Pawar and Shetty owe their producing collaboration to the Indian politician that introduced them four years ago. Pawar, who works in real estate and construction, was interested in film producing; Shetty, who had several TV credits on the directing side, needed a producer. “He said, ‘I’m interested in producing, but I don’t know how to do it,’” Shetty recalls.
It took several tries before they found the right project: “Aaron,” about a rural teen, who travels to Paris with his uncle to find his mother. “He said, ‘we should do this, this sounds like something to me,’” Shetty says.
Pawar financed the movie, but was on set only a couple of other times, leaving the bulk of producing chores to Shetty, who also directed the story, with Laokoon Film Group of Hungary serving as line producer for the European shoot.
“Thanks for giving such an honor to us,” Pawar says, preferring to let Shetty speak for the movie otherwise.
This hands-off approach had its benefits for the filmmaker.
“I had to work a little extra, but had zero interference,” Shetty says of the production.
“Aaron,” released in December to decent box office, was one of three pics selected by the state of Maharashtra for Cannes Market. Shetty had submitted it last year, but had not heard from the authorities, and figured that, with 150 films vying for three spots, “Aaron” was not selected. Then he got a call from the ministry.
“I am super excited,” Shetty says. “It’s like when I submitted the film there was a possibility and now it is happening.” Citing the plot of his film, he adds: “A local from a Konkan village goes to Paris, same thing.”
— Shalini Dore