By: Keyur Seta
Director: Mahesh Vaman Manjrekar
Producers: Aniruddha Deshpande and Medha Manjrekar
Writers: Mahesh Manjrekar and Sanjay Pawar
Cast: Sachin Khedekar, Sonali Kulkarni, Rohan Talwalkar, Vaidehi Parshurami, Upendra Limaye, Jitendra Joshi, Vidyadhar Joshi
Music: Akshay Hariharan
Rating: * * ½
Story Outline: Kokanastha is the remake of Mahesh Manjrekar’s own Hindi film Viruddh (2005). The story focuses on Ramchandra Gokhale (Sachin Khedekar) and his wife’s (Sonali Kulkarni) fight for justice for their deceased son Rohan (Rohan Talwalkar), who was killed by the son of the Home Minister.
(Review taken from the website Halti Chitre.)
Review: Amitabh Bachchan starrer Viruddh is considered one of Mahesh Manjrekar’s better Hindi films. Since Kokanastha is a complete remake of the Bachchan starrer, it also turns out to be a moving saga of an aged couple who have lost their young son. However, the Marathi version falls short of the original due to few reasons, which includes the forced casteism and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) angels.
In fact, both angels turn out to be smart PR and marketing strategies. Firstly, the title has nothing to do with the plot and ... To read further, please click HERE.
By: Keyur Seta
Director: Gajendra Ahire
Producer: Trupti Bhoir
Writer: Gajendra Ahire
Cast: Trupti Bhoir, Subodh Bhave, Kishore Kadam, Chinmay Sant, Suhas Palshikar, Milind Shinde
Rating: * * * *
(For more reviews, previews and news about Marathi Cinema, visit our main website by clicking HERE.)
Story Outline: The film throws light on the culture of touring talkies - film screenings inside tents (tamboo), which is slowly dying. Chandi’s touring talkies is one of the rare ones still surviving in Maharashtra. She and her brother Babya (Chinmay Sant) take great pride in showing films in their tent, which has been their family business since decades.
But their business is threatened due to some foolishness by Chandi’s drunkard father Babu (Suhas Palshikar). Chandi sees a ray of hope when filmmaker Avinash (Subodh Bhave) arrives in their locality to screen his film in the tents.
Review: With Gajendra Ahire’s Touring Talkies, Marathi Cinema can boast of paying tribute to Indian cinema in its centenary (100th) year in such a heartwarming manner that the cinema chya keeda inside you will feel mighty proud. The experience becomes even greater when you watch the movie in a tent (like I did).
Ahire does the painstaking task of presenting every minute detail of tent culture cinema with remarkable ease. The viewer gets quickly involved with the proceedings with one amusing moment following another. But despite that, the film stays miles away from being a documentary. The characterization and narration with the use of simple conflict elements make sure you instantly feel for the characters and their struggle to keep cinema alive in their tent.
What also strikes you is how Ahire has managed to present even the dishonest activities of the group in an innocent manner. For example, you really don’t mind when Chandi renames Avinash’s film as Gela Haath Cholit or even when Babya mixes few porn film reels with the reel of Avinash’s film. The characters’ unique style of film promotions to lure audiences will also keep you smiling and so will the scene where Chandi stops Babya from tearing off film posters.
From the flipsides, there comes a moment in the second half when the film threatens to be a drag. It is also strange to see Avinash’s ‘art film’ getting accepted in a place where only hardcore commercial films are acknowledged, despite the special offers for the audience. But these points won’t hurt you due to the delightful climax and the overall heartwarming nature of the film.
The soulful background score and Amol Gole’s artistic camerawork provide apt support. Ilayaraja composed English tracks suit the subject but there definitely was scope for a Marathi song considering it’s a Marathi film. But special mention should be given to the art director for bringing the touring talkies culture alive.
Trupti Bhoir displays an example of complete dedication and hard-work in her performance. She shows the tough as well as emotional side of the character brilliantly. Subodh Bhave perfectly fits in the shoes of a realistic filmmaker and gives a mature act.
