Jayanti, a revolutionary Marathi film directed by Shailesh Narwade, produced by Meliorist Film Studio and starring Ruturaj Wankhede, Titeeksha Tawde, and Milind Shinde is soon going to have a private international screening in Toronto’s Fox Theatre. The unconventional theme of the movie brings to light the path-breaking solutions that the youth of today need to break through the shackles of idolatry and casteism in India’s sovereign, democratic and secular state.
The movie was released regionally in the theatres of Maharashtra, an Indian province, and had been doing exceptionally well amidst the competition from big-budget Bollywood films and post-pandemic lockdown issues. Apart from theatrical release in India, the movie also has some private screenings planned internationally in Australia’s Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth, parts of the United States like Michigan, Washington, New Jersey, Cambridge, cities in the United Kingdom like Leicester, London, Toronto in Canada and Dubai. There are few more international cities where the demand of enthusiastic fans is approaching the makers to host the movie.
In Canada, the female-led duo Vaishali Dupare and Rajashree Shinde decided to be part of the Jayanti movement and bring the movie to Toronto for a private screening among the film enthusiasts looking for an unconventional film with a social message for the greater good. In a candid conversation, the friends open up to tell us about this exciting journey.
How did Jayanti come into your life?
(Vaishali): Jayanti is very close to me as the movie’s producer, and some crew members were my long-time friends. I was aware of the movie’s idea and storyline and knew that it would be a path-breaking one that generations would love and find value in. However, there come unsaid ideological reservations with any unconventional subject, and Jayanti was no exception. The filmmakers could not finance the film the traditional way. It was then that I got involved through the crowdfunding platform when my friends reached out to me.
What made you take up this project of screening Jayanti in Toronto?
(Rajashree): As a child, we celebrated many Jayantis or Birth anniversaries in our families around our homes. But we never knew the relevance of the festival. To many of us, it was like another festival. But every Jayanti has a heroic story and a struggle the leaders faced to make the world a better place for all. Whether it is Baba Saheb Ambedkar’s Jayanti or Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s, all these Jayanti’s give us one strong message of doing good for all. However, I felt from my own life that our youth were oblivion of this fact and considered it as another festive day or a holiday.
When I learned about this movie from our community, I was also excited, and together with Vaishali and me with the support of our Ambedkarite group in Toronto, decided we should do something to make our kids learn about the real Jayanti and help the youth to find the real value out of it. Use Jayanti for the greater good and, of course, create awareness against the thin line of casteism that still exists in our society.
What is Jayanti all about?
(Vaishali): While some people think it’s a birth anniversary celebration. It isn’t that simple. The movie centers around the life of a local goon Santya, who has his own ideological beliefs and supports them blindly. However, his family remains concerned with his whereabouts, and a murder in the neighborhood changes his life. The story then brings in how he transforms from a misled goon to a learned and socially responsible person who aims to bring change in the society following the paths of Baba Saheb Ambedkar and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The passive subjectivity attached to Dalit-Bahujan characters reflects vividly in his transformation and has been the talk of the town in many places.
Jayanti is also screened internationally in many other places; how does Toronto perceive it?
(Vaishali): Honestly, this private screening has been planned on very short notice, and we are not expecting a lot from the audience.
(Rajashree:) However, since the movie will be screened in Toronto, we expect a diverse crowd. Not everyone will be a Marathi who will understand the language. Moreover, it has a very typical Nagpuri rustic dialect, so we will have English subtitles to back it up. Anyone who believes in equality, social justice, and human values would understand the plot and enjoy the movie owing to the English subtitles. We wanted Indians in Toronto to learn about the unconventional film and enjoy it with their families, giving them a proper understanding of what the Jayanti means and how we can create a better society for all.
(Vaishali & Rajashree:) Honestly, we are overwhelmed by the support and love Toronto has shown, especially our community- from participating in the crowdfunding venture to making the movie a reality and finally booking their tickets to seeing it in person, despite all pandemic concerns.
What can one expect on the day of Jayanti’s screening in Toronto?
(Vaishali & Rajashree:) (Laughs) We are screening on December 5, at the Fox Theatre in the morning. We hope we get to see everyone in the theatre to make this premiere a reality. Like always, don your Jayanti outfits, wear your masks, and let’s celebrate with the movie.
This is your first time arranging a movie screening in Toronto. How does it feel? What challenges did you come across?
(Vaishali): We are the only women-led group doing this screening internationally. I was a dentist back home. Here I work as a dental hygiene specialist. Never have I ever thought I could do this. But it’s the passion to support the community, the love for my nation that made me find time, allocate all my energy in this project to make it successful within a short time. It would have been easier if we had any knowledge of the industry or had been part of earlier commercial releases.
(Rajashree)As a mom of two little kids- 9-year-old and 5-year-old- I recently had to quit my permanent job as an IT professional with an Infrastructure Management firm in Toronto. I don’t know how I managed time to get into this project. I believe the national values backed by humanitarian values took center stage in my life to jump in this project. It initially came in with many concerns like will we be able to pull it, manage it, do complete justice to it?
But I am happy that weeks of planning, days of unrest, have finally brought us closer to our goal- screening it in Toronto to enlighten the minds of our next generation as well as Maharashtrians or Indians living in Toronto. Our challenge was connecting the audience to the movie on such short notice. But we overcame it with the massive support that we got from our Ambedkarite group, who spread the word like fire across GTA through social media and word of mouth.
How does it feel to be the only women-led team behind promoting a movie with a social message targeted only to women?
(Vaishali): It feels super ecstatic to lead this movement in Canada, especially in the Bahujan society. Not many women from our background ever thought of dipping their hands in it.
I look forward to more and more women taking this as an example and walking their way up to raise awareness and break all barriers of gender, caste, religion, race, and follow only the correct human values to make the world a better place.
(Rajashree): We want our kids and the next generation to understand the real meaning of Jayanti. Whether it was Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj or Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, all fought for equal rights for women in every part of society. Today, we are taking the lead to screen this movie for the first time in Canada; this feeling is filled with national nostalgia and pride.
How big is your team?
(Vaishali & Rajashree:) Our team consists of everyone who believes in social justice, liberty, and equality. If you are the one who believes in the same values, please come and join us to witness this historic event. The tickets are selling fast, so please reserve your spot soon.
Jayanti will be screened in the Fox Theatre on December 5, 2021, from 9:30 AM. This is the first screening of the movie. While many are already reaching out to the organizers Vaishali Dupare and Rajashree Shinde for more screenings and other timings, seats are filling up fast. Based on the audience’s demand, the power women team of Vaishali and Rajashree are looking forward to a commercial screening of Jayanti in Toronto in the coming days.
Come and enjoy ‘Jayanti’ Marathi Movie at the Fox Theater on December 5, 2021 at 9:30 AM.
Hurry up and buy your tickets at the following link:-
For any queries email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Debarati Mukherjee, for The Onside Media, Toronto, Canada. If you have any stories or comments, kindly email: email@example.com or visit LinkedIN