Director Chaitanya Tamhane brought awards glory to India as his Marathi film ‘The Disciple’ won the Best Screenplay award at the 77th Venice Film Festival.
His win, announced on Saturday, has been hailed as a landmark moment in Indian cinema by celebrities including Swara Bhasker, Richa Chaddha, Manoj Bajpayee, Varun Grover and director Anurag Kashyap.
‘The Disciple’, written and directed by Tamhane, beat 17 other titles in the Best Screenplay category and chronicles the journey of a Hindustani classical singer’s experiences. The film was also nominated for the top prize, the Golden Lion, this year.
While Kashyap retweeted the news and added a series of clapping emojis, Bhasker tweeted that it was a landmark moment in Indian cinema. Actors Richa Chaddha and Ali Fazal were quick to prase Tamhane’s contributions too.
Mira Nair’s 2001 drama ‘Monsoon Wedding’ was the last Indian film to be in the running in a major competition category at a European film festival.
However, this marks the second time in six years that a film directed by Tamhane and produced by Vivek Gomber has been feted at the Venice Film Festival.
In 2014, their film ‘Court’ won the Orizzonti Award for Best Film and Tamhane won the Lion of the Future Award.
The 2014-released feature-length film ‘Court’ marked Tamhane’s directorial debut, for which he was nominated for best screenwriter at the 9th Asian Film Awards, and also won best director at the 16th Mumbai Film Festival.
Sharing his experience making ‘The Disciple’, the director said: “Writing the feature movie was by far the most challenging and painful endeavour I have ever undertaken. This honour means a lot to me and it will encourage me to keep pushing my own boundaries even further. I want to dedicate this award to all the musicians, researchers, authors, and historians who helped open the doors to the incredible world of Indian classical music for me.”
Gomber added: “To win the Best Screenplay award amongst such stalwarts is just an incredible feat. I am really grateful to the jury and very proud of Chaitanya. It’s the hardest and the loneliest job, but the final script was also what convinced me to back the film.”
Four-time Oscar-winning filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron serves as executive producer on ‘The Disciple’.
— With inputs from ANI