Thursday, January 24, 2008

Konkani film "SAVALEE"

New Konkani Film ' SAVALEE' Shooting at Campal

Now, what is Savalee ? Could it be 'Shadow'?
If so, in Roman konkani Lipi/Script it would be 'Savlli' oR 'Saulli'

It's a bi-lingual film (simultaneously shot/Dubbed in Marathi/Konkani)

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Shadows of Time

Namita Nivas
Posted online: Friday, January 19, 2007 at 0000 hours IST

Shivendu Aggarwal’s musical-film Savalee bagged the Screen award this year. The elated first-time producer talks about his film which is based on a mother-daughter relationship ...

Savalee is your first film and you have bagged an award for it. How does it feel?
Well, it feels great. I only wish my father was alive to see me get the award. I am happy he saw my debut venture before he passed away recently. I want to thank God, my mother and all my friends specially my best friends Dr Akhil Parulkar and Dr Sujay Dangi and colleagues for all their support. But most of all I want to thank my director Rajendra Talak.

GD Aggarwal, your father, was a producer of Hindi films. Why then did you opt to make a Marathi-Konkani bilingual? Are you familiar with the language?
Way back in the late ‘40s, my father helped launch the career of BR Chopra. They made over four films together. Since we have been out of touch with the industry for a long time, I wanted to make a sensible, well-budgeted film. I did not want to play with money and make some senseless, run-of--the-mill kind of film.

To be honest, I understand Marathi as it was the first language that I learnt as a kid since the domestic help at home was a Maharashtrian. But as I grew up and she left us, I lost touch. Now I don’t speak it at all. I think creativity and the medium of film crosses the boundary of language. The visual medium is so strong that whatever the language, a good film can touch any heart and mind.

Does the film deal with the mother-daughter relationship or is it about the guru-shishya parampara?
It depends on how you look at it. I think it is a bit of both. The mother in the film is also the guru.

It sounds so much like the Shabana Azmi-film Saaz in Hindi.
I have heard the name of the film. I have not seen it though. I have no idea about its storyline. But with Shabana Azmi in it, I am sure it must have been a great film. She is a brilliant actor and a very kind person.

Your film is based on music. Why have you titled it Savalee?
Savalee means shadow. My film emphasises on the fact that one cannot reach his/her true potential under the shadow of a famous parent, just like a small plant in the shadow of a big tree cannot reach its full growth. The film relates to the relationship of the daughter with her mother, who is a very well-known classical singer, and the girl who wants to create her own identity, and that too quickly.

Why did you select Rajendra Talak to direct your film?
When I met Rajan through a friend, he narrated a story that he was planning to make in Konkani. Since I liked the narration, I encouraged and literally forced him to make it in Marathi as well. I had seen his first film, Ayeesha in Konkani in bits and pieces. I was enamoured by his shot-taking and the placement of the characters. In five minutes, I decided I would go ahead and make the film with Rajan as the director. And here we are. My first film, his first Marathi film and my first award.

Since it is a music-based film, what made you opt for Ashok Patki as composer?
What can I say about Patki-saab? He is brilliant. I am more than satisfied with his music and I will continue to work with him. He is a very humble person. The classical songs in the film are in Hindi and the pop songs in Marathi. Savalee has the right mix of both classical and pop music. Good, sensible, evergreen music - that’s what we have tried to give the audience.

For a newcomer, how did you manage to get the famous Debu Deodhar to do camerawork for your film?
There is one thing that I must say here and that is, I only work with people who are down-to-earth and humble and not with someone who has a chip on his shoulder. Debu Deodhar is not only a very humble but a very caring man. I have a lot to learn from him. He is a great cinematographer.

And why did you think of Reema for the role of the mother?
The day I saw the first trial of the film, I hugged Reema. As far as I am concerned, she is one of the most expressive and brilliant actor the industry has today. I really wish she had won the Best Actor Award for the film. Reema has performed beyond anyone’s expectations in this film. I look forward to working with her again, and soon.

Was it easy for you to convince Amruta Subhash to play this role?
Amruta has been cast in the film only because she is talented. She has no airs and is a very down-to-earth and straightforward person who is always laughing and enjoying herself. That is what I like about her. Rajan had no problems convincing her to act in the film, as far as I know.

Tell me more about the film and the cast.
The role of the father is a very important and balancing factor in the film. Pradeep Welankar has done a great job as the father. Urmila Kanetkar, another good actor, has also performed very well. Swapnil will grow as an actor in time to come. He, of course, is a good singer as well.

How long did it take to complete the film?
Savalee was completed in one-long shooting schedule of 34 days. And as a first-time producer, surprisingly, it was a very smooth-sailing experience for me. I enjoyed my job and plan to continue making more films.

Before getting to making films, in what profession have you been busy?
I am the director and CEO of NEIF Ltd, a 58-year-old media company which was founded by my father. We distribute multimedia training aids on Safety, Management, Technical and Police Training subjects throughout India which have been produced from the world over. We also sell these educational material for broadcasting on different channels. We have also been producing short management films. Seeing the world’s best short films has given me great exposure to great work and talent of some of the best producers and directors from the world over.

Coming back to films, now that you have a winner on hand, what are your further plans as far as films are considered?
I am grateful to all the jury members of Screen for giving me this award. I will continue to make sensible, intelligent films that touch the heart. The script is the essence of any good film. I am working on two ideas with which I want to go on the floors. One is a period film with the 1971 war with Pakistan as the backdrop and stretches from 1947 to the present time. I am looking for a new girl for the film and may either direct it or co-direct it. Again it’s more a woman-based film. It’ll be a bi-lingual again; hopefully Hindi and English this time. I don’t really think that the language a film is made in is important as long as it touches the heart of people. It is the visual medium which is very powerful.

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