Marathi Cinema Catches Bollywood’s Fancy

Bollywood’s abuzz about Karan Johar’s upcoming production Dhadak introducing Janhvi Kapoor and Ishaan Khatter. A remake of the 2016 Marathi blockbuster Sairat, the film has high standards and expectations to meet. In fact, the anticipation around Dhadak has placed the limelight on the recent spate of Marathi hits that are capturing the imagination of non-Marathi audiences.

Young actors, an engaging storyline, superb soundtrack and great production value catapulted Sairat into the big league of Rs 100 crore plus grossers. Based on the sensitive issue of casteism, Nagraj Manjule’s film found admirers among Bollywood bigwigs such as Aamir Khan, Irrfan Khan and Anurag Kashyap. The highest grossing Marathi film of all time, Sairat turned newcomers Rinku Rajguru and Akash Thosar into overnight sensations. Such was the craze for the film that shows as early as 3 AM were scheduled to accommodate the audience demand.

Sairat was not a flash in the pan as many other Marathi films have found acceptance among mainstream viewers. Breezy romantic comedy Muramba was a hit among young filmgoers and was one of last year’s highest grossing films. The Amey Wagh and Mithila Palkar starrer told the sweet and sour love story of a young and restless couple. The film is also available Netflix and is one of their most watched films. Actor Amey Wagh is on a roll and found success again in Aditya Sarpotdar’s detective thriller, Faster Fene. Produced by Riteish and Genelia Deshmukh’s Mumbai Film Company, the film was lapped up by non-Marathi audiences and ran to packed houses.

Spurred by young filmmakers, unconventional subjects and the State government’s proactive policies, Marathi cinema has witnessed a renaissance of sorts. Even though regional films face stiff competition from big budget Hindi films, they have carved a niche for themselves and amassed a loyal audience outside of the Marathi community.