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The filmy story of a national award

All of 25 years, Aditya Jambhale is in the news for all the right reasons. At an age when most youngsters are puzzled about their career path, Aditya, after winning the National Film Award for Best Direction, now feels that he has got the acknowledgement for having made the right career choice. For the uninitiated, Goa won two awards at the recently held 64th National Film Awards. While Goan film ‘K Sera Sera’ won Best Konkani Film, Marathi short film ‘Aaba Aiktaay Naa?’ competed with around 357 entries in the general category that included films featuring renowned names such as Shoojit Sircar, Tisca Copra, Spruha Joshi, etc. In the end, this young Goan writer-director from Ponda walked away with the award for Best Direction for his debut film project.
Aditya’s journey into filmmaking started with theatre, which, in turn, began while studying at Goa Engineering College (GEC) in Farmagudi, Ponda a few years ago. While earning his degree in Electronics Engineering, Aditya’s love and keen interest in theatre saw him form a theatre group with his friends, called ‘GEC Drama Circle’, which is being continued by his juniors at the college now. It was here that Aditya wrote and directed one-act plays that tasted success and catapulted him into what is considered to be the Mecca of Marathi theatre – Pune, and Mumbai.In places like Mumbai and Pune, inter-collegiate theatre competitions assume insane amounts of seriousness. These are breeding grounds for the next generation of actors, writers and directors for the theatre and film industry. Aditya and team participated in one of the most prestigious and fiercely fought inter-collegiate theatre competitions – Sakal Mahakarandak – and competed with around 250-300 colleges from Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
The original play, based on the life of a eunuch, was written and directed by Aditya and went on to create history by winning the first prize at the competition. Next up was ‘Savai Karandak’, an open competition for colleges and independent theatre groups alike, where another original plays written and directed by Aditya featured in the top seven, becoming the first Goan team ever to achieve the feat. Aditya followed it up with his next play, ‘Vande Mataram’, that had a strong backdrop of India’s freedom struggle and won accolades all over. The feedback and satisfaction was good enough to convince Aditya to quit his job as a security analyst with a cybersecurity firm and pursue filmmaking.Aditya penned down the script for ‘Aaba…’ while studying filmmaking and the plan was to shoot the film with minimal resources and wrap it up within a budget of Rs 50,000. A chance discussion with veteran Marathi actor Arun Nalawade resulted in Aditya narrating the script to him. It was Nalawade who insisted that Aditya should take the more serious route and give the script the professional touch that it deserved. Nalawade was so taken in by the script that he agreed to work pro bono, considering that the team was battling budget constraints.
The team roped in Nalawade and actors from Goan theatre groups and the film was shot across 4-5 days in Goa. The post-production process followed and, according to Aditya, this was the most demanding phase. This was where a few fiascos and mistakes not only extended the post production process but also strained the budget. But the team knew that they had the best people for the job.
Aditya says, “Sound is an important character in the film and we knew that it could make or break the film. Therefore, it demanded a ‘sound’ person for the job. We got Rohit Pradhan, who has worked on acclaimed films such as ‘Yellow’, ‘Timepass 2’, etc to work on the sound design. Similarly, we roped in Satish Patil to do the editing.” Furthermore, the team convinced Justin Jose, touted to be the best in India currently, to work on sound mixing. Jose has worked on innumerable big-budget Bollywood films such as ‘Baahubali’, ‘Bajirao Mastani’, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, to name a few.Ask Aditya about how the team managed to get the most skilled, despite budget constraints, and he smiles.
He says, “Things just happened. This is a film that truly demanded the expertise of their respective skills, and these wise men knew that. When they were working on the film, it wasn’t our film anymore, it was ‘their’ film.”While the attention that Aditya is getting post his victory is enough to throw any youngster off balance, Aditya is maintaining a calm composure knowing that it has been a team effort. Aditya says, “I have an enviable team of 7-8 people who are my backbone. If the team had not stuck together through all the struggles, ‘Aaba Aiktaay Naa?’ wouldn’t have been a product worthy of a national award. My team deserves as much recognition as I do.”The young lad is already busy with his next project. Aditya is currently in the writing phase of a period drama that is going to be made into a full-fledged Konkani feature film. The young director is targeting to have the film playing in theatres within a year’s time. [H]

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