Abhinay Deo: Daring Adman, Filmmaker and a Marathi Manoos

I have loved Marathi culture and the Marathi art – literature, theatre, cinema, et al. However, lately I have ended up frustrated watching Bharat Jadhav, Makarand Anaspure movies. PuLa’s humour of yesteryears still makes me laugh but no art form of recent times has brought a smile to me. A judge on Fu Bai Fu becomes a participant in an equally pathetic show on Sony TV. A Marathi film title sounds like a latest Salman’s hit movie. The titles of Marathi dramas have no head or tail – “Chehra Feri” etc.
Where has that glory gone? Where has that creativity vanished that once ruled the art domain?
While oscillating between such discouraging thoughts and browsing through likewise irritating TV channels, I took a halt at Nikhil Wagle’s interview show – “Great Bhet” on IBN Lokmat. Wagle was interviewing Abhinay Deo.

I had heard about Abhinay for his Delhi Belly and Game, both movies released this year. I never got to read or watch anything in-depth about Abhinay though. Wagle’s program did the needful but not totally satisfying.
A sigh of relief. I could see a possible revival of Marathi art in Abhinay Deo, who had done ad films for over decade, award winning ones. Other such Marathi adman I can think of is Bharat Dabholkar, both fall in different leagues though.
In the interview with Wagle, Abhinay candidly mentioned that one thing which he will never do is “mediocrity”, which also can perhaps be interpreted that he will not do anything that the current Marathi creative lot is doing and boasting about – he was point blank in his remark. Deo also stated that when he wanted to join films, he did not want to be a part of the then pathetic state of cinema with movies like Jadugar, Toofan were bombing at the box-office. He made a right move and turned towards to ads to harness his creative and storytelling skills.
And he made an entry when the time was right, when the audience had matured.
Abhinay gave us movies like Delhi Belly and Game. Though Game released on April 2011, Delhi Belly is Deo’s debut feature film, which Aamir had offered to him 4 years ago. Delhi Belly was slated as a dirty, shitty, unnecessary humour, however, Deo clarifies that “Even the gaali-galoch has its own reasoning in the film. There’s a certain way in which the youth of today talks and we can’t refute it.”  The filmmaking is perfect, which possibly only an ad-maker can envision. Personally, I enjoyed the movie, I loved it. I was curious to learn more about Abhinay Deo ever since I watched Delhi Belly, a movie that requires courage to be made in India.
I watched the entire interview. Wagle, as usual, was engaged in unnecessary questions, much alike what an average Marathi mind thinks and operates today. Wagle did not mention about his other movie, Game, a stylish action thriller, which is a Hollywood treat, a fast paced movie, likable despite having Abhishek Bachchan in it. I enjoyed Deo’s this movie as well.
However, Wagle’s myopic view about person’s ability could not see beyond asking personal questions to Abhinay.
Abhinay’s allusion about mediocrity was towards the end of the interview; else it could have given Wagle few cues about what exactly to ask Deo, a person of such a high creative stature.

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