Art & Entertainment

Riteish Deshmukh: Was Attracted To Film Direction For Years But Didn't Have Courage To Do It

Directing films was on his wish list for quite some time, says Riteish Deshmukh, who is happy about going behind the camera for the first time with the upcoming Marathi movie "Ved".

Riteish Deshmukh
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Directing films was on his wish list for quite some time, says Riteish Deshmukh, who is happy about going behind the camera for the first time with the upcoming Marathi movie "Ved".

The actor, known for the “Housefull” series, “Ek Villain” and “Marjaavaan”, ventured into Marathi cinema as a producer with 2013's “Balak Palak” and followed it up with “Yellow”.

"This (direction) is something I was attracted to for many years but didn’t have the courage to do it because I was acting. In the last three-four years I was trying to figure out...

"Even the film that I have directed ‘Ved’ is something that worked out itself for me," Deshmukh, who has also starred in Marathi films “Lai Bhaari” and “Mauli”, told PTI.

With Maharashtra also being home to Bollywood, the actor said Marathi films face stiff competition from Hindi cinema.

"It is tough for Marathi cinema to survive with Hindi cinema in the same state when the first preference is to watch Hindi over Marathi cinema. When Marathi movies become a second choice, their theatre share invariably goes down," added Deshmukh.

Citing examples of critical Marathi hit films such as Nagraj Manjule’s “Sairat” and “Natsamrat” by Mahesh Manjrekar, the 43-year-old actor said the state needs at least two such movies every year to lure masses to theatres.

"The idea is how can we go from third to second option to being an equal option. We have to figure out how to attract (audiences). Maharashtra has 12 crore population, I believe 9-10 crore will be Marathi-speaking audience.

"We are able to tap into that substantial base with very few films. Like, ‘Sairat’ did brilliantly. ‘Lai Bhaari’, ‘Natsamrat’, these films reached the maximum audience. But we need more such films, we need two films every year,” he said.

Recently, Deshmukh made his digital debut with “Plan A Plan B”, co-starring Tamannaah Bhatia. Directed by Shashanka Ghosh of “Veere Di Wedding” fame and written by Rajat Arora, the coming-of-age film premiered on Netflix last month.

The actor said he was interested in exploring the digital medium and his dream was fulfilled with “Plan A Plan B”, which follows the quirky romance between a match-maker (Bhatia) and a divorce attorney (Deshmukh).

“It was a time when pandemic had hit, OTT was something that I was looking forward to. But nothing had materialised.

“Every other day I am offered a UP gangster (role). When this film came, I was like ‘They are doing a rom-com, let’s do it'. I got the opportunity to do a rom-com after 10 years. Besides, it is a light-hearted watch,” he added.

Veteran actor Poonam Dhillon and popular influencer Kusha Kapila also round out the cast of “Plan A Plan B”. 

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