wogma rating: Owner's Pride! (?)
A charming and heartwarming tribute to the two years and many sacrifices that Dadasaaheb Phalke made smilingly. Only to bring us the magic of cinema. His dedication and unwavering attitude will be an inspiration to date because of this well-made film.Read more
Only an enthusiastic, never-say-die, determined, and crazy person could have brought films to India in that day and age. Importing and understanding mechanical equipment was considerably easy when you compared it to the taboo associated with doing anything out of the normal. An art form absolutely unknown to the masses, let alone go around stigma-free. And women working in a venture like this would be a social suicide. These are the odds we are transported to.
Mokashi does a wonderful job of making this a light peek into the hard work without letting us get too sentimental or too stark a depiction of his hardship. He doesn't introduce us to the darker side of Phalke's life at all. His insecurities, the craze for his work completely taking over his life to the extent that his and his family's health is at stake. Not to mention the bleak financial situation that they were already in. While we can complain about the ever-smiling Phalke, the harshness is treated in the same tone as the rest of the film.
Every once in a while the film switches to the 8mm and silent era feel albeit in color. And it adds humor and is in perfect context. Also you can't help but smile at the compare and contrast of how things have changed to today. For example, shunning anyone who wants to work towards his passion and go against the tide; the younger generation being more receptive to a new thing; the diminishing value of other forms of entertainment after the advent of the moving images; attempt of actors to steal more screen space from co-stars; we accord her on screen today; the need to imitate the technologies used in the west; the contrast between the mute but strong role a woman played in that time with the respect(?); the contrast between people applauding something as simple as the growth of a plant and the need for constant entertainment(?) now.
The film is after all an obituary of sorts. To the 2 years that the Father of Indian cinema spent in making THE first Indian film Raja Harishchandra. And like an obituary it is polite and sweet. It is also an enchanting time travel to a century ago. Go for it and take the kids along!
- meeta, a part of the audience
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