The Zombivli team on its “ready-to-use” cinema
Aditya Sarpotdar’s Zombivli will score a few premieres upon its release on January 26. The film, the first zombie horror comedy in Marathi, had a promising trailer on January 18, with the director and cast in attendance.
Speaking to Cinestaan.com at the launch, director Sarpotdar said there was an urgent need to create “ready-made” productions to entice audiences back to theatres. “There has to be pressure to create. It’s very important,” he said.
“Marathi cinema produces unique films,” he continued. “But we’ve had very random attempts. It’s not on a regular or consistent basis. We’re sometimes guilty of following trends. Trends don’t always work.”
Sarpotdar said the industry will face increasing competition from other parts of the country and the world. “As an audience, I’m looking for something new,” he said. “If everything looks and feels similar, we [filmmakers] you have to break up the mess.”
Describing zombie comedy as a step in that direction, the filmmaker said: “We may not be competing in terms of scale, but it’s never been on the agenda to compete in terms of scale. The goal is to surpass the content.”
Zombivli, starring Lalit Prabhakar, Amey Wagh, Vaidehi Parshurami, Trupti Khamkar and Janaki Pathak, revolves around a group of people trapped as a zombie apocalypse sweeps through Dombivli, a remote suburb of Mumbai.
The film was among the first to be shot after the 2020 nationwide lockdown and is coming to theaters after several big Hindi films like 83 (2021) did below average business.
During the trailer launch, Sarpotdar credited Marathi film Jhimma (2021), which managed to do impressive business despite Maharashtra’s 50% attendance limit, as an influence on their decision to move forward with the release. exit from Zombivli.
Jhimma’s success is a sign of the presence of an audience for creative, story-driven Marathi films, the filmmaker said.
Lalit Prabhakar attributed this to the diversity of stories on OTT platforms. “In this lockdown, people’s exposure to web series, styles and formats has increased,” he said. “On a certain scale, you can’t compete with them. You can’t make an Avengers because there’s a budget limit. It’s not a thinking problem though. What can you produce differently within your limits? ? That’s the game. ”
This, Prabhakar added, is what Zombivli has attempted. “Although there have been zombie movies in the world, how can we make it our own story from the ground up?” he said. “The concept may be foreign, but for it to relate to people, creating a story that raises questions about your own society and brings out our issues is key.”
Citing the example of Basil Joseph’s recent hit Minnal Murali (2021) on Netflix, Sarpotdar said: “I think Marathi cinema is in the same space. We might not have big budgets. We could make a Rs4 crore movie and have to compete with a Rs100 crore Hindi movie. In this scenario, the limits sometimes work in your favor. If you’re trying, like us, a zombie movie on a budget, you’re putting your money on the content, on the story, the technique, the performances rather than the spectacle.”
Vaidehi Parshurami added that the film covers both scale and novelty. “We’re here to set a benchmark,” she said. “This film has both a grand visual scale and a unique concept. I’m sure others watching may think ‘If this team can pull together in a pandemic, shoot a film with such a unique concept on this scale, and run it, then we should do it too. I’m sure Zombivli will be a cutting-edge film.”
Amey Wagh added: “Although the subject has never been discussed in Marathi, we have created a story that takes place among people and is relatable. It is rooted in this region.” The actor said that while big budget Hindi cinema may hamper the visibility of Marathi films, it is not a negative thing. “I belong to a new generation and so I hope that one day Marathi cinema will achieve the same appeal that Malayalam cinema has on the world today,” he said. “The focus should be on the content. A series like Money Heist, made in Spanish, is all the rage around the world. OTT has given exposure to cinema all over the world. Anything we do will be delayed from the world . . That’s why I feel good about Zombivli.”