Karimnagar filmmaker Naveen Deshaboina talks inspiration, 'real people' behind his movie Lata Bhagwan Khare

Naveen, 33, from Telangana's Karimnagar, was brainstorming ideas to make a documentary when he met Lata Khare. After meeting her, he knew he had to tell her story to the world. What started as a documentary turned into a Marathi feature film that helped Naveen win the Filmfare Marathi's 'Best Debut Director Award' and the 67th National Best Special Mention Award (Marathi).

By Amrutha Kosuru  Published on  8 April 2022 10:41 AM GMT
Karimnagar filmmaker Naveen Deshaboina talks inspiration, real people behind his movie Lata Bhagwan Khare

Hyderabad: On a hot December morning in 2014, Naveen Deshaboina read about Lata Khare in a Telugu newspaper, about how she won a marathon at the age of 65 and used the prize money for her husband's treatment. A few days later, Naveen borrowed some money and went to meet her in rural Maharashtra.

"She was a rural farmer, a labourer who wore sandals that broke mid-way through the marathon and won. I was so inspired that I wanted to meet her personally," Naveen says.

Naveen, 33, from Telangana's Karimnagar, was brainstorming ideas to make a documentary when he met Lata Khare. After meeting her, he knew he had to tell her story to the world. What started as a documentary turned into a Marathi feature film that helped Naveen win the Filmfare Marathi's 'Best Debut Director Award' and the 67th National Best Special Mention Award (Marathi).

In the movie 'Lata Bhagwan Khare', the main character, is played by Lata Khare. All the characters in the movie are labourers and farmers from Maharashtra's Baramati Pilmpli village in Buldhana district. "I wanted all characters to be played by real people because no one knows their stories better than them," Naveen says.

Naveen doesn't speak Marathi. He used to get by with the little Hindi he knows. "While I didn't know Lata's mother tongue, I knew that the story would be best told in her own words and her own language," he said.

It took Naveen almost an entire year to convince Lata and the other actors that he was very serious about directing the film. "There were a lot of difficulties. Many of them didn't believe me. In the beginning, I only had an old phone to shoot with," he explains.

"But eventually, they came around," he says and adds, "Lata was a big help in bringing everyone together."

It took Naveen a long time to finish shooting the movie. Acting didn't come naturally to all his "actors". "Some scenes took months to shoot. When Lata first ran the marathon, she fractured her leg. It took us three-four months to recreate the scene," he says.

Lata participated in the marathon for the prize money, Rs. 5,000. After she won the first time, she came back to Mumbai and won three marathons in a row. Lata's husband passed away later due to COVID-19.

"The movie was released in January 2020, before the pandemic hit. It was screened in 90 screens in Maharashtra. When Lata saw the movie, she began crying. It was one of the best moments in my life," Naveen says.

Naveen took no technical course in film-making nor did he have much prior experience. He discontinued his intermediate to pursue filmmaking. "Some friends taught me some aspects of filmmaking, its technicalities," he says.

He was a member of the Karimnagar Film Society where they screened popular Telugu movies from time to time. He was inspired by them.

"I did shoot some short films for fun. But I never thought that I would be able to shoot a feature film. Lata gave me confidence that anything can be done if I put my mind to it. And it did. She gave me the confidence to keep directing more movies, hopefully, to bring more awards home," he adds.

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