An unusually hilarious performance is presented by Kishore Kadam. It’s a pleasure to see him announcing even unimportant details. After Jana Gana Mana, Girish Sant once again gives a smile-producing performance. Milind Shinde and Suhas Phalshikar provide perfect support while Neha Pendse shines in a cameo.
Overall, Touring Talkies will touch the hearts of all those who are fascinated by the magical world of cinema. The film desperately deserves some rapid word-of-mouth to succeed at the box office. It is highly recommended to see the film in a tent.
By: Keyur Seta
Director: Mrinal Kulkarni
Producers: Bhupar Bodar Enterprises, Pravin Thakkar and Amol Production
Writers: Mrinal Kulkarni and Manisha Korde
Cast: Sachin Khedekar, Mrinal Kulkarni, Pallavi Joshi, Sunil Barve, Suhas Joshi, Mohan Agashe
Music: Milind Ingle and Surel Ingle
Rating: * *
(For more reviews, previews and news about Marathi Cinema, visit our main website by clicking HERE.)
Story Outline: Anushree (Mrinal Kulkarni) is going through a troubled marriage with her husband (Sunil Barve), although the couple isn’t divorced. Suddenly, she is bestowed with an air of happiness after Dr Prakash (Sachin Khedekar), a divorcee, enters her life. Circumstances bring Prakash and Anushree together and they soon start develop feelings for each other. But soon, things become complicated for both.
Review: Is it possible to find love again after a broken marriage? This question was sensibly and heartwarmingly explored recently in Satish Rajwade’s Premachi Goshta. Mrinal Kulkarni’s directorial debut Prem Mhanje Prem Mhanje Prem Asta explores the same issue but in doing that, it also uses the exact storyline, including the twists and climax, which Rajwade used in his film.
But even after ignoring its similarities with the Atul Kulkarni starrer, the film still fails to either move or entertain, barring few moments, due to a weak script. The story takes time to develop at the start and it doesn’t take time for you to realize the amateurish screenplay and dialogues. However, there is a lot of hope and promise in store after a relationship starts developing between the two characters with the alarming interval point further generating interest.
That point, however, is hardly exploited in the post-interval portions. Instead of taking the story and drama to a higher level from that moment, the writers present a series of unappealing and uninteresting sequences that you eventually lose interest after a point of time. What’s worse is that some tear-jerking moments turn out to be unintentionally hilarious. Although the climax does include a couple of touchy moments, it isn’t entirely satisfying. Not to mention your experience before that.
As mentioned earlier about PMPMPA’s similarities with Premachi Goshta, it comes as a strange surprise because the former went on floors much before the latter released. And needless to say, if you have seen and loved Rajawade’s film, you won’t be impressed with PMPMPA.
From Milind Ingle and Suresh Ingle’s compositions, ‘Mann Bavarate’ is impressive. The fun title track at the end is not only against the subject, it also appears as a forceful attempt to be ‘cool’. From the technical areas, the camerawork is adequate while the background score should have been used more.
Apart from few moving moments, Mrunal Kulkarni’s sincere performance is the saving grace. She perfectly gets into the skin of the character and gets every emotion right. She surely deserves to do more films. Sachin Khedekar also impresses but he doesn’t get much scope to be at his best.
Pallavi Joshi comeback turns out to be above average. Her diction doesn’t help her cause. Sunil Barve isn’t bad but he too suffers from a weakly written character. This also ensures he becomes a source of some unintentional hilarity. Neha Joshi is impressive as a bindaas girl. The rest of the supporting actors – Mohan Agashe, Suhas Joshi and Smita Talwalkar – fit the bill.
Overall, Prem Mhanje Prem Mhanje Prem Asta suffers because of the writing and presentation. Due to the big names and some hype, the film has a decent chance at the box office. But it is doubtful whether it would be able to sustain at the ticket window for long.
