Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón has signed on as the executive producer of Marathi film The Disciple. Directed by writer-director Chaitanya Tamhane, The Disciple is set to debut at the upcoming 77th Venice International Film Festival.
This is the first Indian film to make the cut since Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding in 2001, which had won Golden Lion, the highest prize at the festival. It’s also the first Indian film in almost 20 years to feature in the main competition at any of the three major European films festivals – Berlin, Cannes and Venice.
AT A GLANCE
- Alfonso Cuarón (director of Gravity, Roma) will executive produce The Disciple
- It’s the first Indian film to qualify for the Venice Film Festival since 2001
- Director Chaitanya Tamhane previously won the National Award for Best Film for Court (2014)
“I met Chaitanya through a mentorship program where I had the opportunity to watch his very superb debut film, Court. I was immediately impressed by his sense of cinema and fearless confidence to tell stories,” said Cuarón. “He was part of most of Roma‘s process and I jumped to the opportunity to be part of the process of his second film The Disciple. I believe Chaitanya is one of the most important new voices of contemporary cinema.”
In 2014, Tamhane’s previous feature Court had won the Luigi De Laurentiis Award and the Venice Horizons Award at the Vice Film Festival, besides winning the National Award for Best Film in India.
Cuarón has been nominated 11 times for the Oscars, winning five times. His most popular films include Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Gravity (2013), and Roma (2018).
Tamhane feels it is “surreal and an incredible honour” for him to have such an acclaimed filmmaker supporting his film.
“In some ways, this validation from Alfonso Cuarón is even more meaningful to me than any prize or award,” Tamhane said. “Alfonso has been an invaluable friend and guide to the film from a very early stage, and his coming on-board as executive producer is yet another expression of his faith in The Disciple.
“I do also admit to feeling some pressure and a big responsibility, now that Alfonso is putting his name on the line for us and our collaboration!”
The Disciple is about Sharad Nerulkar, who has devoted his life to becoming an Indian classical music vocalist, and diligently follows the traditions and discipline of old masters, his guru, and his father. As years go by, Sharad starts to wonder whether it is really possible to achieve the excellence he is striving for.