Deepika Tina Lobo
BENGALURU: Prantik Deshmukh, an ex-student of St Joseph College has won a Filmfare award for his Marathi short film ‘Matitali Kusti’. There were 1300 entries from all over the country out of which 44 films were short listed and two films won the best film award.
One from the fiction category and one from the non-fiction category. Deshmukh won the best film award in the non-fiction category. The award ceremony was held on January 15, 2017 and ‘Matitali Kusti’ was the only Marathi film in the category. The jury panel consisted of Vidya Balan, actress and directors like Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Gauri Shinde, Kabir Khan and Meghna Gulzar.
This Marathi short film showcases the struggle of the traditional wrestlers and their battle against the freestyle wrestling of the modern times to keep this ancient martial art form alive.It speaks about the difference between the traditional wrestling and mat wrestling.It also showcases how in earlier days people looked upon these wrestlers with respect and how ironic it is now for a ‘Maharashtra Kesari’ or ‘Hind Kesari’ title holder to perform menial jobs like that of a watchman.
Films based on wrestling like Sultan featuring Salman Khan and Dangal featuring Aamir Khan also released in the same year. Dangal won the Black Lady for the best feature film. Sultan and Dangal focused on wrestling, while ‘Matitali Kusti’ focused on traditional wrestling. It emphasized the importance of soil.
The 12 minutes short film was shot entirely in black and white.It was shot at Chinchechi Talim which is one of the oldest Talims in Maharashtra.
Prantik Deshmukh, 24, completed his graduation from St Joseph’s College, Bengaluru and his Masters in Mass Communication from the Savitribai Phule Pune University.
When asked as to why he chose this subject Deshmukh said, “I was searching for a subject for my documentary and happened to know about a Talim called Chinchechi Talim. It’s one of the oldest Talim in the country. I thought I’ll make a film on a wrestler’s life but as I met them I realised that this was a bigger problem that has to be brought to light.Also a three thousand year old art form is in the peak of extinction and no efforts have been taken to bring this forward. That is when I decided to make this film.”
“One more reason I wanted to make this film was, I have come from a small town called Yavatmal. It is known as the suicide capital of India. I realised that the farmers in my town are struggling in mati (soil) and when I came to Pune, these wrestlers were still struggling in the mati. I found this connection between a rural and an urban place. There were many film makers around that area but nobody noticed this issue whereas being an outsider I could relate to those wrestlers,”Deshmukh added.
Deshmukh received the award from Vidya Balan, actress in the presence of other celebrities like Shahrukh Khan, Karan Johar, Amitabh Bachchan and so on. “The moment I stood on the stage and turned back I saw Amitabh Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Alia Bhat and other celebrities looking at me. That was an overwhelming moment and I didn’t know how to go about it. I was a little nervous but I gave a speech for about 40 seconds. I even requested Salman Khan and Aamir Khan to watch my film,” said Deshmukh.
“I had to do a lot of research for this film. I finally won the Filmfare award. I was surprised. People in my town are very happy. I’m also getting calls from many journalists,” he added.
Deshmukh started making films without any professional training. Earlier he had directed and won an award for a short film called ‘Autumn of life’ in the Student National Awards while graduating in St Joseph’s College. The award ceremony was telecasted on Doordarshan channel. Deshmukh thanked Fr Richard Rego SJ, Research Director, SJC and Johnson Rajkumar, HOD, Department of Communications, SJC who were his professors during his graduation. The award ceremony was telecasted on February 18, 2017 on SONY.