Riteish Deshmukh Reflects on ‘Lai Bhaari’ and Remembers Nishikant Kamat

As the celebrated Marathi film “Lai Bhaari” marks its tenth anniversary this July, actor-producer Riteish Deshmukh expressed his deep sentiments about missing his friend and director, Nishikant Kamat, whose unparalleled vision was instrumental in making the film a resounding success.

Deshmukh first delved into the Marathi film industry as a producer with the 2013 film “Balak-Palak,” which paved the way for his acting debut in Marathi cinema through “Lai Bhaari.” The film, directed by Kamat, premiered in theaters on July 11, 2014, and quickly became a box office sensation.

Reflecting on the experience, Riteish Deshmukh shared with PTI in an interview, “I miss Nishikant Kamat, my dearest friend and director. His vision took ‘Lai Bhaari’ to different heights. It wasn’t just my first Marathi film but also an unusually ambitious project for Marathi cinema at the time. I miss him dearly, and I am heartened that even after ten years, the film continues to be remembered fondly.”

“Lai Bhaari” was not just another film; it was a significant milestone for both Deshmukh and the Marathi film industry. Produced under the Mumbai Film Company banner, it featured a stellar ensemble cast including Sharad Kelkar, Radhika Apte, Tanvi Azmi, and Aditi Pohankar in pivotal roles. The film also boasted special appearances by Bollywood superstar Salman Khan and Deshmukh’s wife, Genelia D’Souza.

Nishikant Kamat, credited with directing the Ajay Devgn-starrer “Drishyam,” passed away at the age of 50 in 2020, leaving a palpable void in Indian cinema. Kamat’s career as a filmmaker in Marathi cinema began with the 2004 film “Dombivali Fast,” which won the National Award for Best Marathi Film, setting a high standard for his future projects.

Deshmukh, reminiscing about Kamat’s legacy, shared that the director’s ability to push the boundaries and create compelling narratives was instrumental in the success of “Lai Bhaari.” Kamat’s vision didn’t just earn acclaim; it helped position Marathi cinema within the larger Indian film landscape as a force to be reckoned with.

The success of “Lai Bhaari,” as Riteish Deshmukh recounted, was built on the foundation of a strong storyline, meticulous direction, and powerful performances.

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. Riteish, who played the dual roles of Abhay Singh and Mauli, received widespread acclaim for his versatility and intense portrayal. The film explores themes of redemption, identity, and familial ties, resonating well with audiences and critics alike. Its songs, action sequences, and emotional depth struck a chord, making it an enduring favorite.

In addition to his nostalgic reflections, Riteish Deshmukh took the opportunity to convey his gratitude to the cast and crew who contributed to “Lai Bhaari.” He acknowledged the tireless efforts of Sharad Kelkar, who played Sangram, the main antagonist, and Radhika Apte, who brought depth to the character of Swaarajya, Mauli’s love interest.

With ten years gone by, the film’s endurance in audiences’ memories is a testament to its impactful storytelling and strong performances. Riteish expressed his pleasure that the film’s dialogues, scenes, and songs continue to be celebrated, reflecting on the moments when fans approach him, reminiscing about their favorite parts of “Lai Bhaari.”

Deshmukh also paid homage to Kamat’s broader contributions to Indian cinema. Reflecting on Kamat’s directorial finesse, he emphasized that works like “Drishyam” had set a benchmark, not just in Marathi cinema but also in the wider Indian film context. Nishikant’s prowess lay in his ability to weave engaging, gritty narratives that resonated across demographics, and his legacy continues to influence aspiring filmmakers and actors.

The tenth anniversary of “Lai Bhaari” is not just a moment to celebrate a successful film but a time to honor the collaborative spirit and creative genius of Nishikant Kamat. Riteish Deshmukh’s heartfelt memories serve as a poignant reminder of the bonds built in the world of cinema and the enduring impact of collaborative efforts.

As “Lai Bhaari” continues to be a beacon in Marathi cinema, its place in film history is secured, owing much to Kamat’s visionary direction and Deshmukh’s compelling performance. This milestone is a celebratory moment for the Marathi film community, reflecting on a decade of a film that transcended its initial release to become a classic, enriched by the indelible mark left by Nishikant Kamat.

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