On the 26th anniversary of Bollywood’s evergreen film, the Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol starrer Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (DDLJ)’s release, veteran actress Sarika and Swanand Kirkire have treated fans with a new short film titled Maratha Mandir Cinema. The film has been named after the theatre in Mumbai which has been screening DDLJ for a record 25 years. Maratha Mandir Cinema is directed by novelist-turned-filmmaker Pankaj Dubey and stars Rajeev K Panday as well.
Watch the film here:
The short film deals with the theatre’s social impact on the sex workers residing in Kamathipura, the red-light area in the city. The single screen theatre, Maratha Mandir Cinema had to stop screenings owing to the Covid-19 induced lockdown. Very few know how the film impacted the lives of commercial sex workers from the neighbouring area and so the plot focuses on portraying the same.
Talking about the film, Swanand says:
It was quite humbling to play a significant character in this story which keeps the most neglected section of our society at the centre of discussion.
Scripted by Shraddha Singh, the short film has been a crowd-funded initiative.
Speaking about the same, director Pankaj says:
The short was crowd funded by my alumni friends from 2002 batch of the Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi. Isn’t it amazing to have friends who have conviction in your dreams?
I was moved by the magical impact of this romantic film on the somber world of the sex workers in Kamathipura. It inspired me to create visual empathy on the canvas with the help of this short fiction as a social tool.
Talking about the accolades received by the short film, it has a Filmfare nomination and has travelled to Cannes and Vancouver. The 13-minute film was released on the Gorilla Short YouTube Channel on October 20, 2021 as DDLJ was released on the same date in the year 1995. Gorilla Shorts has released it as the 6th story in their new series titled Offbeats S1. The series also has films like Chaddi and Station Master Phool Kumar and I have already watched Maratha Mandir Cinema twice. It just made me realize how ignored the sex workers are!