Marathi cinema has undergone a ravishing resurgence, thanks to films like Nishikant Kamat’s Lai Bhaari, Mahesh Manjrekar’s Natsamrat and Nagraj Manjule’s Sairat.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali (SLB) prides himself on his Maharashtrian upbringing. “I’ve always been extremely close to all things Maharashtrian, be it the food, music or cinema. I grew up listening to the Mangeshkar family’s Marathi songs. And I speak fluent Marathi. It was always my wish to make a Marathi film.”
SLB waited until the right script knocked on his door. “When the director Swapna Waghmare Joshi came to me with this idea, I was immediately hooked. I wanted to produce this film, because I had never done a Marathi film. Also, it is a suspense film. This genre I’ve never attempted as a producer and director.”
The film’s title Laal Ishq is from a song in SLB’s Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram Leela.
Says the filmmaker fondly, “I had registered Laal Ishq as a title for my future films. But when I heard the story of Swapna’s film, I completely thought Laal Ishq to be the right title. I happily gave it to Swapna.”
Apart from the title, SLB has not contributed to Laal Ishq in any way. “I’ve always maintained that my productions are meant to be directed by other directors while I’ll focus on my own films. Otherwise there is no point in producing films. I might as well direct all of them.”
The filmmaker who is currently in the process of finalizing his next directorial venture loved the experience of working with the two principal actors of Laal Ishq. “For Swwapnil Joshi, who is a very big star in Marathi cinema this is a new genre to explore. He has never done a suspense film before. And Anjana is such a sweet charming and gifted girl. I enjoyed working with both Swwapnil Joshi and Anjana Sukhani. They are every bit as professional and talented as actors in Bollywood.”
SLB is thrilled to be part of the resurgence of Marathi cinema. “Of late there have been many really notable Marathi films. This is the best time to do a Marathi film. When I did Bajirao Mastani last year I felt so close to the Maratha soil I wanted to make a film in Marathi as soon as I could. I am glad I got a chance to do Laal Ishq.”