By: Keyur Seta
Director: Chandrakant Kulkarni
Production: Puja Chhabria for White Swan Productions
Writers: Ajit Dalvi and Prashant Dalvi
Cast: Sachin Khedekar, Mahesh Manjrekar, Rishikesh Joshi, Ashwini Bhave, Pushkar Shrotri, Anand Ingle
Music: Ashok Patki and Mangesh Dhakde
Genre: Political Drama
Rating: * * ½
(For more movie reviews, news and information on MARATHI cinema, click HERE.)
Story Outline: The movie is based on the old Marathi play Mukhyamantri. Chief Minister of Maharashtra Vishwasrao Mohite (Sachin Khedekar) will do anything to walk the righteous path. When he unintentionally insults an aged and blind singer, he feels guilty. He also gets to know that the singer had applied for a flat in Mumbai under a government scheme eight years ago but is still to receive its allotment.
In order to penance for his wrongdoing and give justice to the singer, Mohite pulls up his socks to allot the flat to him and that too before sunrise. His adamancy also brings him face-to-face with the dishonest IAS officer Rehmatpurkar (Mahesh Manjrekar).
Review: Politics has been one of the favorite topics for Marathi filmmakers but there has hardly been a film portraying an example of an ideal, honest politician. Chandrakant Kulkarni’s Aajcha Divas Majha should be seen for this reason. But other than this, it is only Sachin Khedekar’s delightful act that turns out to be the next plus point since the film lacks a watertight story and narration.
From the positives, it is very refreshing and heartwarming to see an honest Chief Minister literally worshipping his duty towards the citizens. Kulkarni attains high degree of realism in depicting the everyday workings of a CM and his subordinates. Rightfully, this is shown the most at the start but the proceedings don’t appear uninteresting due to some smart dialogues, fast narration and the charisma of Khedekar.
As mentioned earlier about the writing, the motto of the protagonist is not convincing or solid enough. Not only because the work could have done the following day (since it is not a do-or-die situation) but also because his urgency is born out of his personal guilt. In other words, it is difficult to say whether he would have shown the same determination if he hadn’t insulted the singer. This also means that he wrongly makes his staff work whole night for the mistake committed by him alone.
The script also lacks the basic element of conflict which makes sure there is not much of drama in the second half. Due to this, obviously, you don’t get the kick from the climax either. The character of Rehmatpurkar does threat to be a thorn in the CM’s path but that hardly happens. They also shouldn’t have given too much importance to the stenographer and his ‘glucose’ adventures.
Although the scene inspired from Anna Hazare’s fast is a minor one, it deserves mention for being questionable. There is nothing wrong in criticizing or disagreeing with someone but one should refrain from making a funny spoof of the real-life social worker.
Since the movie is based on a play, Rajan Kothari doesn’t get much scope to showcase his cinematography skills. But despite that, he does his job well. The background score provides the right effect. There is not much scope for music either but Ashok Patki and Mangesh Dhakde should be praised for the theme track and the classical song.
Repeating the above mentioned, Sachin Khedekar gives a delightful act by carrying the film on his shoulders. In fact, he also manages to overshadow the not-so-perfect writing. Mahesh Manjrekar perfectly fits the bill as an arrogant IAS officer. Despite these two big names, Rishikesh Joshi shines as CM’s secretary with an utterly mature performance. Ashwini Bhave does well as the CM’s wife while the supporting cast including Pushkar Shrotri and Anand Ingle play their parts convincingly.
Overall, Aajcha Divas Majha is watchable more because of the performances. The film has a chance at the box office due to the big names associated with it. But it still needs some rapid word-of-mouth.
By: Keyur Seta
Director: Satish Manwar
Producers: IME Motion Pictures and Sprint Art Creations Pvt. Ltd.
Writer: Satish Manwar
Cast: Upendra Limaye, Vibhawari Deshpande, Kishor Kadam, Suhas Palshikar, Suhas Shirsat, Gauri Konge
Music: Dattaprasad Ranade
Rating: * * * *
Story Outline: Kavudu (Upendra Limaye) lives a tribal life with his wife Bhulabai (Vibhawari Deshpande) and two children near a tiger sanctuary in the interiors of Maharashtra. After their already struggling life goes through another bad turn, Bhulabai has no option but to convert to Christianity. The film focuses on the consequences of the conversion.
