“Regional cinema has seen a boom in content more relatable to the local audiences” – Neil Bhatt


Ace television actor Neil Bhatt, who has projects such as Gulaal and Diya Aur Baati Hum to his credit, is stepping out onto the big screen with his latest venture. The boom in the rapidly growing Gujarati film industry has led the actor to go regional with his upcoming film Bhanwar. A film which speaks of the ultimate generational struggle of being traditionally rooted while having aspirations of a bright future, Bhanwar speaks of the never ending vortex of an ambitious yet homely person’s struggle with oneself. The first look poster of the film launched recently in Ahmedabad whereafter we got in touch with Neil to discuss the film. Here’s what he had to say:

From mainstream Hindi television to mainstream Gujarati films, what led you to take on such a drastic turn in your career path?
I don’t think it is a drastic step. I have always been inclined towards doing different kind of work. The subject should excite me. Bhanwar is that kind of cinema that I would like to be associated with. So when the opportunity came I grabbed it.

What was like working with Aditi Thakor?
I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing talent in the past but working with Aditi Thakor has been very enriching and creatively satisfying. She is one of a kind when it comes to directors. Shes donning so many hats in the film that it inspires you to give more to the film. At the very least i can say she has been inspirational.

How different is it working in the Gujarati Film Industry?
Honestly I have heard a lot that regional films dont have the standards as mainstream films. But working with Aditi and her production house Broken Box Filmz has never made me see the difference. I think mainstream films also work the same way as we have. So for me it was nothing different.

What attracted you a a script like Bhanwar?
Honesty. And the way Aditi narrated the script. It involved me and made me feel like the character I was being offered. I think its very relatable and for me its very important that there is conviction in my director about the story he or she is narrating, and Aditi has that.

Over the past few years audiences are turning to regional films due to lack of creativity in mainstream Bollywood. How true do you think that statement is?
No, I think content is infact improving be it mainstream or regional. Basically the audience is not ready to settle for something that takes them for granted. Ok I agree that there is the stereotypical commercial film genre too but there is also good cinema thats been appreciated by everyone today. And because of this regional cinema has been seeing a boom in content that is more relatable to the local audience.

The first look of Bhanwar has received rave reviews. Can you tell us the concept behind the poster of the film.
Thank you for the kind words. The poster of a film has to be precise and thats what we’ve tried to do. The concept was to show aspirations, struggle, hope of a boy stuck at the crossroads of city life and village life and whether to follow his own dreams or to take forward his family tradition of puppetry.

Are you considering doing Bollywood films in the future?
Yes I would love to do Bollywood films. In fact I’m open to any kind of cinema. I’m an actor and I want to act. Period.

What is your message to your fans?
It’s very rare that we come across a film thats made with honesty. I hope it comes across when my audience watches it. Theres a lot of hard work put in the making of the film and we wish it translates into the entertainment value that we all hoped for. Hope you all enjoy it.