The radio nostalgia

Vinaya Patil
Thursday, 12 April 2018

Sagar Vanjari, director of upcoming Marathi film Redu tells us about the international journey of his movie, the nomination to state film awards and the story of innocence

Director Sagar Vanjari’s film Redu is in the news for all the right reasons. This film was screened at the 39th Cairo International Film Festival 2017 and the 23rd Kolkata International Film Festival 2017, after first being screened at the 48th International Film Festival of India 2017. Produced by Naval Sarda, the film stars Shashank Shende, Chhaya Kadam, Gauri Konge, Vinam Bhabal and Mrunmayee Supal among others.

The movie has now been nominated for the Maharashtra State Film Awards 2018. The nominations have been in nine categories including Best Writer, Best Lyricist, Best Actor etc. The awards will be declared on April 30. “Most people wonder about the name of our movie. To clear their doubts first, it’s just a mis-pronunciation of the word ‘Radio’,” says director Vanjari.

Redu is the story of Tatu and his family, set in the 1970s. A short tempered, irate middle-aged man living in a small village, Tatu is fascinated to see a radio, a small portable transistor, for the first time in his life. Circumstances allow him to possess a radio himself. The gadget makes his ordinary life full of excitement and fun. Tatu soon gets very attached to the radio but a sudden twist makes him embark on a quest. “Redu is a simple story of one man’s life, love, values and his will to go on, framed against the spectacular backdrop of rural Konkan,” explains the debutant director.

Vanjari has in the past edited a number of award-winning movies. Having been in the industry for more than a decade, he jumped at the thought of direction when this script came by.

“Nostalgia and modernity come together in the theme of Redu. For a certain generation, it will signify nostalgia, reminding them of the days when the radio represented the ultimate escape from their routine lives; at the same time, the film preempts the onslaught of media we see around us today. It’s also a portrayal of social changes brought about by the anticipation of the new. There is no preaching, just a sweet story,” Pune-based Vanjari says.

Vanjari tells us that around 54 people from the Konkan region have acted in the film and their innocence shows. “People are now telling me that the movie is giving them the Malgudi Days feel. An old man at the screening actually had tears of nostalgia in his eyes,” Vanjari says of Redu, which will release commercially on May 18.

Speaking of his experience, Vanjari says that the recreation of the period in the film needed a lot of research, as the accurate depiction of the social life in the era is crucial for the impact of the film. “Initially the story was based in western Maharashtra but we chose Konkan for its beauty as well as innocence. We have tried to recreate the magic of the radio here, and what it meant for society at the time. This will also be the first feature film to be entirely shot in the Malvani dialect. The language has a certain sweetness,” says Vanjari who began his career editing short films, documentaries, music video collections.

His first edited feature film Investment won a National Award in 2012, after which he received awards for movies like Ranga Patanga, Koti, Lalka Paag where he not only played editor but also acted as the post production supervisor.

His next venture, Video Parlour will see him as a producer with his Blink Studios.

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