Going musical with Subodh Bhave

Actor Subodh Bhave speaks of his directorial debut ‘Katyar Kaljat Ghusli’, based on the legendary sangeet natak or musical play. He talks to us about acting, directing and the direction in which Marathi movies are heading…

It is the time for talented actors to turn directors. Production is not the only avenue they want to stick to. On the Marathi film horizon, the recent name to join the group of actor turned director is Subodh Bhave, who needs no introduction. For his directorial debut, he has choosen a monumental play as the base – Katyar Kaljat Ghusli. The play was written by Purshottan Dharvekar and Hindustani Classical vocalist Vasantrao Deshpande made it a landmark, with his acting, voice and screen presence. This sangeet natak (musical play in Marathi) has been revived by Vasantrao’s grandson, Rahul Deshpande. The revived play had Subodh doing the role of Kaviraj in it. In the film, you will see him in the role of Sadashiv. The muhurat shot of the film took place on the Film and Television of India (FTII) grounds, with acclaimed actor Dr Shreeram Lagoo as the Chief Guest.
Subodh accepts that he did not have any connection with sangeet nataks earlier in her theatre life, but got into it, thanks to Rahul Deshpande. “He asked me for Katyar… when I had turned my back on plays. While doing it, I understood how popular it was. The subject or story could be a musical play of any ages. I also realised that there has been no musical film in recent times. Here, I have a rich and big subject and people have a connection with the sangeet natak.” The entire script and screenplay took two-and-half years to be prepared.
The film is a period film, but viewers will be able to connect with it, Subodh points. “It is based in the pre-independence era when there was a gradual decline in patronage and many patrons were disappearing. The topic is beautiful and till date, people come for the play, not just because of the play’s background but for us too,” he admits. Some of the names associated with the film are Rahul Deshpande and Mahesh Kale from the revived play who will be providing their voices for the movie. The now-legendary music by Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki has been retained. “I consider Panditji as my guru, though I have never been trained under him. As an artist in general, he has given a lot to all of us. He had never given music to films, and this will be his first.”

Subodh feels the music has magic of its own and if one can, one should show it. And despite being set in an different era, he feels nowhere it will be irrelevant. “Acclaimed writer Prakash Kapadia has written the script in Marathi for the first time. His powerful writing has created a different world. Times are changing, but emotions are the same . We have caught that and it will be the basis for our film.”
If one feels the Subodh might be moving toward directing films, think again as he himself is not sure of that. “But I felt I should go into direction with this play. I do not know what magic they created, but I wanted to bring it forth. I had thought of Balgandharva, but never felt like directing it.” The cast will be revealed in a short while.
Till then, we wait for the masterpiece to come on the silver screen.