Lakshmi, a short film on legendary Marathi writer GA Kulkarni’s story made by students of LS Raheja Technical Institute, Worli, has bagged two awards in the recently concluded KFTI International Film Festival, Chiplun (Ratnagiri district). Versatile actor Smita Tambe won the Best Actor (Female) award while Shashank Mhaswade was given a trophy for Best Direction.
The awards ceremony was held at Chiplun on 24 March 2019. The short film Lakshmi has been listed as an official selection in six international film festivals so far, including the London International Motion Pictures Awards (LIMPA) in England and the Great Lakes Independent Film Festival (GLIFF), Pennsylvania, in USA. Lakshmi was also accorded the Red Carpet at Hyderabad's All Lights India International Film Festival (ALIIFF) in December 2018.
G.A. Kulkarni, popular in Maharashtra as just GA, was a legendarySahitya Akademi Award winner Marathi writer of short stories. His work revolves around poverty, despair, destiny/fate, human pursuit of happiness and the failure therein, death in different forms, and the connection with the after world. So far, only two filmmakers have made a film on GA’s stories – renowned actor-director Amol Palekar had made a fearure film Kairi in 1999 and an FTII student Kranti Kanade made a short film Chaitra in 2002.
Lakshmi (the wealth goddess), the second wife of out-of-work yet conceited funeral priest Kesubhat, struggles to make a home from scattered family of five members. She follows a weird remedy recommended by Gangu Jogtin (a godwoman), at the cost of her children and dignity. Lakshmi painfully completes the ritual course, but it leads to dire misery and the death of her greedy husband. Lakshmi loses home, is led to her fate at the feet of the goddess she worshiped.
Shekhar Sartandel, director of Ekk Albela – biopic on yesteryears actor Bhagwan Dada, featuring Vidya Balan – guided the student team that made Lakshmi. Screenplay and direction was by Shashank Mhasawade, a former journalist. Jaykumar Chattar assisted in direction, Akshay Rane handled the camera, Aakash Patil edited the short film, while Ashutosh Ghurup and Vikrant Pawar looked after production management. They were all students of the LS Raheja Technical Institute’s Digital Filmmaking department for the year 2017 – 18. Principal Prakash Pethe, Shekhar Sartandel, Sunil Satawlekar, Rajdutt Revankar, Sujeet Gore, Kunal Deshpande trained the students in various aspects of filmmaking.