by Suhrid Barua
Harishchandrachi Factory, the directorial venture of veteran theater personality Paresh Mokani, was screened at the Baird auditorium located on the Constitution Avenue level of the National Museum of Natural History, as part of the recently held 2009 South Asian Literary and Theater Arts Festival (SALTAF). As on expected lines, the screening of Harishchandrachi Factory met with massive success.
Harishchandrachi Factory is a 2009 Marathi film (with English sub-titles) which underpins the incredible journey of Dadasaheb Phalke when he went about making Raja Harishchandra in 1913, India’s first full-length feature which subsequently triggered the birth of Indian cinema. The film depicts the obstacles and hurdles the father of Indian film industry faced in the making of Raja Harishchandra.
Set in the early 20th century, Harishchandrachi Factory was shot in the Indian city of Pune. The two-hour-long film is a long overdue tribute to Dadasaheb Phalke, who abandoned a well-established printing business, turned unemployed and then dabbled into filmmaking, sowing the seeds of Bollywood (as Indian film industry is so called) becoming a household name today.
Harishchandrachi Factory is the directorial debut of Paresh Mokani, and it turned out to be a lucky charm for him as the film got elected as India’s official entry to the 82nd Academy Awards in the Foreign Language Film Category. Interestingly, Harishchandrachi Factory beat off competition from 15 films including Bollywood movies like New York and Delhi 6 to get selected for the honor.
Harishchandrachi Factory has also won a slew of awards, perhaps an indication that the film has been received well by the masses. The film took the honors for the best director, best film and best art direction at the 46th Maharashtra State Film Awards, and also for best director at Pune International Film Festival early this year.
What’s more, if the maker of the film is to be believed, this is the first ever film to have been made on Dadasaheb Phalke. The film has Nandu Mahadev playing Dadasaheb Phalke and Vibhavari Deshpande as his wife Saraswati. The other members of the cast include Mohit Gokhale, Atharva Karve, Dilip Joglekar and Pravin Tarde.