After assisting well-known and commercial filmmakers like Prabhudheva and Madhur Bhandarkar, Ashish Bhelkar is gearing up for the release of his debut Marathi film 31 Divas, that revolves around three central characters played by Shashank Ketkar, Mayuri Deshmukh and Reena Aggarwal. Releasing on July 20, the film is produced by Bharathan Suresh Babu.
The young director says that story is quite different. “Usually people expect that if the film has one hero and two heroines, it’s going to be a love triangle but it’s not a love story. These two characters played by Mayuri and Reena are very important in his (Shashank) life, without whom he cannot do anything. They are the pillars in his life,” he says, adding, “The story goes on an emotional track and highlights the never-say-die attitude of humans.”
The film gives out an important message but in an entertaining manner. “This is quite difficult for a first-time director,” says Ashish, to which Shashank adds, “Because there’s a thin line between the two.”
In spite of working with commercial filmmakers in the past, Ashish selected such an unconventional script. “For the past two years, my writer Umesh Jangam and I have working on this story. Though it is unconventional, it’s out-and-out commercial. So, I have kept both Prabhu sir and Madhur sir’s style of filmmaking,” he adds.
Shashank, who worked in Marathi serials and a movie, says that this role is different from the kind of roles he has done earlier. “This film is about a boy who comes to a blind school to direct a play. Meanwhile, he is writing a film script. They start shooting for the film, during which they face a challenging situation. How he arises from that is what the film shows. I have got this boy-next-door image and this role will help me break that image,” he says.
To this, Reena, who has worked in Bollywood film — Behen Hogi Teri, says her character is quite challenging. “I was looking for characters which would be challenging and hatke. When I heard the script for the first time, I realised it’s a difficult role and for which I would have to work very hard. I was scared if I would be able to play the character or not. When you’re playing such a difficult role in the initial phase of your career, it definitely worries you — whether you will be able to do justice to the role or not,” says Reena who is playing the role of the principal at the blind school.
The actress says that she loved the pace and the graph of the story. “The script was very tight and I knew that while shooting, Ashish would make it even more tighter,” she says.
Before starting work on the film, the cast had a combined workshop which helped in breaking the ice. Ask them about their South Indian producer and Ashish says that though Bharathan Suresh Babu has produced films down South, he wanted to work in Marathi films because of they are content-driven. “We had full support of Suresh Babu and there was no interference from his part,”he concludes.