He is not there yet, but will achieve it very soon. Already the connoisseurs swear by his name and his work. What is more, his ‘product’ won the National award just yesterday. So, its just a matter of days before Abhijit Kokate becomes a house hold name in Nagpur – like a Rajkumar Hirani or a Sonu Sood. Spoken of with pride and proprietary. “He is our own, dont you know? Studied in law college, Nagpur. Lived in Dharampeth, drank tea at this thela in Shankar Nagar. He will become part of our folk lore.
Yes, the same Abhijit who wielded the scissors in award winning, path breaking king of all movies last year – Queen. It has swept all film awards this year walking away with the best film in competition with multi crore grossers and multi star films like Happy New Year.
Queen, when it was in the cans was almost five hours long. And it was all rollicking fun and entertaining sequences mostly shot in Europe. What to keep and what to clip was a real problem – but they brought it down to two hours. The finished product was there for all to see and appreciate.
But now Abhijeet the Director is emerging from the shadows of Abhijeet, the Editor. A ‘Docufilm’ made by him for Discovery channel featuring close friend Gul Panag is going to release on 27th.
He is already working on his first Hindi feature film tentatively titled ‘Ustad’. He is directing it himself and has be co scripted by him and fellow writer Shrivinay Salain. It is based on a character in rural India and is a take off on UPSC.
Next he plans to begin his most ambitious venture yet – Bombay Black. This will be based on something that has bothered him since his conscious years. What he calls the ‘Colourism’ in the world. Just like casteism or communalism, there is this world wide apartheid still actively practised against colour ‘black’. If you are not a white Caucasian, you are black, whatever shade of brown you may be.
“Don’t people realize that your skin colour is just a factor of the melamine in your skin cells?” He asks. “The more of it you have, the ‘blacker’ you look. And it is brought on by exposure to the sun. People living in the cold Northern hemispheres were exposed to less sun light and gradually became whiter”.
Presence of melamine is actually good for the human body. It saves us from skin cancer and other skin ailments. It really bothers Abhijeet that trying to overturn nature has become a multi million dollar industry what with products like ‘Fair and Lovely’ and ‘Nivea White’.
“Even a super star like SRK modeling for one such ad creating the hype that if you were just a ‘bit fairer’ you would surely bag that job or win that damsel is so disturbing” says Abhijeet.
He is determined that he will make those movies and tell those tales that reflect the changing realities around us.
“World as we know it is going to change drastically within decades. Institutes like marriages will become obsolete. There will be a war between Men and Women.” Believes Abhijeet. And have no doubts about it – he is rooting firmly for the fairer sex….uhhh! sorry! wrong phrase…for women.
“Homo Sapients are the most intelligent animals on earth and yet we have managed to do a number on 50% on them making them believe they are weaker and somehow inferior. This will not continue forever. Women will come out of the shadows and claim their spot in the sun. And when they do, we men have had it!” He warns.
Abhijeet all of 32 and who feels almost like a teenager has his ambitious route charted out clearly.
It is going to be Hollywood and making a film for the world audience by the time he is 37. “Definitely before I am 40” he assures you.
That brings us to how Bombay film industry has changed and become more professional and international lately.
“Earlier it was the underworld and black money that was being poured into our films” he says ” now it is Hollywood studios and financiers in Hong Kong, Russia, even Europe who are investing in Indian films. Keeping aside a budget of Rs. 500 crores for Bollywood is not a big thing for them at all”.
This trend is making our films technically more slick and visually more delightful to watch, but unless we are careful they can curb our creativity cautions Abhijeet. But in every adversity is hidden an opportunity too he knows. If you can market yourself well enough with your convictions it is also a great time for making films that are realistic and raw.
Here is looking forward to some ‘rawesome’ and ‘realcent’ movies from you Abhijeet Kokate.
Go Boy Go!