Mumbai: An IAS officer who also directs films

RajjoVishwas Patil, director of Rajjo, was last posted as DM of Mumbai Suburban District.

It is not often that the director of a film also happens to be a government officer. But Vishwas Patil, 56, director of Rajjo, starring Kangana Ranaut, which is set to hit the screens on Friday, is used to wearing many hats child artist, journalist, historian, bureaucrat, Sahitya Akademi award-winning writer, and now a film director.

Patil, a 1986-batch state government officer, was promoted to IAS rank in 1996. While he has been on extended leave for the last year or so, his last posting was as the Collector and District Magistrate of Mumbai Suburban District. He has also served as Joint Managing Director of Film City Corporation.

Hailing from Nerle, a small hamlet in Kolhapur district, Patil was the first graduate in his family of farmers. "The area I come from has a rich historical and cultural heritage. Kolhapur is synonymous with Maratha history. It was also the primary centre for the Marathi film industry. Both these factors played

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a big role in shaping my interest in writing and filmmaking," said Patil.

"I was a huge fan of V Shantaram. When he was shooting Pinjara, I managed to sneak into the sets. I was 12 years old then. I asked Shantaram for his autograph. He was surprised and asked me to stay back and play the role of a schoolboy in the film," he recalled.

Directing Rajjo also came by chance. "The producers, Four Pillars Entertainment, happened to read one of my books and they decided that I would be the right choice to adapt Jayant Pawar's book into celluloid," he said. Rajjo has been adapted from a Marathi book written by Pawar.

While pursuing his Masters in Literature, Patil worked as a journalist for a short period, and later joined the Maharashtra Civil Service. In 1988, his book on the Third Battle of Panipat was published. Since then, he has written half-a-dozen books. His most well-known work is Zhadazadti, on the lives of those affected by infrastructure projects in the country, which won the Sahitya Akademi award.

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