Harishchandrachi Factory Reviews
Never a lofty biopic that romanticizes Phalke's struggle, Mokashi's film in fact is a humorous, light-hearted take on a challenging adventure filled with impossible hurdles. From raising money by selling his furniture, and casting men in female roles because no women agreed to act in the film, Harishchandrachi Factory looks for irony and laughs even in the darkest places. A portion in the story when Phalke combats near blindness is recounted evenly, without any trace of over-sentimentality or heavy-handed direction.
A must-see film, with a delicious sense of humour, Harishchandrachi Factory boasts of some sterling performances by the lead actors (Nandu Madhav and Vibhawari Deshpande) as Mr and Mrs Phalke who end up as the most chilled out couple of the early 20th century. The film works as a period drama too, with an exquisite eye for detail. But most importantly, it lays down the mantra of Indian movie lore. When someone asks Dadasaheb what kind of movies he would like to make, he replies: The one's which are resplendent with our culture and ethos.
Mokashi could've easily succumbed to making a documentary style biopic based on Dadasaheb (Dhundiraj) Phalke's life, a man credited with being the father of Indian cinema. Instead, the director goes in for ample doses of subtle humour used at the right moments to make the film amusing for the audience – much in the same way a story is narrated to a wide-eyed child. And none of it is fiction, as all incidents have been taken from the stalwart's life.
Harishchandrachi Factory is that rare thing - a delightful film that makes its point with charm, simplicity and a wonderful lightness of being. Director Paresh Mokashi's triumph is that instead of predictably eulogizing this extra-ordinary man, the film humanizes him and celebrates his utterly mad and ferocious passion for cinema.
Mokashi's feel-good film tells you about the man behind the famous name. Of how he fought social ostracisation and ridicule for wanting to follow the simplest, most (seemingly) ludicrous dreams. Mokashi might well be compared (and the comparisons will be a tad too early) to Roberto Benigni. And it really doesn't matter if this film never made it to the Oscar shortlist. Harishchandrachi Factory is a winner from the first reel itself. And long after you've left the theatre too.
The storytelling techniques used by the writer, director and theatre personality Paresh Mokashi`s makes the film an absolute delight to watch. Instead of being just another biopic, the film delves into the life of Dadasaheb Phalke and presents before us an insight into the mind of the genius.
Mokashi seems to have a detailed study on both Phalke and Harishchandra and restages scenes and anecdotes. Period look is detailed. The lingo used, the costumes, and the colour tone everything is in sync with the era. Madhav as Phalke and Vibhavari as his wife and pillar of support are picture perfect. The second half when the actual film making begins becomes more entertaining
Harishchandrachi Factory is a romp. It is funny, well paced and stays with the two years in which Dhundiraj Govind Phalke made his first film, the now legendary Raja Harishchandra. We all know that women, even sex workers, refused to act in cinema, but it is great to see how the high-born Brahmin Phalke (Nandu Madhav) must deal with the one woman who agrees, and how Mrs Phalke (Vibhavari Deshpande) must comb her hair and remove the lice.
It's a wonderful voyage captured adeptly by Paresh Mokashi. You don't want to miss the film that'll have you laughing most of the times but not without missing the enormity of the story.
Mokashi does a wonderful job of making this a light peek into the hard work without letting us get too sentimental or too stark a depiction of his hardship. He doesn't introduce us to the darker side of Phalke's life at all. His insecurities, the craze for his work completely taking over his life to the extent that his and his family's health is at stake.