'Shabri' director pens novel on its journey to release


By Dibyojyoti Baksi

Mumbai, Aug 30 (IANS) Actor-writer Lalit Marathe, who had to wait for five years for the release of his directorial debut "Shabri", made under Ram Gopal Varma Production, is clueless why it took so long, but utilised the period to pen "A Dog's Friday" essaying the journey from the making to the release of the film.

"It was ready for release in August 2006. It was almost like an unending kind of journey. I have no clue why it took so long to release. Nobody could give me a proper reason and now it doesn't matter as the film is here," Marathe told IANS of the movie that finally released Friday.

The director made sure that the waiting period was not wasted.

"There is this novel I have written, which would be published very soon, called 'A Dog's Friday' because I felt like a dog waiting for his Friday. It's about a director's journey till his film is released. It's almost an autobiography. It's an interesting story dealing with incidents during the making of 'Shabri'," Marathe said.

"It will be released in a while," he added.

Not for a day did Marathe lose hope of seeing his creation hit the theatres.

"My passion to finish this film drove me through these years. My passion was to direct the film and my job was not complete until it was released. I have put everything on stake to see that this film hits the theatres," he said.

A one-line idea, coined by filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma over a casual chat on the underworld amplified into a full-fledged film but Marathe was clueless he was going to direct it as well until he finished writing the script.

"It was RGV's idea. We were not thinking of writing a script or making a film. RGV and me were generally discussing about gangsters. Then he said why don't I write a script on a woman in a man's world. I agreed as I thought that I was writing for him. When I finished the script he thought as I have written it I should direct the film as well. That's how it took off," he said.

"Shabri" is a journey of women in the Mumbai underworld.

"I had read a lot about women in the underworld and wanted to capture their attitude. I sort of find reflection of my life in the character and in several characters in the film. It's a personal take. I have explored lots of personal lives and experiences of friends and families. So it's as close to a real story as can be.

"It's a film on the personal journey of a woman in the underworld and her emotional experiences," Marathe said.

Actress Isha Koppikar's cinematic understanding of how to carry off the character obliged him to sign her to play the protagonist, Marathe revealed.

"One thing is sure: that I wanted to do this film in a very real sort of way. It meant hours of make-up and rigorous shooting in the slums of Mumbai. We needed someone with cinematic intelligence to understand how the film would look like, what would be required from an artiste. I found that in Isha," said Marathe.

Unlike his distributors, he is confident that the film would cater to a global audience.

"I am very confident that the film would reach out to a global audience. My distributors do not share the same confidence as yet. They want it to be distributed in a periodic manner," he said.