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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



Trailer launch of 1st Marathi multilingual film Har Har Mahadev: 300 against 12,000

Trailer launch of 1st Marathi multilingual film Har Har Mahadev: 300 against 12,000

ZEE Studios' released the trailer of their upcoming film Har Har Mahadev on 10 October at the PVR Cinemas, Juhu, Mumbai. The film is the story of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (King Shivaji), from the point of view of Baji Prabhu Deshpande, who was initially an opponent, but joined ranks with Shivaji later on. The trailer is trending high in the Tamil and Telugu versions. Har Har Mahadev (a battle cry among Hindu warriors) is being released in Marathi, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

The film recreates the real battle in which 300 soldiers, led by Baji Prabhu, fought off the 12,000 strong enemy army, and won, albeit paying for the victory with their lives.

Produced by ZEE Studios and directed by Abhijeet Deshpande (a surname that he has in common with the warrior he has depicted), the film stars Subodh Bhave as Shivaji and Sharad Kelkar as Baji Prabhu Deshpande. Female leads are played by Amruta Khanvilkar and Sayli Sanjeev. All were present on the occasion, as were a couple of more co-stars, the co-producers of the film, Shree Ganesh Marketing and Films, represented by two individuals, and Shariq Patel, CEO of ZEE Studios. The film is all set to hit the theatres on the 25th of October 2022.

Abhijeet Deshpande was a student of mine many years ago, learning announcing, broadcasting, compering and dubbing, for stage, radio, TV and cinema. It was nice to see that he remembered and acknowledged. He then studied screenplay writing from Anjum Rajabali, whom he considers his guru. “I also admire the work of S.S. Rajamouli, the titan from the South, and Prakash Kapadia, who wrote Katyar Kaljat Ghuslee, Black, Devdas, Saawariya, Padmavat, Bajirao Mastani and Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior. Don’t even start asking me to speak about Rajamouli. I can go on for hours and hours. (Rajamouli works primarily in Telugu cinema. He wrote the screenplay of and directed Baahubali: The Beginning-2017, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, RRR-2022).”

Incidents and anecdotes were freely narrated on the occasion, and they included Abhijeet’s decision to shoot in a decrepit temple which was full of snakes; how Subodh Bhave learnt horse-riding for the part and how the horse he was to ride across a ditch managed to cross it in spite of an injured foot and a bed of sharp stones; how Subodh will not spend even a rupee from his earnings through the film as he firmly believes that Shivaji’s soul chose him to play the part; how Sharad Kelkar, who has already played Shivaji in another film, had no qualms whatsoever in accepting the role of a Shivaji supporter; how Raj Thackeray, the founder of the political party Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) readily agreed to lend his voice as the voice of the Sahyadri mountain range, which, in Abhijeet’s imagination, is the narrator of this tale, that they witnessed some 350-400 years ago; how Abhijeet has been working on this script since 2013; how his backers swore never to work with him again, after his first film, because they found him to be too difficult and very demanding, but just two scenes narrated by him convinced them to change their minds and come on board for Har Har Mahadev, and so on.

Har Har Mahadev is Abhijeet’s second film. His first was also a biopic, about the actor Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar. Titled Ani…(and) Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar, it was released in 2018. Starring Subodh Bhave in the titular role, it featured Amruta Khanvilkar in its cast. It was co-produced by Shree Ganesh Marketing and Films, as is Har Har Mahadev.

Replete with unimaginably gory violence, the trailer indicates that the film will be a full blown period war film, with rugged, mountainous terrain, hundreds (thousands? Or will CGI come to the rescue?) of horses and swords, and ruthless battles. It raises the eponymous battle cry loud and clear. And the sounds of Har Har Mahadev reverberated in the auditorium too, egged on by the lady compère, time and again.

The evening was unique in the manner that three languages were used by the compère, the speakers and the members of the press: Marathi, English and Hindi. Many of those on stage were comfortable in all three, but Bhave stuck to Marathi, because, in his words, it is the language he knows best. 

Trailer link:


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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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