Day 4:In conversation with director Umesh Kulkarni: Deool – The TempleConversations, Events & Happenings — By Neha K Kulkarni on January 15, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Director Umesh Kulkarni started his directorial journey with the movie Valu – The wild bull in 2008, followed by Vihir – The well in 2009. Umesh’s third movie Deool – The Temple which released in 2011, is part of the 10th Pune International Film Festival and has entered the Marathi Competition for the festival.
What is your driving force behind the movies that you make?
I wish to make movie on topics that I can relate to. I do not want to make movies only because the audience wants a certain kind of movie. Everyone wants their movies to work, but I will not make a movie only with the sole purpose of making money.
How did you come up with the plot of Deool?
We were in Saswad, shooting for the movie Valu. After the completion of the movie, we wanted to give something to the village people. They asked for money, so that they could renew the existing stone structure of the village temple and make it into a better place. It somehow amazed me, as to why would someone want to change the look of a beautiful temple and make it into something more commercial? This idea somehow stayed in my mind and that’s how the story of Deool came into existence.
Tell us more about Deool.
Deool is story about a village called Mangrul. Keshav, a village youth sees a dream where Lord Dattatrey makes an appearance. Thus, he spreads the news in the village. Soon the villagers wish built a temple in the village. The villagers agree as they feel its God’s wish to do so and that’s the reason why he makes an appearance in Keshav’s dream. This is how a small village turns into a holy place and the divinity of the temple is overtaken by the commercialization.
Greed has superseded faith. Is this what you wish to portray?
People something do not realise that innocence gets corrupted in the process of development. People are so engrossed in the whole process that they do not realise when corruption starts seeping in. They get so accustomed to the corruption, that as time passes they learn to live with it. Faith is a very personal aspect. The minute it turns into an institution, that’s where the problem starts arising. There is a thin line between faith and greed, one needs to be careful so that he doesn’t cross that line.
We normally do not see a lot of Hindi cinema actors as part of Marathi movies. How did Naseeruddin Shah become a part of this movie?
Naseeruddin Shah had seen my movie ‘Girni’ when I was studying in Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune. It was then that he told me, “Umesh, whenever you make a movie I would want to be part of it.” When I told him the story of Deool, he really loved the concept and agreed to be part of it.
We have heard that the song that you had featured in Deool, was protested. Why do you think people did that?
The people who had protested had not even seen the movie. So one does wonder why people who do so. Publicity on the basis of cinema is quite common. The people who watched the movie did not even feel the need to protest, so it is difficult to explain why the others did protest.
Your first two movies, Valu and Vihir were shot without any song. Why did you wish to put in a song in Deool?
Like I said before, I make movies where I can relate to the concept. In the first two movies, I did not feel the need to put in a song. It was possible for me to narrate the stories with using a song to do so. In Deool, I felt that a song was necessary to carry the story forward. I’m not against songs in movies, I just believe that it should be added only if it is required.
Do you have anything to say to your audience?
The movie Deool got a good response when it was released. I wish people enjoy watching it during PIFF 2012.
Umesh Kulkarni is a Marathi film director, born in 1976 in Pune. He has done a BA course besides acquiring a Law degree. He is an alumnus of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune. His film Vihir – The Well was featured in Berlin film festival and Rotterdam International Film Festival 2010, Holland. His debut film Valu – The wild bull was featured in the Berlin film festival.