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Movie Review: HarishChandrachi Factory on Netflix

MovieHarishChandrachi Factory
GenreBiographical Comedy Drama
LanguageMarathi
TNS Score88
PlatformNetflix
Release 2009
CastNandu Madhav, Vibhavari Deshpande
DirectorParesh Mokashi

Plot

Tracing the history of Indian cinema, the film revolves around Dadasaheb Phalke’s accidental discovery of the motion pictures, as he finds himself watching a film, getting astonished by the innovation that makes it possible. We see his journey against the world, as he’s determined to learn the skill behind making a film and introduce cinema in India.

On the narrative lines, we see how he’s inspired by the story of the ‘just’ king, Harshchandra, and resonates with him with respect to kindness and integrity. The very first film that he created is also inspired by this only. So thematically and literally the story continues on a similar scale.

Writing

It’s wonderful how the determination, aching efforts, brutal mockery, even times of failure, has been portrayed in a balance that makes the film light and easy to absorb. The comic element is brilliantly infused that enables this balance. It’s a very simple story, but thinking on a critical note, the story defines the beginning of the Indian Cinema and various technical, cultural, and logistic problems that were faced during that time.

Harishchandrachi Factory

With respect to the narrative structure and themes, it’s wonderful how a parallel is being constructed between King Harishchandra and Dadasaheb Phalke’s life. The first commendation for the brilliance of the film has to be given to the narrative written, followed by its executed representation through the direction.

Direction

The narrative has been represented on the screen, brilliantly. To be able to represent deep and important themes, in a comic and light manner, the direction had to be artful for the film to be coherent and engaging. Paresh Mokashi’s direction has made it possible.

One of the scenes in which we see Dadasaheb’s struggle with finance because of his generous, kind, and just nature, has been portrayed with an empathetic yet comic fluency. When we see that he has to sell his personal belongings to procure funds, the cinematics makes us understand the gravity of the situation but at the same time keeps it light enough for us to absorb without pathos.

Performance

Nandu Madhav’s characterization of Dadasaheb is just too good. He incorporates the absurdity of the character, along with its innocence, humor, and determination, just in the right blend. Vibhawari Deshpande compliments Nandu Mahadev’s character, as she plays the role of Dadasaheb’s wife who is as virtuous and simple as himself. The two little actors that play the role of their sons are simply adorable and all the scenes that portray them are brilliantly displayed.

Reception

The film is the directorial debut of Paresh Mokashi who won the Best Director award at Pune International Film Festival, where the film was shown. In September 2009, it was selected as India’s official entry to Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film Category, making it the second film, after Shwaas (2004), in Marathi cinema to receive this honour.

Conclusion

The film makes you understand the history of our Indian Cinema in the crudest yet the most engaging way possible. You cannot miss watching this film for its cinematics, direction, performance, and most of all, writing. Go ahead and understand what it took to make the first-ever film of India.

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