A beautiful film directed by Paresh Mokashi based on the true story about the first Indian film made by Dadasaheb Phalke.
I HARDLY knew anything about the versatile writer, director and theatre personality Paresh Mokashi till I watched the movie Harshchandrachi Factory. Earlier I had seen some movies of Amol Palekar, Dada Kondke and others in theatre and some on Dooradarshan.
I learned Harischandrachi Factory was selected as India's official entry for the Academy Award in the best foreign language film category, making it the second film after Shwaas (2004), in Marathi cinema to receive this honour. I also read from Malayalam newspapers that Harischandrachi Factory won the best debutant director award from Kerala Chalchitra Film Society and also the 18th G. Aravindan Puraskaram 2009 from Pune Chalachitra Film Society. This was the little information and modest background I had about the movie Harischandrachi Factory. While watching it the other day at a theatre, this information helped a lot in enjoying the movie in a different perspective without any barriers or influence about the versatile and genius Director Paresh Mokashi's fame and eminence. I watched the movie sitting amongst the well-educated class of audience of Dombivli. It was really an incredible experience. Probably I was the only non-Maharashtrian amongst the audience. The movie Harishchandrachi Factory starts with showing the early life of father of Indian cinema Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, popularly known as Dadasaheb Phalke, who lived from 30th April 1870 to 16th February 1944. Unlike other bio-pictures, Harichandrachi Factory is made on a great man's life as a full-fledged feature film and the story is narrated beautifully in a way that will be cherished by any good movie lover. All will wonder why nobody thought of making a film based on Dadasaheb Phalke almost 97 years after making the first film Raja Harischandra in India by him in 1913. With Dadasaheb Phalke, Indian film history begins and he will remain ever the lighthouse of Indian film world. From a humble beginning in 1913, now in India we produce more than 1,000 feature films in all languages. Nobody in any Indian language made a film on Dadasaheb Phalke until Director Paresh Mokashi entered with his debut film in Marathi, Harischandrachi Factory. The story-narration technique used by Paresh Mokashi was amazing. There was not a single moment in the film that lagged or disappointed the audience. The fast phase of the movie and rhythm were exemplary which created a very good mood, fun and interest to watch the next scenes. The events were beautifully connected in such a marvelous manner that there were no dull moments and we are grateful to the Director for his brilliance, style and craftsmanship. The classic humour is the highlight of this movie. Even the tragic events are depicted with light humour. When Phalke wanted to make the 'drama of the curtain', his relatives and well wishers took him to Thane mental hospital, was one good example. Another one was while his wife assisting the film processing Phalke does the chapatti making act. There lies a holy thread of national integrity in the storytelling and the well-picturised scenes removes language barriers to enjoying the movie. Amalendu Chaudhary's excellent camera work equally created the good mood and charm of the movie. Similarly Geeta Godbole's make up, Amit Pawar's editing, Anand Modak's background music and costumes by Mrudul Patwardhan, Mahesh Sherla and Geeta Godbole were fabulous. I strive to know Marathi language and culture and therefore I have a feeling that I can understand Marathi better than any ordinary Malayali. This feeling helped me to enjoy the movie better knowing the context, meaning and situations. The wonderful chemistry that works out between Phalke (played by Nandu Madhav), his wife (played by Vibhavari Deshpande) and their two children, even the new born third child, were splendidly portrayed in the movie. Whatever he does his entire family supports him. Phalke is shown as a gentle husband and father, and as a filmmaker too, he is determined but not too aggressive. Phalke was an eccentric, workaholic, bursting with self-confidence, extremely poised and confident in his performance. Curious to learn the new 'moving form of drama' he takes big risks, selling off his valuables to watch more movies and buy books on the subject.And soon, he takes the biggest risk and embarks on a journey to London, to meet up with filmmakers and learn the craft only with the address of one London film magazine. Perhaps Dadasaheb could have made more money and fame if he had accepted the tempting offer from British film world. However, he politely declined the offer and Paresh Mokashi in few words portrayed that situation. It really moved me and I was in tears. Giving long phony speeches, futile lip services and painting faces with tricolour is not real patriotism. Paresh Mokashi described it in few words and with well-edited scenes. No doubt Harischandrachi Factory is a delight to watch. This candid Marathi movie is a must watch and not to be missed by any Maharashtrian or rather by any Indian whether a Malayali, Bihari, Tamilian, Kannadiga, Telugu, Bengali or from any region or state. My heartfelt congratulations, to the director, for such a beautiful film.