Upcoming Marathi film Ventilator is Priyanka Chopra’s maiden Marathi production under her banner Purple Pebble Pictures. Producer Madhu Chopra and director Rajesh Mapuskar speak to Team Box Office India about their film
Box Office India (BOI): What led Priyanka Chopra to produce a Marathi film under her banner, Purple Pebble Pictures?
Madhu Chopra (MC): When we set up our production house, the basic agenda was to encourage regional films and integrate them into mainstream cinema. Priyanka (Chopra) believes that there are so many good stories in so many different regions of our country that get told but that don’t give credit to the region. We pick up stories from the region, adapt them with the mainstream and then show them as a Hindi film.
Sometimes, there is a parody, sometimes reality. She felt we must give due credit to every region and let the rest of the country also know what those parts of the country are like. The East and North East are barely 200 km apart but they are very different from each other. It’s the same with Gujarat and Maharashtra. The basic fabric is the same but they are yet so different. The agenda of launching Purple Pebble Pictures was to start with regional films and see how much we can do to encourage and give exposure to the regional space, all over the country and worldwide. God willing, we can do it through her presence, globally.
BOI: Was Ventilator the first Marathi script you considered?
MC: It wasn’t the first script but it was the best script. So when Rajesh (Mapuskar) told me about the story, Ishaan Dutta, who was working with us, brought the story and Rajesh to us. The first time, Rajesh was very sceptical and gave us a very flimsy narration, like usko maza nahi aa raha, kinds.
MC: I am not a filmmaker, so he must have been wondering why he was telling me the story.
RM: NO!!! (Laughs)
MC: (Laughs) The second time, the story was more detailed and I loved it. I spoke to Priyanka and she said we should get a detailed narration. He gave her a detailed narration, which was the third meeting. Priyanka was in India then. He gave such a fabulous narration to Priyanka that she said yes to the film then and there.
Back home, she said, ‘I am sure this will be a very difficult film to make but I am sure that the passion with which Rajesh narrated the film will make it a beautiful film.’ She wanted to make this film even though she knew it would be a difficult film to make because Rajesh had narrated it from his heart. So from one artist to another, the chords connected and they clicked.
BOI: Were you really sceptical initially, as ma’am just said?
MC: Be honest.
RM: Not really. I see my film reflected in the other person’s face… how the person I am narrating to reacts and talks. I get my inspiration from the other person’s reaction when I am conversing with them. And Priyanka was very expressive when I narrated the script to her. I could tell that she was enjoying it and that made me feel more and more involved. So I was not sceptical but I was not sure that Priyanka Chopra and her mother would be interested in doing a Marathi film.
But they made this film, supported this film, and backed my vision from the beginning. This was an extremely difficult project to execute and they did it with heart. The question was,yeh project acha hai but yeh karengey kaise? It is a genuine concern for any producer but Priyanka and Madhuji took that chance and said, Kar lo, ho jaega. And now it is going to be showcased on a global platform. I think this is the first Marathi film to release worldwide simultaneously with its India release, on the same day. They lived up to their promise.
MC: The film is worth it and to showcase this Marathi film worldwide makes us as proud as it gives you satisfaction.