To mobilize donations for Marathi film Jayanti that explores relevance of ideas of anti-caste thinkers like Phule, Savitri, Shahu, Ambedkar.

Jayanti, for many, is merely a celebration of the birth anniversaries of the socio-political thinkers who were instrumental in bringing a social change of which our generation is a beneficiary. Some people see it as an occasion to eulogize and recollect the contributions of these great leaders. Though these modes of celebrating and remembering these icons are necessary, is it really sufficient to take their caravan ahead and ensure the change that these icons envisaged? 

Marathi feature film ‘Jayanti’ taking an example of Ambedkar Jayanti, poses this uncomfortable but important question and makes an attempt to find an answer. Through a carefully crafted influence of the ideas of various social icons, the film depicts the transformation of the protagonist from a misguided Bahujan youth to a socially responsible citizen and a role model in the contemporary socio-political context. 

‘Jayanti’ is a two-hour Marathi feature film with English subtitles. It deals with a very thought-provoking subject of personal and social transformation in an entertaining way. The characters, the visuals, the symbols, the dialogues, and the language all are aligned to the central idea of the film. This alignment in the film was ensured through research support provided by a US-educated social scientist and social movement veteran. 

The film has celebrated actors such as Milind Shinde, Kishor Kadam, Paddy Kamble, Anjali Joglekar, and Amar Upadhyay, apart from the new pair of lead actor and actress (names not revealed as part of strategy).

It has music composed by an internationally famed music director, Mangesh Dhakde, and four melodious songs in the voice of singer Javed Ali and others. The film’s crew includes experienced and award-winning technicians, most of whom have graduated from FTII - India’s premier film institute. The film was shot on Arri Alexa, the camera that is used to shoot top Bollywood films.

The idea of this film came to me in April 2016 when I saw many big and small social movements and organizations in India and abroad preparing for and organizing the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. The Jayanti was celebrated in almost every nook and corner of the country including on social media with great zeal. However, the way in which some of the celebrations were organized, especially those witnessed by me, it triggered a few questions in my mind. 

I started wondering what will happen to those youth who are giving so much of their time and energy for such celebrations? How do such celebrations align with the purpose of their lives? Do they even have any purpose in life? How can Jayanti become a catalyst and therefore also a true occasion for celebration of not only the icons but also the transformation of these youth? The more I thought about it, the more I realized the complexity of the subject and eventually realized that perhaps a full-length feature film script could be a good way to explore answers to these questions.

The film's shooting and editing has been completed. The shooting was done in two schedules of a total of 28 days. The film’s four songs have also been composed and recorded. 

The proposed fund mobilization is for remaining post-production work, promotion, and release. 

We have very respected and highly-experienced people who are working as a team to take up this initiative ahead.

Shailesh Narwade (Writer-Director) I (Shailesh) have worked in print and electronic media for 10 years such as The Hitavada in Nagpur and The Free Press Journal, Reliance Communications, and Network18 in Mumbai. Simultaneously, I have also done a theater-my passion- for over a decade. One of my plays won a Maharashtra Government award while a recent one - Maseeha, a political satire, was selected for IPTA’s prestigious national festival at Patna in 2018. I also made my first feature film 'Roommates', a crime thriller, in 2017. For undertaking these initiatives, I established a company Meliorist Film Studio and it is under this banner that Jayanti is being produced. 

Dr Anand Bankar (Co-Producer) Anand is a Nagpur-based Bahujan entrepreneur and philanthropist, who is passionate about the central idea of this film. An accidental film producer, he is trained as a fire safety engineer from prestigious institutions in India, New Zealand, and France and also holds a PhD in Disaster Management & Crisis. He is a Founder & Director of the National Institute of Fire & Safety Engineering, Nagpur, Dr Bankar Research & Development Center, Hyderabad, and London School of Fire & Safety Engineers, London.  

