Witnessing the Birth
Ratings: * * * * ½
The cinema industry is flourishing in India since close to a hundred years. Thousands and thousands of films have been made in a number of languages and genres. But ever wondered how the gates of the Indian film industry were opened and by whom? Paresh Mokashi’s Harishchandrachi Factory enlightens on the birth of Indian cinema. The end result is an exciting journey of the Father of Indian Cinema, Dhundiraj Govind Phalke (respectfully known as Dadasaheb Phalke) – the person who made cinema possible in India.
Right from the time he saw a movie for the first time, Phalke became eager to make a movie himself and join the filmmaking profession. However, he possesses zero knowledge about the art of filmmaking. His eagerness to learn and master the art triggers his journey to make India’s first motion picture. He receives moral, practical and emotional support from his wife Saraswati (Vibhawari Deshpande). Phalke doesn’t even hesitate to go to London by putting his financial future at stake.
The uniqueness about Harishchandrachi Factory is the feel-good factor throughout. Although this is a story of a struggler, Mokashi, as a writer, has added humor in each and every scene and that too in the most simplest of situations. He proves that one doesn’t always need slapstick and sarcastic jokes to make people laugh. Even simple and clean humor can produce hundreds of rib-tickling moments.
To direct a movie about a movie isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and Mokashi shows that the cup is certainly his. He has shown every aspect of filmmaking from story idea to script preparation, from reel development to camera operation, from cast selection to scene narration and finally, from the final shoot to the actual screening. During all this, the goings doesn’t appear like a documentary or a learning activity even for a minute. However, amidst all the fun, there should have been more footage to the struggling factor considering it was a daunting task for India’s first filmmaker.
Art Director Nitin Desai produces a visual treat by building sets which take you back to the 1911-1913 era. In fact, Desai’s work makes sure that the art direction turns out to be one of the main characters of the movie.
Nandu Madhav in the central role of Dadasaheb Phalke is tremendous and flawless. The film would not have looked so beautiful if Phalke’s character was not played with conviction but Madhav takes full care that doesn’t happen as he oozes perfection in every frame. Vibhawari Deshpande (Savitri) and the rest of the actors playing the film crew and the neighbors give sound performances too.
It would be unfair to label Harishchandrachi Factory as a Marathi movie. It’s one of those rare films which crosses all language and cultural barriers. And if you like cinema, you will love this one.
Satrah Saate Kiti? To hell with such questions!
Rating: - * * * * ½
Can you label a student as dumb if he fails to remember the tables of 12 and 17? Does the by-hearting of chemical equations and reactions determine intelligence? Is it really necessary for a student to mug up the centuries old unimportant happenings in order to prove his worth?
After 3 Idiots, Mahesh Manjrekar’s Shikshanachya Aaicha Gho shows the mirror to our faulty education system where kids are reduced to just coolies who are made to earn wages in the form of ranks. And when it comes to executing and providing justice to the subject, Shikshanachya Aaicha Gho rises much above than 3 Idiots.
Shreenivas Rane aka Shree (Saksham Kulkarni) is one amongst lakhs of student coolies. Shree possesses special talent in the game of cricket. However, his father Madhukar Rane (Bharat Jadhav) hates his son’s crazy interest in the game and turns a blind eye on his talent simply because he wants him to do well in studies. One day, a shocking incident forces Madhukar to change his belief. He realizes his mistake as well as the faults in the education system and goes on a quest to change it.
Only someone like Mahesh V Manjrekar can narrate such a hard hitting social subject in a manner which appeals to every section of the society. His mastery can be seen in each and every scene. Those which stay etched in your memory include Madhukar’s encounter with a school teacher and his interaction with the Chief Minister (Sachin Khedekar). The typical middle class feel with continuous situational humor makes it appealing to every common man. Such similar middle class scenarios were earlier seen in Manjrekar’s Vaastav, Tera Mera Saath Rahen, Ehsaas, Hathyar, Viruddh and Mee Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy.
Contrary to many, Manjrekar never ever rubbishes the need for education. Instead, he has put forth some changes which are required in our education system which include - lessening the syllabus burden, putting off the examination pressure and, most importantly, the elimination of ranking system. The criticisms of the education system are presented in a logical way without going overboard even a bit. The onus is also on those parents who make life hell for students with their overambitious expectations without realizing their children’s talent in other areas.
Such a relevant concept and a powerful script could not have looked so impressive without a superlative performance by Bharat Jadhav. The actor deserves high praise in each and every scene as he delivers one of the finest performances to have come in recent years. Saksham Kulkarni in the role of the troubled child is a perfect cast. He does full justice to his character while portraying every emotion with ease.
Gauri Vaidya plays the role of the younger sister perfectly. Kranti Redkar and the rest of the neighbors provide ideal support. However, it is Siddharth Jadhav who surprises everyone. His character of Ibrahim Bhai is lovable. The development of Ibrahim’s character is very similar to the one of Mukesh Rishi in Manjrekar’s own Kurukshetra. Lastly, Sachin Khedekar and Manjrekar excel in their cameos.
Shikshanachya Aaicha Gho is a must watch for everyone including the non-Marathi sections purely because of the urge it provides for a change in our education system, which is the desperate need of the hour. The unprecedented response at the box-office will make this as one of the highest money making Marathi movies of the year.