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'Dombivali Fast' bags two awards at film fest

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
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Marathi director Nishikant Kamat's much acclaimed psycho-thriller "Dombivali Fast" recently won two unprecedented awards - for best producer and best film - at the Asian Festival of 1st Films in Singapore.

"I couldn't be there in Singapore because I'm shooting the film's Tamil version in Chennai. But my producer was there. If it wasn't a Marathi film, 'Dombivali Fast' might have got a much larger audience. But I feel every film has its own rhythm, flavour and language," Kamat told IANS.

"When I made the film, I didn't even know how films were taken to festivals," said the director whose film, at the last count, had won 34 awards at international and national festivals.

Kamat attributes the film's reach to fellow-filmmaker Anurag Kashyap.

"Anurag's American friend Christina saw the film with a theatre audience in Mumbai. She selected it for the Indian Film Festival in LA and it went on to win the grand jury award for best film. Suddenly, the entire world woke up to my film!

"God has been extremely kind," said the modest director who came to the industry in 1990s as a TV director.

"I directed serials for nearly six years. Unfortunately television directors were looked down on, so I switched to writing screenplays. I'm the culprit behind Deepak Shivdasani's 'Julie'. Yes, I wrote it," he laughs.

Finally, he directed his first film about a common man, played by Sandeep Kulkarni, who looses his life in the everyday rut of life.

The film ran uninterrupted for 28 weeks in Pune.

"Marathi cinema still doesn't get a strong distribution circuit. In Maharashtra they prefer watching Hindi to Marathi films whereas in Tamil Nadu they prefer Tamil films.

"But with some films, like mine, things are changing. When my film was released 'Ek Ajnabee' and 'Neal N' Nikki' got all the theatres."

Now this Mumbai-centric film about the commuter's nightmare has been shifted to Chennai where Kamat is directing it in Tamil with R. Madhavan in the lead.

"Luckily, in Chennai too the common man commutes by train. However, let me tell you, though it's a film about the travails of the Indian working class. But every member of the audience in the globe has identified with the frustrations of a common man."

Peculiarly Abbas and Mustan are producing the Tamil version of Kamat's "Dombivali Fast".

"I was writing two films with them. They were shooting abroad for 50 days when I shot and edited my entire film. When they returned I shocked them by asking them to attend my premiere. Luckily, for me, they were impressed and decided to turn producer for the Tamil version of my film.

"I wasn't excited about a Hindi version. It'd have been a repetition of what I had done in Marathi. But here in Chennai I'm giving the entire theme a new look and texture. Though 80 percent of the script is the same but I'm changing the nuances."

Kamat arrived in Chennai two months in advance.

"I've learnt some of the language. And I'm being helped with the nuances of the Tamil language by my hero Madhavan and three Tamil assistants.

"Madhavan is having a gala time doing something so real. I've realised he has so much potential. And he's hungry to try different roles. He was itching to do something so real."

A Hindi version of "Dombivali Fast" is also on the anvil. Probably Abbas-Mustan will direct it.


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