Milind is National Creative Head with 91.9 Radio Orange, an FM radio headquartered at Nagpur. He had started his career in the creative world as RJ and is known for popular shows like 'Purani Jeans’ on Radio Mirchi and ‘Salaam Nagpur’ on My FM. He is the founder of RJ training academy ‘Art Pickle’, and online Marathi radio ‘Radio Jhakaas Marathi’. He also organizes eXpressions Film Festival at Nagpur.

The film has celebrated actors such as Milind Shinde, Kishor Kadam, Paddy Kamble, Anjali Joglekar, and Amar Upadhyay, apart from the new pair of lead actor and actress (whose names are not being revealed at this moment as part of strategy).

Mangesh Dhakde is an FTII Graduate and an internationally acclaimed music director, who has worked on Bollywood films such as Article 15, Thappad, Lipstick Under My Burkha, and Marathi films such as Deool, Narbachi Wadi.

Guru Thakur is a well-known lyricist, screenwriter, and actor in Marathi cinema. He has worked on popular Marathi films including Natarang, Zenda, Balak Palak, Timepass, Lai Bhaari, Natsamrat, and Narbachi Wadi. 

Javed Ali is a well-known Bollywood singer, who has worked with the best music directors of the industry and has given voice to super-hit songs of films such as Rockstar, Dabangg 3, Rowdy Rathore, Wanted, Raanjhna.  

Santosh Gilbile is a sought-after makeup designer in the Marathi cinema. He has worked for Bollywood film Manikarnika, and Marathi films such as Shala, Kaagar, Deeol, Raakshas, Killa, Harishchandrachi Factory.

Yogesh Koli is an FTII Graduate and an experienced cinematographer, who has worked on Bollywood film Turtle, and Marathi films such as Khichik, Blanket, Ghoda, Marathi Tigers

Rohan Patil is best known for his work in the National Award-winning Marathi film Khwada. He has also edited Marathi films such as Khichik, Blanket, Ghoda.

Ashish Shinde is an FTII Graduate and a passionate sound recordist, who has worked for Marathi films Zollywood and Kaasav, and popular Hindi web-series Panchayat and Kota Factory.

The main challenge the project faced was/is on the financial front. The unsaid ideological reservations over the central idea of the film and entry barriers to the Bahujan filmmakers in a highly-closed film industry made it difficult for us to raise the funds through traditional film financers. Therefore, we had to work really hard to raise the funds from alternative sources, especially those who were not from the film industry but loved the central idea. With their initial support, we could do all pre-production work and finish the shooting and songs. 

Initially, we had planned to release the film in April 2020 around the time when Jayanti of Jyotiba Phule and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar is celebrated, but this couldn't be done due to several reasons. Whereas shooting started a little late due to prolonged mobilization of funds, we were forced to take breaks in the shooting schedule due to fast-changing weather conditions. However, this was nothing in front of what challenges we are currently facing over the last four months during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.  

Now with gradual relaxations in lockdown, we want to complete the remaining post-production work, print, marketing, and distribution as soon as possible and release the film on an appropriate date.

At this point, there is no further anticipated risk. The only thing is further delay in the completion of the film may increase the project cost. Besides, those who have already invested their hard-earned money and precious time in this project, desperately want the film to release at the earliest. They have witnessed many twists and turns in the project and any further delay may disappoint and discourage them from supporting similar socially creative ventures of socially responsible Bahujan artists in the future.

-We have completed the film’s shooting and editing. 

-We shot the film on Arri Alexa, the camera that is used to shoot top Bollywood films.

-The shooting was done in two schedules of a total of 28 days. 

-Film’s four songs have been composed and recorded.

We have completed the film’s shooting and editing and we look forward for your kind and generous contribution. We request you to help us in funding our initiative and take it one step ahead.

Shailesh Narwade


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10896 lives have changed as a result of donors' support.

The central idea of the film is close to the heart of Bahujan masses who form the majority of the film audience in India.
It is made by passionate and competent Bahujan artists to compliment the work that writings and speeches do in catalyzing social change.
It is need of hour that Bahujan artists inspired by Phule-Ambedkarite ideas must be promoted so that films are made without any compromises.