Nagaraj Manjule did not like the word introduction. If you point out to him that he made his debut in Hindi, he brushes it off. But whether it is debut or not, it is unusual for a filmmaker to enter into Hindi films. Nagaraj, a well-known Marathi director for films like Foundry and Siret, was all set to make his Hindi debut with Amitabh Bachchan starrer Zunt. But there were other plans for the epidemic. Due to the delay in the release of Jund, Nagaraj has created a 30-minute short film called Vaikunth as part of Unbastu: Naya Safar, a collection of stories related to the epidemic streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Uninterrupted: In a conversation with us in the post of Naya Safar Release, National Award winning filmmaker Naya Safar talks about the emotional number of creating Vaikuntha, breaking the language barrier and delaying the release of Zund.
Vaikundam tells the story of a crematorium worker during the second wave of the Kovit-19 epidemic. Nagaraj says he was inspired by the true story of asking a crematorium to evacuate the house during an outbreak. “I like to tell stories that others may or may not tell,” he says. “We’ve all heard of doctors, policemen and many others being referred to as leading personnel. But these guys do not work day and night. I do not hear much about them in the news. So, I wanted to tell them. The story.”
But it is not easy to tell such a bad story, the filmmaker agrees, which made him depressed at times. He says, “The whole world went through this difficult phase. I saw it very passionately. I played the lead role, when I like acting, it’s harder than directing. So it was all hard. They were shooting in the middle of nowhere. All of this made me depressed. I got a closer look at what the ground workers were doing at the time. “
Vaikundam has been receiving successful reviews. But the director did not see this as an attempt to break the barrier. “Sadness and happiness are never Hindi or Marathi. Whatever the language, the content is important, the way the stories are told is important. It just stays that way,” he says.
Now Nagaraj can get ready for his next project Jund. The biopic is based on the life of Professor Vijay Parse, who inspired slum children to form a football team. The film, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Akash Dosar and Ringu Rajguru, was originally slated for release in September 2019. After that, it was postponed several times.
Nagaraj promised that the film would be released and that it would be in theaters. “It’s been so long since it was made and it’s too late. I want it to be released in theaters myself. I’ve been trying a lot and fighting for it. The entire film crew has come together in support of me. We’ll all try to get it now. It’s coming out in theaters in a timely manner.”
read more: Uninterrupted 2 Review: Nagaraj Manjule, Ayyappa KM provide solid entries in the series
Non-stop: Naya Safar also features the stories of Nupur Astana, Ayyappa KM, Rusir Arun and Shika’s son. The set, starring Shreya Dhanwantari, Brianshu Pineuli, Saqib Saleem, Ashish Verma, Gitanjali Kulkarni and Nina Kulkarni, started streaming on Amazon Prime Video on January 21st.