Director Manoj Kotian, leading star cast Subodh Bhave, Urmila Kothare and Kranti Redkar of Marathi film Karaar, in conversation with Team Box Office India
Box Office India (BOI): How did you conceive this story?
Manoj Kotian (MK): Karaar means ‘agreement’ and this is a family-oriented film. My main lead is played by Subodh Bhave. He becomes a self-made man after he loses his parents. He makes a deal or an ‘agreement’ with himself, that he has to do something special with his career. Hence, he becomes an achiever.
Things take a turn after he gets married and starts imposing his ‘agreements’ on his wife. How this impacts his wife and family is what the movie is about. At one point, his wife (Urmila Kothare) wants to have a family because her husband is very calculating. Then, Kranti Redkar’s character enters their lives and this introduces a twist to the tale.
BOI: Why did you cast these specific actors?
MK: I think they are best placed to answer this question since this is only my second film as a director, whereas Subodh, Urmila and Kranti have been working for a very long time. When I completed the script, they were the actors who came to mind since I was looking for terrific actors, I was looking for characters. I didn’t want to compromise in terms of acting. I was a new director for them, and I am so glad they agreed to be part of my film.
Subodh Bhave (SB): First, all of us had dates that we could assign for this film. And then there was the script, which made me say ‘yes’. It was a never-seen-before kind of story, while it was also my character that grabbed me. It is also the kind of family-oriented film that we haven’t seen in Marathi for a very long time; it was about family with a new take in keeping with today’s times.
We have been waiting for a family film for a long time and so we jumped at the chance. Manoj had a very clear vision about how he wanted to shape this film. It was his conviction and clarity that made me say ‘yes’ to him. It was also the first time all three of us would be working together. Urmila and I worked on a film where we had small roles but these were full-length roles.
Another interesting factor about this film was the music, which is very fresh and takes the story forward. Some very good singers like Shreya Ghoshal and Bela Shinde have lent their voices to our film. Everyone worked so hard to make this film what it is; each one of us gave of our best. And when a team works hard to make a film, it always turns out well.
BOI: Was it emotionally challenging for you to play the role?
UK: The script was very emotionally challenging, not just for me but for all the three characters. I play the role of Jayshree, Sunil Mokashi’s wife. The crux of the story is that everybody is caught up in a very competitive world and wants to achieve goals, carve their own identity, earn a lot of money and buy penthouses, cars, bungalows etc. In this hectic life, we leave our families behind.
There comes a time when it is not medically advisable to have a child and (Sunil Mokashi) is growing older. It was said that one should have a child before the age of 30 years; then, they said 35. So, whether 35 years is safe or not still remains a question mark. That’s what we are trying to ask in this film… what are one’s priorities at different points in life? Should I focus on career now at the cost of having a child? We are trying to address questions like this through this film.
KR: When I heard about this character, when Manoj sir narrated it to me… the story is primarily about these people but when this character makes an appearance, it totally changes the story. So when I was offered this film, the first thing I said was that I wanted to do this character because she plays a pivotal role in all the twists and turns that are in the story. This was the most challenging role I have ever played because I was never ‘de-glammed’ in any of my films; I have been shown as glamorous and even the girl-next-door but never this kind of role.
So when Manoj came to me with this role, I was, like, it is the time for me to play a role like this. When he revealed the cast to me, I was super happy because they are my friends first and then co-actors. What I liked about the story was that it was emotional and focused on a very sensitive topic. It was enlightening but it was not over the top. It did not hammer the message at you.
The film begins when they can’t have a child and actually begins when the problems they face surface, what options they have and how they go inside the pit they have dug for somebody else and how she is a poor thing who is dragged into it. The main person orchestrating this is Sunil Mokashi, the main protagonist, who has a very different quality about him. he isn’t really stingy; in Marathi, we say ‘kaat karsri’. So, for instance, if something costs `10, he would choose something that costs `5 but he would want to get it for `3. That’s his mentality.
The film is very nuanced and I enjoyed it thoroughly. The script was very well written. It was a pleasure working on this film.