of the
film better?

SB: Yeah, it helps me to understand cinema better. Like, before directing a film Katiya Kaljat Ghusli, I was only able to perform as an actor in front of the camera. Now, as a director, I can understand the director’s point of view, the writer’s point of view, the technicians’ point of view. And the overall cinema point of view. I am a better version of myself. I am now open to different kinds of approaches towards film. The director in me definitely helps the actor in me.

BOI: When you are dealing with a topic which talks about the intricacies of marriage,
how difficult is it to balance that out with humour?

SWJ: It’s a simple approach. It’s a very simple film. And, as Subodh said, simple is the most difficult. So it was difficult because when you’re making a heavy duty drama, you have lots of support. Here, you just have the script, the actors and no other support as such, like heavy music in the background and the drama it shows. You cannot indulge in all that. As I always say, there is always a different approach. You can either look at something as a situation or as a problem. When you take any situation as a problem, it is complicated; there is negativity towards it. But when you say there is a situation, it’s positive. There is fun. So marriage is a situation. And when we decided to take that route, we decided to take actors who could match up to whatever the writers had dreamt. It was very easy for me to get into.

SYK: I would also like to add to what Swapna tai said because, as you said, direction and the production fields coming together… they are usually worlds apart. It is very difficult to bridge that.

SK: The actor and the producer is like husband and wife. They do not get along but they have to make it work. A lot of credit goes to both of them because we have travelled 4,000 km all across Maharashtra. And it is extremely critical to crunch the budget into it. All credit to Arjun and Shreea for doing this. All cinema has to be made within a certain budget, so that you can recover your money and invest it in the next movie.

BOI: Can you share some memorable moments from the shoot?

SB: For me, it was the entire journey. Like, we shot at different places. In Mumbai, in Goa, in the Konkan, in Nagpur. The entire journey of this film is a memorable one.

SK: It’s a trip to remember.

SJW: I don’t know how much it has helped Subodh as an actor, but he is certainly a better driver now!

SK: He drove the entire 4,000 km stretch, of which, I drove 4 km.

BOI: People believe that regional cinema only produces content for a set group of people…

ASB: Ultimately, a movie has to be entertaining. So, as producers, we always think, what do we
need to do to get people inside movie theatre? Today, it is becoming extremely difficult to make people enter the theatres. It is the same scenario in Hollywood, the same for Bollywood and the same for us
in Marathi. The whole thing is, why should someone pay money and come to the theatres? So whenever we are looking at a project, we are looking at the artiste, the directors, everything. Our focus is on the entire thing.

KN: The entire thing has been presented in the right way. Thanks to the producers, Arjun and Shreea. Yes, realistic cinema needs the right budget and the right kind of marketing. So, over all, the presentation here is nice.
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ASB: I want to add one more thing about Kalapi… His last film Baadshaho released last week and that’s helping us get more cinemas because he is trying to bundle it in. So when you try to merge a Bollywood entity coming into Marathi cinema, and find a release plan, you can leverage it.

SYK: I want to add one more thing… Swwapnil had told me when we got into production, ‘A ticket costs 150 to 200 bucks. The movie-goer has the option to watch a Hindi movie, a Hollywood movie and he has the option of watching a Marathi film. So your film has match a Bollywood film or a Hollywood film because the audience is paying to be entertained. Since he is going to choose what is best for him, as a producer, you have to make sure you are giving what he wants to see.’ I think that is very important.

 

Box Office India
Collection Chart
As on 17th November, 2017
FilmsWeekWeeklyTotal
Qarib Qarib Singlle111.20CR11.20CR
Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana16.14CR6.14CR
The House Next Door192.43LK92.43LK
Mera Bura Saaya108.2K08.2K
Safe101.01K01.01K
Maheruh112K12K
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