Sameer Patil’s films always have a strong social message. His latest Marathi film Vikun Taak, is no different. It highlights an important issue- organ donation. While promoting the film at the Sakal Times office, Patil said that organ donation needs a lot of attention in society. “Many people and oganisations are doing work at their own level, but we thought of getting associated with the cause through the medium of cinema. Uttung (Thakur) sir and I met and decided to work on the subject. We have a writer friend called Siddheshwar Ekambe, who wrote the story and submitted the screenplay to Uttung sir. When the same was shared with me, I too found it interesting and light-hearted,” Patil recalls.
He adds that they reworked the script because it was presented in a serious manner. “Charudutt Bhagat, Siddheshwar, Uttung sir and I moulded the script and made it humorous because humour touches the audience and makes them think. We changed the plot, face and characters,” he adds.
The film marks the debut of Chunkey Pandey in Marathi cinema and also stars Shivraj Waichal, Radha Sagar, Hrishikesh Joshi, Sameer Choughule, Rujuta Deshmukh, Jaywant Wadkar, Rohit Mane and others. It’s releasing on February 14.
On signing Chunkey, Patil says, “While rewriting the screenplay, a character of a sheikh from Dubai emerged and Uttung sir suggested Chunkey’s name. I liked the idea because we have mostly seen him in comedy films and his personality also matched the character. If I had searched for an Arab character in Marathi film circuit, I wouldn’t have found one.”
Patil adds that when they approached the actor for the same, he readily agreed because he liked the idea. “I remember him saying, ‘I would have done the film in any language’. He also brought in a lot to the character with his experience.”
Shivraj and Rohit who are making their acting debut with the film, have been selected through auditions. Shivraj, who has done theatre before joining films says that they believe in improvisation, so during the reading session, they set the tone of the characters. “We followed the tone. As far as the body language is concerned, it kept changing according to the situation,” Shivraj says.
Patil’s earlier films— Poshter Boyz and Shentimental— too had social messages and he says the concept of entertainment with a message was with him when he was working on Tikal De Political. “It was a political satire and fearlessly we used to play political leaders and highlight the issues of the week. If something wasn’t right, we would point it out but in a lighter vein,” he says, adding, “I believe in entertainment with a cause; if there’s no cause, it holds no meaning to me.”
To this, Thakur adds that Balak Palak, which he had produced with Riteish Deshmukh, too dealt with an important issue— sex education. “We make films for entertainment and do not want to preach anything but if you give an important message to the audience with entertainment, they accept it,” says the producer of critically acclaimed film Yellow.
Sameer says that while working on such subjects, they focus a lot on the writing. “Even during this film, we were writing the story for six-eight months. We were thinking about the characters, reworking on the drafts,” he says before signing off.