IFFI 2021 GOA: The 52nd edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) took place in Goa. The nine-day film gala was organized in a hybrid format – virtual and physical – which went on till 28th November 2021. The opening ceremony was attended by Bollywood stars Salman Khan and Ranveer Singh. It also saw the presence of other popular faces like RiteishDeshmukh, GeneliaDeshmukh, ShraddhaKapoor, amongst others. Around 75 film celebrities attended the festival. Touted to be India’s largest festival, this year it honored Hollywood stalwart Martin Scorsese and celebrated Hungarian filmmaker IstevanSzabo with the Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement award.
Godavari is a 2021 Indian Marathi-language drama film directed by Nikhil Mahajan and produced by Jitendra Joshi, Mitali Joshi, PavanMalu and Nikhil Mahajan under the banner of Blue Drop Films. Starring NeenaKulkarni, Jitendra Joshi and VikramGokhale, the film tells a story of a family living on the banks of river Godavari in Nashik. It also had its world premiere at 2021 Vancouver International Film Festival on 4 October 2021. It then travelled to Wellington for its Asia Pacific premiere at the New Zealand International Film Festival.
‘Godavari’ has won two silver peacocks in the International Competition at the recently concluded 52nd IFFI, Goa. One for the Best Actor - Jitendra Joshi is the only Marathi actor to have won this honour. Special Jury Prize for directing went to Nikhil Mahajan. This is also a first for Marathi Cinema.
When asked to Nikhil Mahajan on how would you describe the journey of 'Godavari' from its inception to the film bagging two coveted awards at the recently concluded IFFI?
He said “It is nothing short of a dream. Jitendra and I started Godavari with the pure intent of making a film in memory of our friend Mr. Nishikant Kamat. We worked with a very small budget and against a crazy production schedule in the middle of a pandemic to make this happen. So while we were just very content with having made the film we wanted to make, to win such prestigious awards in an international competition is tremendously humbling.”
When asked to Jitendra Joshi on what are some of the small battles that the crew won along the course of the film's journey that allowed it to bag two awards at the prestigious film film?
He said “I think the biggest battle are crew won is completing the film in 16 days with senior actors onset amidst the first wave of covind maintaining the health of cast and crew was crucial and we went through it without any infections. there was a small accident on the second day of shoot where are director of photography slipped and fractured his tail bone it became difficult after that to finish the shoot in time and then there was a struggle we faced everyday. Everyone went above and beyond their responsibilities to help finish the film in time. That everyone felt it was their film is Nikhil and nine greatest success as producers.”
How do you intend to use the emotional and psychological boost of this win to push the boundaries in your upcoming projects?
Nikhil Mahajan said, “It is always extremely self-assuring to win an award that is so important. It makes me believe in the power of the stories I really want to tell. Additionally it is very confidence inspiring for producers and studios. I plan to use it as motivation to keep telling stories I truly believe in and not content which is driven by market demands.
In a hyper - connected world, how do you see the road ahead for Marathi cinema?
Actor Jitendra Joshi said, “Marathi cinema has always been ahead of the curve in terms of storytelling and content. Thanks to social media and the rise of OTTs the distribution challenges that arise because of regional content are being beaten. I see Marathi cinema rising and shining in years to come.”
Would you like to share a few details about the upcoming projects that are a part of your collaboration?
Jitendra Joshi said, “We are producing Raavsaheb, which is Nikhil’s directorial next along with NehhaPendseBayas and AkshayBardapurkar. Also producing VaibhavKhisti’s film and Night duty by another of Nikhil’s assistant, RohitSatpute.”
NikhilMahajan said,“We are starting work on my bed directorial Raavsaaheb which is being produced by NehhaPendseBayas, AkshayBardapurkar, Jitendra and myself. Additionally we are also producing VaibhavKhisti’s next directorial ‘ThodaTuza, ThodaMaza’. Both films are going on floors soon and will be ready for an early 2023 release.”