En route to Cannes

Marathi film Halal hasn’t been commercially released yet but it already has six awards in its kitty

By Salonee Mistry

Writing, directing and producing a film based on a section of the Quran could not have been an easy task. After about spending 34 days shooting and then a few more days editing the footage, a film that talks about the injustice that women have to go through because of divorce and marriage laws was finally ready. It has taken Amol Kagne, the producer of this film, and his team, including film writer Rajan Khan, four years to research the issue even before they began shooting. Just before the team heads out to France to be a part of the market at the Cannes International Film Festival, we spoke with Amol about what prompted him to make the film, the challenges he faced and his next projects.

The film looks at the physical, mental and emotional troubles that a woman faces through the process of getting a divorce or re-marrying her previous husband. Originally, the rule was made with the noble intention of preventing divorces but without much success. Halal is about one such girl, who is married to a guy from her village. The groom is selected by her parents but her husband later leaves her. He then wants to get back to her and, according to the rule, she has to be married to someone else and stay with her new husband for a while before she can return to the first. “The 72-minute film, not only tells you exactly what the law says but also portrays the state of a woman through all of this. We have had a lot of women thank us for telling their story,” says Amol.

A doctor by profession, the theatre bug bit Amol when he was in college. After completing his graduation and becoming an ENT-specialist, he decided to pursue a course in direction and acting. Halal is his first film as producer and he is glad the film has received positive reactions. Apart from going to Cannes, the film has won six awards at the 53rd Maharashtra State Marathi Film Awards. “It feels great to be loved so much. After being rejected once by the censor board due to our subject, getting so many awards and being selected by the government to go to Cannes, seems like re-birth,” Amol tells us. Recollecting their testing period he remembers how difficult it was for every single individual working on the film to know that there was a possibility that the film might not get a positive feedback.

The film stars, Chinmay Mandlekar, Pritam Kagne, Priyadarsan Jadhav, Vijay Chavan, Chhaya Kadam, Vimal Mhatre and Sanjay Sugavkar. It has been directed by National Award-winning director Shivaji Patil. Honey Satamkar won an award for the best background music at the 53rd Maharashtra State Marathi Film awards, Rajan Khan for best scriptwriter, Amol bagged the best debut film production award, Shivaji for the best social issue director and Suboh Powar and Sayyad Akhtar for best lyrics. Halal also won the best film in social issue category. The film will be released commercially by the end of July. Apart from Halal, Amol is also working on two other films at the moment. 

Originally published at thegoldensparrow.com.