Review: A character in Satish Manwar’s Tuhya Dharma Koncha? is once heard saying, “Our survival is more important that our religion and name.” The movie gives this bold message in such a realistically fearless yet enchanting manner that one is forced to stand up and applaud. In fact, Tuhya Dharma Koncha? is a high quality celluloid experience in all aspects that has the potential to please audiences world over.
Thankfully, the film doesn’t aim to be a tear-jerker about the tragic struggle of a tribal family. The focus is completely kept on how struggle for survival forces someone to happily change their religion or God. The issue of religious extremism is also portrayed in a bold manner. What makes the film special is how beautifully the visual medium is used to put forth the message rather than using any kind of dramatic dialogues.
As a writer and director, Mawar easily succeeds in getting us involved with the family’s tribal life without making the proceedings appear as a docu-drama whatsoever. Even the simplest of everyday scenes are presented in a manner that will amuse you. This ensures that you instantly feel for the characters and their decision to convert. The story flow is maintained perfectly with the important issue of conversion being introduced and developed in an intelligent manner.
There is always a danger of the writer or director going overboard with the consequences of such an act in such genre of films but fortunately that doesn’t happen here. That part is portrayed in a sensible yet mature manner which stops the proceedings from going chaotic or loud. But it is the climax that takes the cake for it delights you for the daring message it gives in such a simple yet most appealing manner.
There does come a moment in the second half where the film shows signs to become a drag. This is also felt during a song on Jesus which should have been shortened. But since that doesn’t happen for a longer period, it won’t bother you, especially after the final culmination. All in all, after Gabhricha Paus, Manwar has again given a loud message that he is here to stay.
What further gives an international feel to the film is the artistic camerawork (Parixit Warrier) and an impressive background score (Augustine Samuel). Perfect art direction (Ranjeet Desai) and costume designing (Geeta Godbole) help in adding realism. The taut editing also needs to be lauded. Dattaprasad Ranade composed tracks suit the subject. The song ‘Ravavani Lanka’ deserves special mention, also for the lyrics.
In a performance-oriented film, the actors rise to the occasion. Upendra Limaye once again proves himself as one of the top performers in the Marathi film arena by giving a realistically mature act. Vibhwari Deshpande is simply outstanding! The way she gets every nuance right in a difficult role speaks volumes about her talent.
Kishor Kadam shines as a Catholic Priest. Some earnest support is provided by Gouri Konge, Yash Sutar, Suhas Palshikar, Sneha Majgaonkar, Shashank Shende, Padmanabh Bind, etc.
Overall, Tuhya Dharma Koncha? is a superlative realistic saga that deserves to be seen by all. Due to the low hype, there film is in desperate need of positive word-of-mouth to have an impact at the box office.
The veteran actor revealed the news while having a down-to-earth interaction with the audience during the event Ek Kalakar, Ek Sandhyakal.
By: Keyur Seta
(News taken from the website HALTI CHITRE.)
Over the years, Sachin Khedekar has acquired a cult following among the Marathi cinema audience. It is his ability to play a wide range of characters with ease that has helped him reached this level. However, few people might have noticed that he has never played a double role ever in his career. Well, the wait is over. Khedekar is finally playing a double role in the movie Pitruroon.
“I am currently shooting for a film called Pitruroon. It is directed by Nitish Bharadwaj. This time, you will see me in a double role,” said Khedekar. Although Pitruroon is Bharadwaj’s directorial debut, he is still known for his portrayal of Lord Krishna in the famous Mahabharat series by B R Chopra. Apart from acting in few Marathi films and directing serials like Gita Rahasya and Apradhi, Bharadwaj has also been into politics.
Khedekar revealed the news while interacting with the audience in Mumbai during the event Ek Kalakar, Ek Sandhyakal by Chaturanga. The actor had a candid discussion with the audience as he happily answered a number of their questions (some unusual ones too). “Sometimes we complain that people don’t come to the theatres when we do something good. Sometimes when we do some good work, we are not there to talk about it with the audience. So I have come here precisely for that,” he said.
