I was waiting some right trigger to start blogging. I got it yesterday. The occasion was ‘International Film Festival’ at Nagpur in general and a brilliant Marathi movie called ‘Harishchandrachi Factory’ in particular. A week ago I really knew nothing about the movie. It was when the schedule of the international film festival at Nagpur was declared that, I got to know about the name of the movie. I just happened to search more about the movie on the internet (yes the tragedy is Marathi movies are not much known in Nagpur, Vidarbha). Thankfully found a lot of information. I liked the central theme of making a feature film on ‘making of India’s first motion picture’. Still, I was curious to know how the movie is actually made. I also had read that it is a comedy movie. Hence, I was a bit worried. Was this one more stupid comedy flick? Will the ‘comedy’ and the story of ‘father of the film industry in India’ go hand in hand? Will it be documentary?
It just turned out that, it was one of the most brilliantly scripted movies I have seen in recent times!
The movie is a ‘comedy’? Is that a comedy really? Well the situations are genuinely funny. So it is a mistake to call this movie a comedy. It is based on period of 2-5 years in Dadasaheb Phalke’s life, from the point when Phalke was introduced to motion pictures and to the stage when he had created the first motion picture in India and pioneered film industry in India. I say the script is brilliant, because it looked at the Dadasaheb Phalke’s life in a lighter tone. Had it been a typical stereotype art movie, it would have shown the period of struggle as painful tragic hard process with sense of triumph at the end. No, it does not follow this formula. Instead the script just in line with Dadasaheb’s eccentric character looks at the struggle in absolute lighter tone(just the way Dadasaheb looked at adversities in life and continued with his passion). The film breaks rules, just the way Dadasaheb did! It makes its points so vividly yet without being preachy about. You get educated without knowing you got educated. Now that’s infotainment.
Dadasaheb put aside his printing business to follow the science of motion pictures. He was thoroughly supported by his wife and his kids. He set out to create the first motion picture of India, when he did not know anything about camera. He learnt everything! The first motion picture made by him was called ‘Raja Harischandra’. The motion picture that was that was born in India, from Indian stories, for us Indian people.
Personally for me the movie proved to be close to my heart. Ever since my child hood I remember me having fascinated by projectors, movies. When combination of optics, sound, script, and acting collide to create a virtual world for us, is no less than a magic. This movie has many touching and funny moments. When Dadasaheb records and displays the growing tree on celluloid symbolizing the birth of film industry in India, the thunderous applause and standing ovation was absolutely spontaneous In Smruti Theatre of Nagpur on September 13, 2009.
Marathi cinema has seen golden age through a meaningful cinema and stalwarts like V Shantaram, Bhalji Pendharkar, Raja Paranjape and many more contributed to it. ‘ Harishchandrachi Factory’ is a ‘Cinema’ of that nature. And that reflected in the crowd attending the screening on Sunday 13th September. People who understood and enjoyed cinema rooted in Indian soil.
After months here was a cinema that I came out liking whole heartedly. I enjoyed. I felt elevated. I laughed. I clapped. I admired. And I silently saluted father of the Indian Cinema.
Thank you Dadasaheb Phalke for enriching our lives.
Take a bow Mr. Mokashi and cast/crew of ‘Factory’ for reminding us of the fight that this middle class simple Marathi person gave to create something that he truly believed in.
Thank you Sameer Nafde, Nirzar film society for getting international Cinema to Nagpur movie goers!