‘I have fully enjoyed this experience and the challenges’

Debarati Palit Singh
Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Rohit Shelatkar, co-producer of Panipat: The Great Betrayal, believes that such stories will be great inspiration for the younger generation

There are several period dramas lined up for release in Bollywood including Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Panipat: The Great Betrayal, Ajay Devgn’s Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior and Karan Johar’s Takht. These films promise to tell stories of bravery that will connect with the audience. 

While there is not much known about the production of Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior and Takht, Panipat: The Great Betrayal is creating the right kind of buzz on social media. The film starring Sanjay Dutt, Arjun Kapoor and Kriti Sanon is set to release later this year. 

The epic tale is being produced by Ashutosh and Sunita Gowarikar’s production house  AGPPL and Rohit Shelatkar’s Vision World. Well-known musical composers Ajay-Atul have been roped in for the soundtrack.  

Rohit, who is the director/vice-president of a pharmaceutical company, is making his production debut with the film. He says that he is producing the film out of pure passion. He tells us more. 

- Why did you feel the need to co-produce this film considering you come from the healthcare sector?
I truly feel that stories like Panipat... that are about bravery and valour need to be shown to the audience, and it will be a great inspiration for the younger generation. I belong to the Maharashtrian community, which makes me very excited about telling the audience the story of our great leaders and warriors. 

Unfortunately, many people are unaware about the remarkable expansion of the Maratha empire throughout Hindustan in the 18th century and the hardships faced by the Marathas during the Third Battle of Panipat. Despite being thousands of miles away, they went to protect our homeland from Afghan invaders. I feel that this spirit shown by the Marathas will promote a deep sense of patriotism and bravery among the audience. 

- How did the collaboration between AGPPL and your production house Vision World happen?
Once I decided to make the film about a topic that is so close to my heart, Ashutosh Gowarikar was the most obvious choice. He could do justice to a film of this magnitude. I have seen his previous work like Lagaan, Jodhaa Akbar and Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, and am thoroughly impressed with his craftsmanship and attention to detail in period dramas. 

- How would you describe your role as the co-producer?
My role mainly entailed bringing this illustrious historic event to people’s notice by monitoring the project from inception to completion, making sure that the team had whatever they wanted, and successfully bringing the film together in the set time frame.
Although, there are a lot of things a producer does, but in the end it is all about teamwork. In filmmaking, everybody has a very important role to play, and they must do it properly in order to achieve a good result. 

- How was the experience of working with Ashutosh and Sunita Gowarikar?
The experience was amazing. They make a great team and are a perfect balance of creativity and business acumen. Similarly, AGPPL is an impressive professionally-managed production house with a team of very talented and hardworking individuals. This is always a treat for a co-producer and investor.

- What is the biggest challenge while making a period drama like Panipat...?
Designing sets that represent a 250-year-old era, getting the accurate makeup and costumes, sourcing the high-end jewelry, creating the exotic locations, working with weapons and animals — all of this could pose as a challenge. The main challenge was managing the finances of this project. However, I have fully enjoyed the experience and the challenges that came along the way became a learning curve for me. 

- What has been your biggest learning while working on the project?
As my first production, every aspect of filmmaking, commerce and creativity aspect was all new to me. The one thing common between what I have been doing all these years and filmmaking, is the feeling that if passion is put before material profits, the output will always be in your favour. 

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