The discussion started in a humorous manner when an admirer pointed out to Khedekar that after he played a young lad in the serial Chaal years back, he has always played aged characters. The actor took it sportingly and said, “I played young characters even after that serial but I wasn’t famous then. And by the time I became a known actor, my age had increased (laughs). This happens with many of us. But I take your point as a compliment. I firmly believe there should be hard work. If you get something soon, it will also vanish soon.”
While answering a question, Khedekar also recalled the experience of shooting his most challenging role of Subhash Chandra Bose for Shyam Benegal’s Bose – The Forgotten Hero. Although the makers had worked hard for his look, he gained tremendous confidence only after someone from Bose’s family felt he resembled the revolutionary. Considering the hard work they had put in, Khedekar said he wasn’t pleased with the film’s fate. “Still I am glad with the response it gets when it is shown on TV during Independence and Republic Days. This means, the film is reaching the right people.”
Apart from Bose – The Forgotten Hero, it seems the actor isn’t too upbeat about his filmography in Bollywood. He was honest enough to say, “I have played unimpressive characters like the one I played in Singham. It is a requirement of my profession. I did Hindi films only because I wasn’t getting opportunities in Marathi. Else, I would have never done.”
Apart from speaking about his upcoming movie Aajcha Diwas Majha, his growing up days in Mumbai’s Vile Parle suburb and his career as a theatre and TV artist, the actor requested everyone to watch Marathi films in theatre. “These days, I can see such bad films becoming highly successful which makes me feel bad.”
All in all, the joy of getting to interact with their respected star in an informal manner was visible from the audience’s faces. Khedekar’s humbleness was seen from the fact that he respectfully answered even a couple of strange questions from the audience.
(The remaining part of this interesting interaction will be published soon. Ek Kalakar, Ek Sandhyakal will take place every month in Mumbai with prominent people from the Marathi film industry. Stay tuned to our FACEBOOK PAGE for information regarding the next installment of the event.)
By: Keyur Seta
People normally shudder at the mention of struggle. But actor Padmanabh Bind firmly considers struggle as something positive which should even be enjoyed. It is this enjoyment that has helped him taste success as a theatre actor and later gain accolades for his act in his Marathi film debut Shree Partner, based on Va Pu Kale’s classic novel Partner. Apart from elaborating the phenomenon of struggle, the actor, in a friendly chat with Halti Chitre, speaks about the publicity scenario in Marathi film industry and the difference he experiences while acting in theatre and films.
Tell us about your background and your journey towards your first movie Shree Partner.
Right from my childhood, I have been doing theatre with my father. So I knew I would enter this field. After passing HSC from my hometown Yavatmal, I joined Lalit Kala Kendra in Pune and did my graduation and post-graduation in theatre. Well-known personalities from Marathi theatre were our faculty with the famous playwright Satish Alekar being our HOD. Similarly, we also got guidance from the likes of Vijay Kenkre, Waman Kendra, Jabbar Patel, etc. Aniruddha Khutwad also taught us direction and acting, mostly method acting. He largely molded me as an actor. I have worked in few of his plays including Mahapur, Ek Rikami Baju and Mr Behram.
After passing out from LKA and doing an experimental play Enigma with Vibhavari Deshpande, I came to Mumbai and did plays with Manaswini Lata Ravindra. Talking about Shree Partner, the makers had kept auditions but I couldn’t attend as I was having a theatre performance simultaneously. But I had mailed my photos and Sameer (Surve) sir knew about me being a theatre artist so he called me for an audition later. After few rounds, I was told I will be playing the character of Shree. What I found positive is that the main hero of a good Marathi movie is chosen through auditions. For that matter, even Shweta (Pagar) was chosen likewise.
How different is working in both mediums - theatre and films?
Apart from the basic difference that people have pointed out, I personally feel working in films is more difficult because you have to continuously be aware about your character’s continuity. For example, after shooting the 42nd scene, you directly jump to the 53rd. Likewise; all scenes that need to be shot inside a house are shot together. Whereas, in theatre, you play your entire character at one go. In Shree Partner, we have shown a span of at least 5 years. In these years, a person’s outlook and other things definitely change. So an actor needs to calculate this in cinema.
