Director: Paresh Mokashi
Based on the life of Dada Saheb Phalke, the father of Indian Cinema, Harischandrachi Factory is a sweet little
film which will charm you with it’s inherent honesty. The movie which traces the life of Dhundiraj Phalke and his struggles to make the first indigenous feature film was India’s official entry to the Academy Awards for the year 2010. Unlike the usual dark, pretentious and depressing art house fares that we get to see way too often, HF is a cute,entertaining tale replete with successful attempts at dark humor. The mental hospital scene, Dhundiraj’s search for Rajaharischandra’s heroine in the red streets,the scenes following the sale of Phalke’s worldly possessions are all genuinely hilarious and often satirical which makes this movie a fun watch for even the non-Marathi viewer. The movie also offers an interesting time travel to the India –of the 1900 s.
What I liked the most about the movie:
1.The brilliant performances by Nandhu Madhav(Dada Saheb Phalke) and Vibhavari Deshpande(Saraswathi Phalke). Even the child who played Phalke’s son was very good.
2.The static frames, modest set design and the re recording could successfully create the period feel which was required for the film.
3.The overall mood of the film. Though it had scope to become preachy and over sentimental,Paresh Mokashi resorted to maintain a feel-good feel through out the film. The length of the film(the movie is just about 119mins in duration) was also optimum.
4.The underlying Phalke-Saraswathi romantic track was charming.
What I didn’t like:
1. In the movie everything comes too easily for Phalke. The London scenes for instance, are far from convincing.
2. HF doesn’t throw light on the failed attempts and the bouts of depression and desperation which Phalke and Saraswathi might have gone through while making Raja Harischandra. The director’s attempt to portray Phalke as a man of all virtues(at some point in the film Dhundiraj’s brother even calls him Harischandra!) was a bit unwarranted.
Verdict-On the whole ‘Harischandrachi Factory’ is a fitting tribute to the pioneer of Indian Cinema, Dada Saheb Phalke and it’s undoubtedly onevmovie which should be watched by every Indian.