Inception of Indian Cinema was in the early 1913 under the British Raj. Dadasaheb Phalke started it with his first full-length feature film titled ‘Raja Harishchandra‘. It was a silent film as sound recording technology did not allow the sound to sync with the cinema reel. Phalke’s first film was great commercial success in India, and the first film to get screened in London, just a year later after its India release. It was a great achievement for the Indian cinema which was started by a Marathi speaking person.
In the earlier times cinema culture was not popular in India. People looked down upon towards an individual who had aspirations to work in the film industry. It was quite difficult for Dadasaheb to convince people to work for him. It was about setting up an industry which seemed to be a mirage in the early nineties. In his films, female characters used to be played by male actors, as women’s working in cinema was a social stigma. Dadasaheb Phalke found every hurdle to be a new opportunity for experimentation. It certainly inspired an entire generations of filmmakers in India.
Along with Dadasaheb Phalke other contributor to the Marathi cinema was Baburao Painter. He operated his unit from the city of Kolhapur, 375 km away from Mumbai. Baburao Painter created the ‘Maharashtra Film Company’ at that time; it was an independent film production house based in Kolhapur. Baburao was the first Indian film maker to sketch costumes, character movements and characters which was described by Albert Einstein as ‘stenographic’. Painter introduced the use of artificial light for shooting on celluloid. He was the one who pointed out the benefits and need of film publicity, when concept as such was unheard for most of the sophisticated minds.
It is sad to know that Maharashtra Film Company closed down its business at the time of introduction of sound. Baburao Painter thought that cinema should be a visual medium; if the stories are narrated using dialogue the art would lose its visual language. Looking upon the present scenario, his understanding was true to a certain extent. But his contribution to cinema could have been imperative if he would have continued with film-making and adapted to the change.
Indian cinema would remember Dadasaheb Phalke and Baburao Painter for their immense contribution towards Marathi cinema and laying foundation stone for Indian cinema eventually. Indeed their contribution was one of the most significant for the country.
Note: Stay tuned for ‘Inception of Marathi Cinema’ (Part 2)
It was a humid afternoon in Pune; localities know the exact condition on streets. I was out there clicking pictures with my Cannon 600D. It’s the best camera if the lighting conditions are good. I clicked pictures of juice makers, tea sellers, and other street hawkers; the backbenchers of society. Something that caught my attention on that humid afternoon was a ‘cycle repairman’ near Shanivar Wada.
He was in his late 60’s, his wrinkled skin and white beard told me. Can see him in the photograph, that’s him, the one I have shared above is clicked from the Cannon 600D. His name is ‘Haribhau Waghmare.’ He is working as a cycle repair man since 1975, in Pune. I talked with him for a few minutes; he seemed to be an interesting person. Then, I started digging deeper into his mind, life and story.
Haribhau lost his dad in 1975; that brought him to the profession of repairing bicycles. It supported his family financially and that was enough. He said that “I also tried my hand on truck driving. It paid good enough to a school dropout; but mother thought it was a risky profession” that brought Haribhau back to the cycle shop. He was paid Rs. 1 for a day’s labor, that’s something close to the cost of a candy today. Haribhau had even tried entrepreneurship after gaining few years of experience. First few years were good for the business; Pune was a city of bicycle riders at that time. Haribhau thought his economical and social condition is about to change. But luck failed to be on his side this time too; the shop was lost in a family dispute.
Haribhau, looks to be worried about the current situation in Pune; he thinks people should be using more bicycles than fueled motors. It is good for the environment, but more than that it offers health benefits to the bicycle rider. Cycle is the most selfless mode of transport as per the repairman’s understanding.
I asked Haribhau what does the work mean to him? He replied “It just serves me two times meal, that’s it”. I then asked him if the meal is satisfying enough? He got confused to this question perhaps, but an incomplete smile gave me the answer. Then after a moment he said “I think life decides fate for some, no one can change it”. He smiled after the answer! I smiled back.
I think that day I got something more than a photograph, it was a life lesson from the cycle repairman who’s working since 1975.
Everything you can imagine is real – Pablo Picasso
Indian subcontinent has three seasons, summer, monsoon and the winters. In other countries, summer and winter are the only two seasons. It means each person on earth encounters with the cold weather for four to six months in a year. Climate of cool breeze and woollen clothes. It depends on the place; some are cold, others colder and others freezing cold. It is just the woollen clothes, that saves people from the chilled weather. Otherwise a coughing man and a sneezing woman would have been the couple of the season.
Imagine if woollen clothes do not exist at all! How does the world look like? Or rather feels like? How will the kid’s go to school on a freezing mornings? Hope there is a solution to the issue, otherwise a generation will fall short of education. What about people traveling long distance for work? Hope their employers give them additional sick leaves during this time. Are the grandmas and the grandpa’s good? Or is the climate getting too harsh on their old skin. Does the list ended here? Or the consequences are much harsher that my imagination?
I am sure it is goanna be a great market for the air-heater companies, even bigger than the smartphones market. Car’s with air heaters will be the new luxury. Bone fire will be the most common sight, making axed wood the most demand commodity. Just like the ‘stone age times’ fire would be worshiped, at least during the winters! It won’t surprise me, if wood pieces are sold as branded product. Something like ‘Smokeless’, ‘Scented’, ‘Fast action’ etc. Big businesses won’t bother how much it harms the ecology, their profit margin shall increase with the falling temperature.
Hope such situation does not arise; the woollen clothes are the best. Serving humans since ages, that to without a single instance of acknowledgement. Remember everything you can imagine is real. Be thankful to woollen clothes!