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With 'Satya: Ab Tak Pachchees', OTTplay charts the legacy of a genre-defining film

This July, relive the 25-year legacy of Satya, arguably one of Indian cinema's most impactful films, with the documentary 'Ab Tak Pachchees', an OTTplay Original.

With 'Satya: Ab Tak Pachchees', OTTplay charts the legacy of a genre-defining film
Satya: Ab Tak Pachchees will stream on the OTTplay app

Last Updated: 11.54 AM, Jul 06, 2023


RAM GOPAL VARMA's monumental feature film Satya completed 25 years on July 3 this year. Released in 1998, the film broke a glass ceiling in the Hindi film industry owing to its gritty subject, realistic setting and stunning performances. Except for Urmila Matondkar and Telugu star JD Chakravarthy, almost every other actor in the film was little known. Satya acted as the launchpad for actors like Manoj Bajpayee, Saurabh Shukla and Shefali Shah — who are today known for their stellar acting chops, across celluloid and OTT shows. Not just the actors, but also other technicians in the film, right from writer Anurag Kashyap, editor Apurva Asrani and music composer Vishal Bhardwaj, found the film to be an elevated stepping stone into the world of Hindi cinema. In every sense of the word, Satya was propelled by "beginners".

Commemorating this trailblazer film, on its silver jubilee, OTTplay is all set to release a special documentary in July. Titled 'Satya: Ab Tak Pachchees', the documentary throws light on how this film came into being 25 years ago and what its legacy has been since then. It is rare to see a work of art impact so many lives and careers the way Satya has. Ab Tak Pachchees is a compendium of several anecdotes, memories and observations of people who were directly involved in the making of Satya. At the same time, the documentary also presents views and commentary on the Satya's legacy from people within the industry, whom Varma's film has greatly impacted. 

Ab Tak Pachchees features in-depth interviews with Ram Gopal Varma, Manoj Bajpayee, Saurabh Shukla, Anurag Kashyap, JD Chakravarthy, Apurva Asrani, Gerard Hooper (Satya's DOP) and Barnali Ray Shukla, along with contemporary filmmakers such as Vasan Bala, Gurmmeet Singh and Atul Sabharwal. Film critics and connoisseurs Uday Bhatia (whose book Bullets Over Bombay is dedicated to Satya) and Sucharita Tyagi also add their vantage perspectives to the narrative.

Satya is often considered RGV's best film to date. Themed on Mumbai's gang wars and police encounters, Varma brought to the fore a story steeped in realism. It was a film unlike any of its contemporaries, most notably Karan Johar's blockbuster debut Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. While most films of the time, like Johar's, built a dreamy, escapist world for cinegoers, Satya bluntly showed the harsh reality of Bombay's killing fields and how it impacted the lives of everyday citizens. Satya, in a way, threw light on a microcosm within Bombay that nobody acknowledged before.

In making the film, Varma also charted the language for gangster dramas in the Hindi film industry. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that the cinematic treatment of violence and gang wars in the underbelly of Bombay's ghettos can today be viewed through a pre- and post-Satya lens, and one is bound to find a clear distinction between the two. "Satya was destined to happen, and destined to change the industry for good," Bajpayee tells OTTplay in Ab Tak Pachchees.

Satya: Ab Tak Pachchees has been put together by a Mumbai-based collective comprising young, talented cinephiles and film professionals, for OTTplay. The documentary film is directed by Parth Vyas and Hitarth Desai, and produced by Suryasarathi Bhattacharya of Hindustan Times Media Labs. Six DOPs — Sourabh Mahadik, Kashish Juneja, Tirthak Shah, Mithun Bhat, Vinod Bangari and Himanshi Saini — have worked on Ab Tak Pachchees

FTII-alumnus Priyanka Arora has edited the documentary, besides also working on the colouring, sound design and mixing. Vyas, who currently heads the Social Communications Media (SCM) department at Mumbai's Sophia Polytechnic College, has also worked on the script and edited the film alongside Arora and co-director Hitarth Desai. Kashish Juneja and Allen Elias Babu (both SCM alums) have worked as assistant directors and assistant editors on the film.

Satya: Ab Tak Pachchees will stream on the OTTplay app on 10 July. (Available on Google Play and the Apple Store.) Follow @ottplayapp on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more updates.

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