Every time you meet Dr Jabbar Patel, you end up with a smile. The veteran filmmaker whose kitty includes films like Sinhasan, Umbartha, Jait Re Jait, Samna, Mukta and Ek Hota Vidushak, is an honest soul who prefers reaching people through such work. His work showed the human angle in the social-political dramas very well. And after a long time, he is coming to his beloved Marathi audience with a political biopic, Yeshwantrao Chavan – Bakhar Eka Vadalachi. It is on the life of Maharashtra’s first chief minister whose influence on the state’s development and politics is lasting.
When asked about what made him think of making a film on Chavan, Patel spoke about being approached by the Yeshwantrao Chavan Pratishthan for making the film. “I was stuck between making a documentary or a full-length feature film. It is recent history. So I waited for a while before I decided to make it into a feature film. Also Sharad Pawar too wanted it.” For those who have quizzed looks on their faces with this connection, Chavan was Pawar’s political mentor and heads the Prathisthan. He also dismisses any chat about the tightrope walk regarding controversies while making a film on a political figure. He prefers calling his attempt as an honest one and one can choose between watching it or turning their backs to it.
While making the film, Patel’s tough task revolved around the fact that Chavan led a vast life which probably involved loads of incidences. “There are many things happening that to put it in two-and-half hours is difficult. But what I liked about Chavan was the purity in his life. He was a transparent being. He was also very democratic and had complete belief in the constitution.” He feels Chavan’s autobiography is quite important and interesting. According to Patel, Chavan was a multifaceted person with interest in many things. For this film, Patel has joined hands with Arun Sadhu, a veteran journalist and writer on whose books Patel’s acclaimed film Sinhasan is based. Patel reveals that he believes in Sadhu, the same he believed in Vijay Tendulkar, with whom he collaborated on a few films.
While talking about Sinhasan, Patel remembers, “When I was making the film, I had met Sharad Pawar and when he came to know about the film, he said that many have fought for freedom. So when they become politicians, they are who they really are as people. When I am making a film on politics, I have to keep one thing in mind that the dignity of the house and democracy must be kept intact.”
Patel was happy in talking about the film in Pune which he calls the door to Maharashtra. In fact, quite a few Puneri names can be found in the film, including Om Bhutkar who plays the young Yeshwantrao Chavan and Satish Alekar. “Making such a film is a strong a difficult challenge. Though I do biopics, I also like variations in subjects.” He reveals that this is the last 35MM film to be made in India and will be converted into digital film. He feels this change will give the film a different look.
On a parting note, Patel feels the film Yeshwantrao Chavan will be a revelation to one and all. “Everyone will know about him, and one can be analytical about it.”