Do ideas of Phule-Shahu-Ambedkar matter anymore?


Shailesh Narwade

Jayanti, for many, is merely a celebration of the birth anniversaries of socio-political thinkers who were instrumental in bringing social change of which our generation is a beneficiary. Some people see it as an occasion to eulogize and recollect the contributions of these great leaders. Though these modes of celebrating and remembering these icons are necessary, is it really sufficient to take their caravan ahead and ensure the change that these icons envisaged?

Jayanti Title Poster

Marathi feature film 'Jayanti', taking the example of Ambedkar Jayanti, poses this uncomfortable but important question and makes an attempt to find an answer. Through a carefully crafted confluence of the ideas of various social icons, the film depicts the transformation of the protagonist from a misguided Bahujan youth to a socially responsible citizen and a role model in the contemporary socio-political context.

About 'Jayanti', the film

'Jayanti' is a two-hour Marathi feature film with English subtitles. It deals with the very thought provoking subject of personal and social transformation in an entertaining way. The characters, the visuals, the symbols, the dialogues, and the language all are aligned with the central idea of the film.

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The film has celebrated actors such as Milind Shinde, Kishor Kadam, Paddy Kamble, Anjali Joglekar, and Amar Upadhyay, apart from the new lead pair of (whose names are not being revealed at this moment as part of strategy).

Article 15 fame internationally-acclaimed music director Mangesh Dhakde has composed music for Jayanti while singer Javed Ali has lent his popular voice to the songs.

Why am I making this film?

The idea of this film came to me in April 2016 when I saw many big and small social movements and organizations in India and abroad preparing for and organizing the 125th birth anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. The Jayanti was celebrated in almost every nook and corner of the country, including social media, with great zeal. However, the way in which some of the celebrations were organized, especially those witnessed by me, triggered a few questions in my mind.


I started wondering what will happen to those youth who are giving so much of their time and energy for such celebrations. How do such celebrations align with the purpose of their lives? Do they even have any purpose in life? How can Jayanti become a catalyst and therefore also a true occasion for celebration of not only the icons but also the transformation of these youth? The more I thought about it, the more I realized the complexity of the subject and eventually realized that perhaps a full-length feature film script could be a good way to explore answers to these questions.

Risks and Challenges?

The main challenge the project faced was/is on the financial front. The unsaid ideological reservations over the central idea of the film and entry barriers to the Bahujan filmmakers in a highly-closed film industry made it difficult for us to raise the funds through traditional film financers. Therefore, we had to work really hard to raise the funds from alternative sources, especially those who were not from the film industry but loved the central idea. With their initial support, we could do all pre-production work and finish the shooting and songs.

Initially, we had planned to release the film in April 2020 around the time when the Jayanti of Jyotiba Phule and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar is celebrated, but this couldn't be done due to several reasons. Whereas shooting started a little late due to prolonged mobilization of funds, we were forced to take breaks in the shooting schedule due to fast-changing weather conditions. However, this was nothing in front of what challenges we are currently facing over the last four months during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.

Now with gradual relaxations in lockdown, we want to complete the remaining post-production work, print, marketing, and distribution as soon as possible and release the film on an appropriate date.

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At this point, there is no further anticipated risk. The problem is further delay in the completion of the film may increase the project cost. Besides, those who have already invested their hard-earned money and precious time in this project, desperately want the film to release at the earliest. They have witnessed many twists and turns in the project and any further delay may disappoint and discourage them from supporting similar socially creative ventures of socially responsible Bahujan artists in the future.

Core Team

Dr Anand Bankar (Co-Producer)

Anand is a Nagpur-based Bahujan entrepreneur and philanthropist, who is passionate about the central idea of this film. An accidental film producer, he is trained as a fire safety engineer from prestigious institutions in India, New Zealand, and France and also holds a PhD in Disaster Management & Crisis. He is a Founder & Director of the National Institute of Fire & Safety Engineering, Nagpur, Dr Bankar Research & Development Centre, Hyderabad, and London School of Fire & Safety Engineers, London.

Milind Patil (Creative Producer)

Milind is National Creative Head with 91.9 Radio Orange, an FM radio headquartered at Nagpur. He had started his career in the creative world as RJ and is known for popular shows like 'Purani Jeans' on Radio Mirchi and 'Salaam Nagpur' on My FM. He is the founder of RJ training academy 'Art Pickle', and the online Marathi radio 'Radio Jhakaas Marathi'. He also organizes eXpressions Film Festival at Nagpur.

Current Status of the Project

The film's shooting and editing have been completed. The shooting was done in two schedules of a total of 28 days. The film's four songs have also been composed and recorded.

The proposed fund mobilization is for remaining post-production work, promotion, and release.

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Crowdfunding Campaign Description

This crowdfunding campaign is an endeavor to mobilize donations from socially-responsible Indians for completing the Marathi film 'Jayanti' that explores the relevance of the ideas of anti-caste thinkers such as Savitri and Jotiba Phule, Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar in contemporary society.

I have completed shooting and editing of this Marathi feature film titled 'Jayanti' and have now launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise some funds that would be utilized for completing the post-production of the film and its distribution.

Crowdfunding Campaign Link



We are offering attractive rewards to donors as a thankful gesture for their kind support.

Social Media Links






 Shailesh Narwade is the writer, director and producer of the Marathi film Jayanti. He has worked in print and electronic media for 10 years. Simultaneously, he did theatre for over a decade. One of his plays won a Maharashtra Government award while a recent one 'Maseeha', a political satire, was selected for IPTA's prestigious national festival at Patna in 2018. He made his first feature film 'Roommates', a crime thriller, in 2017. For undertaking these initiatives, he established a company Meliorist Film Studio and it is under this banner that Jayanti is being produced. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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