Do not judge a movie by its title. The Marathi comedy Fugay is not about two men in love and the balloon of the title is not a metaphor for anything but the obvious. “We wanted a title that had colour and a universal representation of fun and positivity,” director Swapna Joshi told “There’s a childlike quality to balloons, they connect immediately with innocence.” Another option was Party, but Fugay it was.

The December 2 release stars Marathi stars Swwapnil Joshi as Hrushikesh and Subodh Bhave as Aditya. They play best buddies from Pune who take off for an extended bachelor’s party to Goa when Hrushikesh’s marriage is fixed. The movie is based on a story by the actors, and it was they who persuaded Joshi, a veteran of television and director of the Marathi films Mitwaa (2015) and Lal Ishq (2016), to sign up for the project. Swwapnil Joshi starred in both these films.

The breezy trailer showcases the fun-and-frolic Goa of the cinematic imagination. The touchy-feeliness of the male actors in the trailer and songs is what has prompted speculation that the film is a remake of Dostana (2008), in which two straight men pretend to be gay in order to rent an apartment. Joshi has also heard comparisons with The Hangover (2009). “Some are saying it is Dostana, others The Hangover – either way, everybody says we are waiting for it,” Joshi said. “The trailer is not being ignored.”


Fugay is being released at a time of severe economic distress, but Joshi hopes that the movie’s humour and escapism will persuade audiences to open their wallets. “These are stressful times, and we need to unwind and have fun,” Joshi said. Fugay is a genre first for the director. “I have never directed a comedy, but I love to watch comedies,” she said. “Comedy has a thin line, it can go into the Andaz Apna Apna zone or the double meaning zone.” Fugay is “in the Chupke Chupke zone”, Joshi added. “It is clean family fun, the comedy is situational, there is nothing below the belt, no black humour or sarcasm.”

The movie also stars Prarthana Behere and Neeta Shetty, but all eyes will be on the male leads, both of whom are being presented as hipper versions of their screen selves. Swwapnil Joshi and Subodh Bhave have new hair-cuts and wardrobes and seem hell-bent on reinventing themselves as youth icons. “Neither of them came to me with any baggage,” Swapna Joshi said. “Swwapnil will still be charming. He has been fighting villains in the last few films, but he stands back in this one. Subodh has an intense and serious image, and has stayed far away from comedy. I had to warn both of them not to go overboard and retain some of their baggage for their fans.”

Handling two male stars has not been an issue for Joshi, who is among a small group of female filmmakers in Marathi cinema. Women are usually found behind the camera for arthouse films (such as Sumitra Bhave and Chitra Palekar), and it is still rare for a woman to helm a commercial project. “I am quite non-judgemental in my work, but people tend to think that women are judgemental,” Joshi said. “There are fewer women in the entertainment industry because of long working hours. I have worked in television for 23 years, and I did face quite a few situations. I remember not being chosen for a serial based on the defence forces because I am a woman. But that changed, and I was given all that a man could do.”

Swapna Joshi.