G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ugh! Marathi Films

India Today December 17, 2007 talked about: "How India watches movies".

"...3.7 bn number of movie tickets sold in India in 2006. 1.4 bn number of movie tickets sold in the US in 2006. 29% is the share of movies in the $11 billion Indian media and entertainment industry. The share of television is 64 per cent...".

Sadly, Marathi cinema, unlike say Tamil or Telugu cinema, is not sharing this bounty adequately. Is it dying?

Smita Talwalkar स्मिता तळवलकर, actor and producer, while presiding over the third all-India Marathi film convention 2007 on November 24 and 25 at Ganesh Kala Krida Rangamanch, Pune said:

“Marathi people have lost pride in their mother tongue . They do not watch Marathi films or plays...Lack of an audience is a major hindrance for Marathi filmmakers and distributors… ”

Actor, producer Ramesh Deo रमेश देव readily agreed threatening that if this trend continued Marathi films would not be produced any more.

Ramesh Deo should know better. He acted when Marathi films fared much better. They had warmth, interesting storyline and soulful music.

He and his son are now going to release a film on the life of Vasudev Balwant Phadke वासुदेव बळवंत फडके, one of the most liberal and inspiring characters of 19th century India. I hope it will be a good film based on the criteria of a good cinema and not just because it’s based on the life venerable Vasudev Balwant. (There already is a huge benchmark as Phadke's life may have inspired Bankim Chandra Chatterjee to write the novel Anand Math in 1882. The novel has already been turned into a movie in 1952 starring inimitable Geeta Bali)

And Ms. Talwalkar, how about you producing half a good Marathi TV serial after heralding the age of decadent serials with “Avantika अवंतिका”?

It’s not lack of pride but their bad quality that puts me off Marathi films. I don't know why urban middle-class Marathi speaking people start waving flags as soon as anything goes against their wishes.

In Kolhapur, south Indian films do huge business because they are better than Marathi films.

I hope Marathi speaking Rajnikanth's megahit Sivaji gets dubbed in Marathi. It will set Marathi box office on fire, the way it did during the times of V Shantaram व्ही शांताराम or Dada Kondke दादा कोंडके.

The last Marathi films I enjoyed were “The Turn of Ghost एक डाव भुताचा” and “The Threshold उंबरठा”(both 1982).
[btw- It's not nostalgia. I enjoyed Hindi film Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006) and English film, The Pink Panther (2006)]

I have tried to watch many Marathi films after 1982 but they are lousy and unwatchable. During this time, Marathi had some very good talent-like the late Laxmikant Berde लक्ष्मीकांत बेर्डे- but they wasted it.

I don’t recall a single song of any Marathi film since "The Threshold उंबरठा".

Much talked about “Breath श्वास” (2003), I found tear-jerker and boring. Nothing wrong with sentimentality though. Shyam's Mother श्यामची आई (1953) , a 'sentimental' film, on the other hand is one of the greatest film made in India.

Noble subject doesn’t mean good film.

Jabbar Patel जब्बार पटेल made bad film on Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s life (1998). I thought here we go again. Richard Attenborough turned Gandhi into a classic, in both Hindi and English, while Ambedkar gets unfair treatment even here.


Artist: Robert Weber The New Yorker 20 July 1963

4 comments:

Nikheel Shaligram said...

Gele Te din gele!
Aniruddha, Marathi chtrapataanche yug aataa samplyaat jamaa aahe. Vaat pahaane aaplyaa haataat aahe. Ramesh devancha Vasudeo Balwant Phadke paahun tar gheu tooort.

Chetan said...

I agree with you about Marathi film industry wasting Lakshmikant Berde's talent. I am surprised that you didn't mention Ashi hee Banavabanavi, Thartharaat, Zapatlela etc. Though slapstick comedies, they were good entertainment and also proved to be immense commercial successes.

Also, some of Amol Palekar's films have been good. I especially remember Kairee based on GA Kulkarni's story. Even though the film is in Hindi it is hard not to think of it as a Marathi film as the setting and characters are so distinct. Shilpa Navalkar's performance as tani mavashi was awesome in the movie. Banagarwadi was not anywhere close to the novel itself but still had its moments. Anahat too was commendable in its use of music and wonderful setting in Hampi. A new Marathi movie about which I have heard good things is Dombivili Fast. Plan to watch it soon.

In terms of serials, have you followed Pratima Kulkarni's work? Her serials used to come on Alpha TV. Prapanch and Zoka were such a breath of fresh air and they aptly captured the middle class ethos.

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Nikheel and Chetan, many thanks for your comments. I learnt a lot.

Chetan, I agree Ashi hee Banavabanavi, Thartharaat, Zapatlela were good I have watched parts of all of them.

But I am looking for 'aahaa' moment in any piece of art. I couldn't find it there.

I agree again with Pratima Kulkarni's work. I liked parts of Prapanch. Existential in patches. But I tell you what. She should handle great book and turn it into serials... S N Pendse, Bhau Padhye, Chekov, D B Mokashi, S D Panwalkar, H N Apte etc.

I don't like Amol Palekar's work as a director. He wasted R D Karve the way Jabbar Patel wasted Ambedkar. And Kairee he didn't do justice. Kairee is a poem, it required Ray or someone comparable.
In any case, I have produced and directed Kairee for myself, I run it often when I am alone! I tell you what I remember every moment of it the way I do from Godfather.

Best,

mangesh said...

Awdhut Paralkar sent this to me:
Marathi films?
What is it?
Is it a museum piece?
Heritage structure?
Extinct species?
What is it ?


1) I refuse to call them films just because they are projected on the screen through projecter in a dark room called theatre.

2) Because It is something that doesn't entertain Govt doesn't levy E. 'Tax on it.

3) The govt gives grant for making them. It is high time it should consider giving grant to public to watch them.