Woman with a vision

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 29 Oct 2018 12:51:24


By Aasawari Shenolikar,

Gachchi, Sanngto Aika, Pipsi, Redu, Ringan and Vazandar, from Landmarc production company, launched byVidhi Kasliwal in 2011 have been selected for the My Marathi Film Festival being held in Nagpur.

S HE can put any good looking heroine to shame with her allure, but this beautiful lady, who has roots in Hindi film industry, chose to work behind the camera. That she is intelligent and very articulate, with a clear vision is evident when you interact with her. What also comes across during the tete-a-tete is that she is very passionate about her craft and is totally in love with Marathi cinema. Vidhi Kasliwal, CEO and founder of Landmarc films that has produced many award winning Marathi films is what one calls - a beauty with brains. After having assisted Sooraj Barjatya in quite a few films, the talented director could gauge her hunger for spreading her wings in the industry. He told her to stand on her own feet.

“I wanted to find my voice and so I started watching a lot of world cinema and regional cinema. It was then that the world of Marathi cinema opened up to me. I found that the content was rich, people were making films with subjects that were striking and bold. And that was the time I decided that this is what I wanted - to be a part of the Marathi film industry. It all happened by chance,” explains Vidhi, who grew up in a hardcore Hindi speaking environment and had no Marathi background whatsoever. As of now, Marathi cinema, she feels is in a happy space. “With each new film that is being churned out, it is getting better and better,” she says.

“The content has always been vivid, but now the quality and technicalities are also improving. With filmmakers tackling rural as well as urban subjects, the stories are opening up new horizons. The creativity has always been there. What we need to do now is to promote it aggressively and tap into the business side as well. There is a dire need to increase the cinema going habit in our country. So the production and distribution team has to work in sync with each other to see that the films reach out to more and more people.” She further adds that cinema in our country, unlike for example in the European countries, is not an art form.

It is purely a form of entertainment. “But Marathi cinema balances out the two forms - it is an amalgamation of art and entertainment.” Vidhi is not only into production. This highly creative lady has also written and directed films. With such a varied experience, what has she learnt from during her journey so far? “Whether it is regional cinema or Hindi cinema, the effort that goes into making the film is the same. Every film teaches you something.

I try to learn a lot from how the audience reacts to the cinema. And then try to improve on the lacunas that I discover in this process. The process teaches you to experiment, and it encourages you to go beyond the normal and do something that will stand out. Marathi film industry has been very kind to me and I am grateful they have accepted me warmly with open arms,” she states.

Her recent initiative FilmShala - Connecting theatres to classrooms - a state level film appreciation competition is designed around Landmarc’s Latest release Pipsi. And she is pretty excited about this initiative. Wanting to break barriers, and experiment with something different, what set her thinking was when she took the film Pipsi to ZLIN International film festival for children. “I was amazed to see schools bringing in second standard students to watch the movie. From such a young age they encourage the children to interpret and think about varied subjects.

That was an impetus for me.” She was already thinking on these terms that, in our country, there is not enough content for children. They either watch some cartoons, or a stray animated film comes to liven up their life, or they have to be content with some slapstick kind of comedy that is clearly not in good taste. What she witnessed at ZLIN when Pipsi was being showcased egged her to finally give shape to FilmShala - Connecting theatres to classrooms. “During the first edition, we took the movie to schools in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur too.

We showed them in English medium schools and the response was tremendous. When kids came up with comments like ‘Arrey, Marathi cinema is good,’ that was a huge reward. We have to change what the children watch so that they can become a better audience of cinema in future.” While Vidhi is absolutely gung ho about the way the Marathi cinema is shaping up, she also is aware of the threat being posed by home entertainment mediums like Netflix and Amazon Prime where one can sit and watch a movie in the cozy confines of one’s home. Ask her if this will not eat into the theatre going audience and she replies,“Initially yes, but I feel it will balance out.

See when TV entered our drawing rooms, we thought cinema theatres would close down. Nothing like that happened.Where personal intimate stories are concerned, I think digital media is a great tool. In fact digital media is posing a challenge for the filmmakers to make better content, visually larger than life and rich content that will pull the people to the multiplexes.We have to push our boundaries and excel in this craft,” says Vidhi. Production is not an easy job, it’s a job with a lot of pressure and responsibility and it’s a job where one has to juggle so many things and ensure that the filmmaking process goes off smoothly. But this exemplary lady has set an example for during the course of her journey, she has broken barriers and created Landmarcs.