Phalke's story needs to be told to global audience: Mokashi

Phalke's story needs to be told to global audience: Mokashi


Dadasaheb Phalke

Mokashi-helmed 'Harishchandrachi Factory' has been selected as India's official entry to this year's Oscars in the Foreign Film category. And theatre-veteran-turned filmmaker is determined to take the story of the making of India's first film to the global audience.

"I would like to meet all those filmmakers, actors and production houses from India who earlier were in fray for the Best Foreign Film category. Their experiences would certainly help. I would frame my strategy only after meeting them," Mokashi said. "However, right now my priority is to see that the film's print reaches them (Academy) before October 1, the deadline. The strategy would be discussed and decided only after that," he says. Phalke's story is an important one and needs to be told. The fact that Phalke's importance today has reduced to an award or some film city being named after him is disheartening, says Mokashi.

Mokashi says that as a filmmaker he was intrigued by Phalke's struggle to realise his cinematic vision. "I was highly impressed when I read a biography on the first filmmaker in the country. The aspect that impressed me the most was that he never cribbed about the ordeal he had to undergo to make 'Raja Harishchandra'," Mokashi says.

"He overcame lack of finances, technological hurdles to successfully make India's first movie. Even while facing herculean hardships, Phalke never lost hope, sense of humour and strength to overcome the problems," he says. And the making of the first Indian film was so thrilling for Mokashi that he decided to make his debut with the topic.

"The period from 1911-1913, when the maiden venture was made and released, is riveting enough. And the world, especially we Indians, ought to know about this pioneering work and its birth," he says. Mokashi says that whatever knowledge he has of film- making has been derived from watching movies of legends like Kurosawa and Bergman. "I do not have a film background. My initiation into this industry was when I first said camera... sound... action, on my sets."

Mokashi, who earlier had a small theatrical release of his movie, says the response from the people was overwhelming. "The response from the audience was both overwhelming and encouraging though we just had small release for the movie." "Releasing the movie last year made it eligible for awards. We won four awards back home. Now, by this year end, we plan a worldwide release with dubbing and subtitles, as the case may be," he adds.

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