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Sujay Dahake: The man behind ZEE5’s Sex, Drugs & Theatre

Ever since ZEE5’s new Marathi original series, Sex, Drugs & Theatre dropped online, shock, intrigue, and curiosity have been prominent in the air. And, why not? The series deals with an unconventional subject in an equally unconventional cinematic style. Raw, intense and unfiltered, Sex, Drugs & Theatre tells the story of our youth just like it should be

We could go on and on especially about the trailer of this series. But I’ll let the trailer do the talking which you can watch below.

(Sex, Drugs & Theatre Embed Link)

               In this article, we shall be going behind the scenes and dial back the cinematic journey of its creator Sujay Dahake.

Now, many would think why to focus the pen on Sujay? What’s so special about him? Well, those skeptics could begin with watching Sex, Drugs and Theatre on ZEE5. But if you wish to know more, here is a glimpse into one of the most unique cinematic voices in Marathi cinema.

A student of the International Academy of Film and Television in the Philippines, Sujay has also studied film semiotics from the University of Mumbai. This rich educational background, itself, speaks volumes about his nuanced storytelling style. But that’s not just it, he followed it up by collaborating on various short films as an editor and cinematography before making his way to his feature film debut, Shala.

Shala (2012)

Adaptation of Milind Bokil’s novel of the same name, Shala was an adolescent love story set in rural Maharashtra of the 70s. Through its four school-going protagonists, Sujay with his writer Avinash Deshpande was able to weave a riveting tale set during a tumulous time in Indian history. The result – Not only did Shala achieve immense critical acclaim, the movie even managed to win big at the 59th National Film Awards – Best Feature Film in Marathi and Best Screenplay (Adapted). Also, Shala established Sujay as a voice to watch out for in Marathi cinema.

 

Ajoba (2014)

After a dream debut, Sujay focused his lens on a completely different genre with his next film Ajoba. While Urmila Matondkar played a pivotal role, the protagonist of this film was a leopard named Ajoba. Based on true events, this film followed the leopard’s long journey from Malshej Ghats to Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai. Shedding light on the human-animal conflict in Maharashtra, Ajoba too received critical acclaim, especially for its unique plot and treatment.

Phuntroo (2016)

After Shala and Ajoba, cinephiles’ expectations were sky high and Sujay delivered yet again with Phuntroo, a science fiction film. Science fiction is a rare genre in Indian cinema overall, let alone, Marathi cinema. So, the very attempt in this genre deserved praise. However, the way he uses A.I to raise some pertinent questions in a sci-fi backdrop made Phuntroo an insightful and gripping watch.

 

Sex, Drugs & Theatre (2019)

With this ZEE5 series, Sujay finally made the jump to the web space. Despite the challenges of creating a web series over a film, Sujay went about creating his take on the experimental theatre scene in Pune. Exploring the theme of using theatre as a platform to revolt, the series does pack a punch with its out-of-the-box execution. With actors like Sunil Bharve, Pravin Tarde, a bunch of promising youngsters and himself in the cast, Sex, Drugs & Theatre does seem like an interesting binge that explores complex themes without sugar-coating them.

The Road Ahead

Going by the recent announcements, Sujay shall continue his diverse exploration of genres. The first project in the cinephile radar is Tujhya Aila, a children’s film about verbal violence and slang. Whereas, the other upcoming film of his that is creating a buzz is Kesari, a fitness-centric movie that focusses on the importance of natural endurance over pumping iron in gyms. This keeps our expectations from Sujay high and the wait for his next film, seem longer. In the meanwhile, cinephile will have to make do with watching Sex, Drugs & Theatre online for their fill of Sujay Dahake’s awesomeness.

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