There is a general belief that people with no film background or godfather have to struggle a lot. What is your opinion on this?
I feel everybody has to struggle. You can’t avoid it. I just can’t understand why people consider struggle as negative. I believe there should be joy in making an effort to prove yourself as that is what struggle is. You have entered this profession because you like it. And if I have to take pains to achieve my goal, I can’t consider it negative. That is the real joy! It can only be negative for those who have entered a field without interest. One friend wanted to become a guitarist but due to his father’s wish, he did MBA and is now working in a company. For him, it is struggle. Frankly, everyone has to struggle with or without a godfather because it doesn’t end at getting your first break. You have to prove yourself. Even Ranbir Kapoor has to. Only the level of struggle is different. Ranbir might get 10 opportunities to prove himself while Padmanabh Bind might get only one. Even Amitabh Bachchan faces struggle to sustain the level he has reached.
In recent years, a lot of Marathi films are receiving great critical acclaim but are not making it very big at the box office regularly. What according to you is the reason for this?
I personally feel we lag behind in publicity. I am not talking about innovative publicity and not the normal publicity. What is important is that if people are not reaching out to us, we should reach out to them in a different, creative manner. During Shree Partner, we created bookmarks and distributed them in libraries in various cities and asked them to hand it over to the members. Even the makers of Masala started their publicity campaign in Nagpur in an innovative way and it worked. So if you publicize your film innovatively, people will surely watch.
Another important thing is that people in a city like Mumbai are more interested in Hindi films. Even my friends in Yavatmal will compulsorily watch Salman Khan’s films. But what is surprising is that good Marathi films don’t even release in Yavatmal! Apart from Kaksparsh, no other good Marathi film has released there since last year despite it being a city. Even own film wasn’t released there! In such scenario, how will people develop interest in Marathi films?
What is your dream role?
Whichever character I will play next will be my dream role. Acting in films and theatre gives me immense pleasure and I feel charged up. So every character I play, no matter big or small, is a dream role.
What next after Shree Partner?
I am in talks with few makers and I have read few scripts but nothing is decided officially. So I can’t speak anything now. Even during Shree Partner, I didn’t reveal anything while I was shooting for it. Until and unless a movie is dubbed and released you can’t say anything about Marathi films. It can be scrapped at any moment, not necessarily due to financial reasons. Recently I read a survey that out of all films made in India, only 20% see a release! But I would like to say I am doing a Marathi play based on The Lover by the late Herold Pinter. I will act as well as direct it.
Director: Avdhoot Gupte
Producers: Ekvira Productions, A Square Entertainment and Black Gold Films
Writer: Avdhoot Gupte
Cast: Abhijeet Khandkekar, Prarthana Behere, Vikram Gokhale
Music: Avdhoot Gupte
Rating: * * ½
Story Outline: In order to prove to someone that a Marathi person can be a successful businessman outside Maharashtra and Maharashtrian food can impress even non-Maharashtrians, Sayaji Nimbalkar (Abhijeet Khandkekar) starts a dhaba in Bhatinda (Punjab) named Jai Maharashtra Dhaba, Bhatinda.
Within a year, his dhaba crosses great levels of success as the Maharashtrian cuisine makes the local Punjabis go crazy. In the meantime, Sayaji also falls for a Punjabi girl Jaspinder Kaur (Prarthana Behere). But is the couple destined to be together?
Review: Avdhoot Gupte’s unique idea of mixing Maharashtrian and Punjabi culture with the use of food in Jai Maharashtra Dhaba, Bhatinda should be lauded for it gives rise to a number of smile-producing moments. But the overall satisfaction derived from the dish isn’t as mouth-watering as expected due to a not-so-perfect writing among other things.
