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“We are testing the waters in the regional space”

Purvesh Pratap Sarnaik is ready with his maiden Marathi venture, Kanha, as a co-producer. The film, produced by Pratap Sarnaik and also being co-produced by Joe Rajan, has been directed by Avadhoot Gupte. Sarnaik tells Rohini Nag Madnani about Zee Studios backing the film right after Sairat and about why its content is especially relevant to Mumbaikars

How did you zero in on this film as your first production?

Dahi Handi is one of Maharashtra’s major festivals and the narrative of the film has an impressive storyline. Content-wise, our Marathi film industry is one of the richest industries in our country and it was an obvious decision to make our film in Marathi. The film is directed by Avadhoot Gupte, who had previously directed Zenda and Morya. He has also composed the music for the film, which is true-blue Mumbai as Dahi Handi is one of the biggest festivals we have here.

I was lucky that I had Joe’s (Rajan) guidance. He has immense knowledge about films and the film business. He is a friend of my father and I have known him for a very long time.

We have seen Marathi cinema rise to new levels, the best example being Sairat. I am sure that our film will not only impress the audience with its honesty but also attain great heights because we are very confident of its content. Our film has the perfect balance of content and commercial elements.

Zee Studios watched the film and instantly got on board with us. This is their next Marathi after Sairat and the fact that they showed such great interest in our film shows what kind of film Kanha has turned out to be.

Tell us something about the story and the cast of the film.

As I mentioned, the film is based on the Dahi Handi festival and the film follows two rival groups. Most people are aware of the festival only, not the hard work that goes into it, months in advance. The film features Vaibhav Tatwawadi and Gashmeer Mahajani, who belong to these rival groups. The film’s music is one of its highlights and we have many acclaimed singers like Kailash Kher and Suresh Wadkar on board. Sonu Kakkar has sung her first Marathi song for our film. The surprise package is Mika Singh’s song, which I have sung with him.

Were you creatively involved in the making of the film?

I was involved at every step of production. A producer’s job is not confined to just putting in resources but also handling budgets and overseeing the entire filmmaking process. Joe and I were constantly involved with the film and we, as a team, discussed every move. I think amalgamating what you have – you have resources, so use them correctly and channelise them accurately – is what I have learnt from Joe.

What can the audience expect from the film?

The audience can expect an out-an-out commercial drama. And when Dahi Handi is celebrated throughout Maharashtra, our film will bring out that fun even more along with the subject, which tackles the rivalry between two groups and how they ultimately unite along with a slight hint of romance thrown in.

Will we see you producing Hindi films too?

When you buy your first car, you don’t straightaway buy a Mercedes but a much smaller car. Similarly, with our first production, we wanted to test the waters in the regional space. We are based in Maharashtra, hence a Marathi film was our first choice. The Marathi film industry is based in Mumbai, which is the hub of cinema. Marathi films are reaching new heights and, right now, we are concentrating on this.

What’s next for your production house? Do you have a wish list of actors or directors you want to work with?

I have only just started this journey. I don’t have a wish list and plan to take things as they come. We are in the process of finalising our next film and will start three more productions next year.

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