'Jayanti', for many, is not merely a celebration of the birth anniversaries of their heroes they follow but celebrating their ideologies and legacy of the socio-political thinkers who were instrumental in bringing a social change of which the current generation is beneficiary. People see it as an occasion to eulogise and recollect the contributions of these great leaders, while some just do it as a cultural norm. Is this one-day or one-week celebration really sufficient to take their caravan ahead and ensure the change that these icons envisaged?
An upcoming feature film 'Jayanti' speaks it aloud. Taking an example of Dr. Ambedkar's Jayanti, the film poses this uncomfortable but important question and also attempts to make the audience find its answer. Through a carefully crafted influence of the ideas of various social icons, the film depicts the transformation of the protagonist from a misguided Bahujan youth to a socially-responsible citizen and a role model in the contemporary socio-political context.
The typical entertainment films which are watched in the theatres while eating popcorns and spending time with loved ones and nothing beyond can be expected but the writer-director and producer Mr. Shailesh Narwade makes sure that his two-hour Marathi film with English subtitles will definitely drive you to think about the question put forth and simultaneously guarantees to entertain you with a good story as well. The film is been shot in various locations in Nagpur, although not trying to establish Nagpur in particular, but surely you would get to listen to dialogues in Vidarbhian Marathi, which might become popular in the coming days.
Article 15 famed internationally acclaimed music director Mangesh Dhakde has composed music for Jayanti while singer Javed Ali has lent his popular voice to the songs. There are four songs in the film, all of them will have its impact on the audience, "A dream sequence romantic song will make you feel the love just like you expect a film to make you feel and another song will bring your emotions out and awaken your rational mind to motivate it to start introspecting your actions," told Mr. Shailesh. In short, the concept, the story, and the songs of the film will make you feel your existence and connection with the question, unlike the so-called mainstream Hindi cinema films which do not reflect your stories, characters, or even practical problems that you might feel connected with.
The social and ideological locations of the artists and the director makes difference. In this film your protagonist will be one amongst you, a Bahujan who does not need a so-called upper caste to become saviour, nor will you see a lead actress in damsel or just for the love interest of the actor but much a representation of a Bahujan independent smart women. The film has celebrated actors such as Milind Shinde, Kishor Kadam, Paddy Kamble, Anjali Joglekar, and Amar Upadhyay, apart from the new pair of lead actor and actress, whose names are not being revealed at this moment to keep you wonder. The film will definitely make way for Bahujans to assert their ideology and showcase their merits of making a film big and fit in the mainstream cinema.
WHY THIS FILM
"The idea of this film came to me in April 2016 when I saw many big and small social movements and organisations in India and abroad preparing for and organising the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. The Jayanti was celebrated in almost every nook and corner of the country including on social media with great zeal. However, the way some of the celebrations were organised triggered a few questions in my mind," told Shailesh Narwade, the director of Jayanti.
He further added, "I started wondering what will happen to those youth who are giving so much of their time and energy for such celebrations. How do such celebrations align with the purpose of their lives? Do they even have any purpose in life? How can Jayanti become a catalyst and therefore also a true occasion for celebration of not only the icons but also the transformation of these youth? The more I thought about it, the more I realised the complexity of the subject and eventually realised that perhaps a full-length feature film script could be a good way to explore answers to these questions."
Shailesh Narwade is the writer, director, and producer of film Jayanti. He has worked in print and electronic media for 10 years. Simultaneously, he did theatre for over a decade. One of his plays won a Maharashtra Government award while a recent one 'Maseeha', a political satire, was selected for IPTA's prestigious national festival at Patna in 2018. He made his first feature film 'Roommates', a crime thriller, in 2017. For undertaking these initiatives, he established a company Meliorist Film Studio and it is under this banner that Jayanti is being produced.
The core team includes Popular Radio Jockey Milind Patil as the creative producer of Jayanti; Rj Milind is known for popular shows like 'Purani Jeans' on Radio Mirchi and 'Salaam Nagpur' on My FM. He currently is the National Creative Head with 91.9 Radio Orange, he is also the founder of RJ training academy 'Art Pickle', and online Marathi radio 'Radio Jhakaas Marathi'.
A US-educated social scientist’s and social movement veteran has provided research support to the film.
The main challenge the project faced was/is on the financial front. The unsaid ideological reservations over the central idea of the film and entry barriers to the Bahujan filmmakers in a highly-closed film industry made it difficult to raise the funds through traditional film finances. Therefore, alternative sources were managed, especially those who were not from the film industry but loved the central idea, with their initial support, all pre-production work and songs could be shot.
To contribute for the film the crowdfunding campaign can be accessed here :
The film was supposed to release in 2020 but due to several reasons including the challenges that everybody is currently facing over the last few months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it couldn't release. So now the team has decided to release it in 2021 on the silver screens all over Maharashtra.
You can write to director Shailesh Narwade