From the positives, the film hits bulls-eye right at the start in mixing the two cultures with the song ‘Bolato Jithe Chaughada’. Likewise, the rest of the songs are also a very intelligent blend of Marathi and Punjabi music which is a remarkable achievement by Nilesh Moharir. Narration-wise, the first half makes for a decent watch, mostly due to some scenes between the lead pair and Sayaji’s warm relationship with the locals of Bhatinda. The short length of this part works well too.
Now, onto some flipsides. The very vital moment of the protagonist seeing the leading lady for the first time and falling in love doesn’t appeal much since he behaves more like a flirt than a lover boy. There is also a lack of proper aim or focus in the second half due to few sub-plots, including the forceful humorous track of Sayaji’s sardar friend. The pro-Marathi heroic dialogues don’t produce the kind of impact that was needed. Lastly, the all-important twist, although unpredictable and heart-warming, doesn’t convince entirely.
The film also doesn’t appear like a love story between a Mahrashtrian and a Punjabi because firstly, Behere doesn’t look like a Punjabi. And since we have seen her in Marathi serials and the fact that in the movie she is shown as someone speaking Marathi flawlessly also doesn’t help.
As mentioned above, the fusion music is one of the biggest strong points with all songs making a mark. The technical areas (cinematography, background score and editing) are praiseworthy too.
The performances of the debutant lead pair add to the plus points. Abhijeet Khandkekar succeeds in the difficult task of playing a tough guy and a lover boy simultaneously in his first film. Prarthana Behere also displays the acting skills and cuteness needed by her character. But there is still scope for improvement for both.
Although the sardar actor playing Abhijeet’s friend provides some laughter, he is over-the-top on a number of occasions. Veteran actor Vikram Gokhale plays his part well but he doesn’t get much scope. The rest of the supporting actors are adequate.
Overall, Jai Maharashtra Dhaba, Bhatinda can be seen only because of the fusion of Marathi and Punjabi culture. It requires some rapid word-of-mouth to succeed at the box office.
Indian cinema took birth a hundred years ago when Dhundiraj Govind Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra was released in May 1913 at Mumbai’s (then Bombay) Coronation Theater. The film was a result of some painstaking efforts by Dadasaheb Phalke, due to which he acquired the title - Father of Indian Cinema. Now, almost a hundred years later, the magic of Phalke’s earliest films was recreated on the big screen recently at Mumbai’s National Center for Performing Arts (NCPA).
A group of audience that had gathered was bestowed with a memorable experience of watching Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra (1917), Kaliya Mardan (1919), Lanka Dahan (1917), Shri Krishna Janma (1918) and a documentary on him named Dream Takes Wings (1970). Composer Rahul Ranade’s background score was added to the films to make viewing more pleasurable for people of today’s era who aren’t used to watching silent films. The screening was made possible by the National Film Archives of India (NFAI) based in Pune. The event was a part of NCPA Flashback Series which is started to celebrate 100 years of Indian Cinema.
Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benagal, who was the guest of honor at the event, seemed pretty excited for the screenings. “It’s a pleasure to see Phalke’s films. His (Raja Harishchandra) was the first film to be made completely in India. So it is Phalke who is responsible for spreading cinema in India,” he said. Benegal also revealed how quickly cinema got acceptance in India. “After the introduction of sound (talkies), Indian cinema just took off as if it was invented here.”
By going back to the pre-independence time, Benegal also criticized the need for films to be censored. “British Government used to ban films that had nationalist sentiments. Unfortunately, even 66 years after independence, films are still censored, which, I think, is ridiculous in a democracy.”
Director of NFA Prashant Pathrabe shared some good news for the audience. He said screening of more of such classic films under NCPA Flashback Series would take place at the end of every month at NCPA for the next year. “We would love to take our association with NCPA forward,” he said.
Some of the films that would be shown in the upcoming NCPA Flashback Series include Sant Tukaram (Marathi, 1936), Sikandar (Hindi, 1941), Achhut Kanya (Hindi, 1936), Manthan (Hindi, 1976), Devdas (Bengali, 1935), Chandralekha (Tamil, 1948), etc.
So if you are lover of quality cinema, you know where you should be heading at the end of each month!