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Harishchandrachi Factory (2009) – Review

Harishchandrachi factoryOne important film of Indian Cinema. Not because of anything but because it depicts the birth of Indian cinema. Because it depicts the struggle, character and passion of Dadasahed Phalke (The Father of Indian Cienma). Paresh Mokashi’s debut film and he is a director to watch out for.

Harishchandrachi factory is about the making of first motion picture of India in 1913. The movie does not effectively depict the exact realism of the period. It doesn’t have any political or social backdrop about freedom struggles during that period throughout the movie. The focus of the movie is narrow, not a quite drama genre. But somehow the movie compensates that drawback to some extent by bringing back the realism of 1913 with is well maneuvered sets.

I don’t know about the actual struggles endured and efforts put by Dadasaheb phalke in making the first motion picture. But after seeing this movie I definitely can see him as the pioneer of Indian Cinema. I can see the how far his passion took him up. I can see how his wife, Saraswati, was tolerant and was a pillar of strength to him in the process. But I don’t think the film has justified the whole struggle and process that might have taken pace in conception of the Raja Harishchandra. The struggles that Phalke has to overcome in the movie are,

1.) Society’s Rejection of Phalke’s interest in films.
2.) Financial hurdles.
3.) Incongruousness of the cast and crew who are first timers.

Seems to be the challenges faced by every young aspiring filmmaker even today. May be more details would have helped.
Some of the detailing in the film is interesting. In a scene where everyone is watching the movie, Phalke, interested in process, is facing towards the projector. When no women, not even prostitutes, agreed to act in films Phalke had to cast men in female roles and he trained those men to adopt the body language and characteristics of female with the help of his wife is interesting.

Nandu Madhav, who plays the role of Phalke , was a stunner. Excellent performance by him. Overall the movie is entertaining and warmly felt but depicts the birth of Indian Cinema nonchalantly.

The film is India’s official submission for Oscar Foreign Language Film category.


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