Filmmaker Chaitanya Tamhane is a happy man lately. His second feature film, The Disciple, has won at two of the biggest film festivals on the planet. The director says the accolades act as an important achievement for the independent film movement in India.
Tamhane’s Marathi-language film bagged Best Screenplay award and the International Critics’ Prize by FIPRESCI at the 77th Venice Film Festival. The last Indian film to win the FIPRESCI award at Venice was Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s “Mathilukal” in 1990. And now, the film has won the Amplify Voices Award presented by Canada Goose at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival. This is the third award for the film during its back-back film festival journey.
“We didn’t make the film with any expectations. We made a film which we believed in and had conviction, and hoped for the best. The reception of the film has exceeded our expectations,” Chaitanya told IANS.
“We are just so grateful that the film has managed to come out in this year and is getting this kind of acceptance and recognition, and that too from two of the biggest film festivals in the world as Venice and Toronto. The awards mean a lot not just to the entire team of ‘The Disciple’, but also, I would say, to the independent film movement in India,” added the filmmaker.
Chaitanya feels “awards and recognition like this definitely gives the film a better profile, and a boost which one cannot plan for”.
“We are now looking forward to the rest of the journey of ‘The Disciple’,” he added.
The Marathi-language film is set in contemporary Mumbai and follows an Indian classical music vocalist who, after years of diligent training and tradition, begins to wonder whether it is really possible to achieve the excellence he strives for.
Tamhane had won wide acclaim at home as well as in the international festival circuit with his debut directorial effort, the Marathi film “Court” (2014). Oscar-winning filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron took to mentoring filmmaker Tamhane shortly after that, and has now executive-produced the new-age Indian director’s new film, “The Disciple”.
After winning the award at TIFF, Chaitanya said, “We are super excited. We are in lockdown in Mumbai and it’s news like this that brightens our day and gives us hope.”
“I would like to thank Cameron Bailey and the entire team of TIFF for selecting the film, and also the jury for giving us this award. I would like to dedicate this award to Vivek Gomber, the producer of the film, without whom all of this wouldn’t have been possible. And finally, I also want to thank the audiences of the film festival which make TIFF what it is, and which support our work and support our films. This means a lot to us,” he added.
–IANS, SUGANDHA RAWAL