Adjectives like wow and awesome fail to do justice to the black and white images of Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn or those of Ingrid Bergman and Veronica Lake. While sifting through hundreds of rare posters, your eyes fall on the cassette of Trial at Nuremberg and a shudder runs through you. And, then you see something which again gives you feeling of awe - a documentary Making of A Legend based on the Oscar award-winning movie Gone with the Wind. For a film buff, Vinayak natu's home is like Ali Baba's cave filled with
Hollywood posters, books, trivia, cassettes and DVDs. Natu, who calls himself a connoisseur of Arts, has 220 posters, 270 cassettes and DVDs and several books on Hollywood, Maratha history, philosophy, sociology and anthropology.
His mantra is, “Man should be rasik. He should enjoy Art in some form or the other. Merely hoarding money and collecting material possessions is not my cup of tea.”
One would imagine that the 79-year-old Natu has spent half his life in collecting the film memorabilia. Not so. Of course, he has read and researched the topic of his interest, but he began collecting rare cassettes in the 80s. “I began collecting cassettes in the late 80s, when I could afford it,” says Natu. He spent three weeks in Australia searching titles, followed by another trip to US. “Thanks to late Vishram Bedekar (film director), I could lay my hands on some prints in US,” says Natu.
“The first cassette which I got was The Hunchback of Notre Dame, followed by Sound of Music,” he says. As for the books – The Image Makers, Spies and Spy Masters –Natu did not have to go too far. They were available, right in his backyard, Kunte Chowk on Laxmi Road to be precise. He used to regularly visit to the Hindustan Book Stall above the Cosmos Bank to get the latest coffee table books on Hollywood. Keeping pace with the latest trend he has also converted all his cassettes into DVDs, carefully numbered and stored in his cupboards.
His collection has been applauded by stalwarts from film industry like
Bedekar. Bedekar saw Casablanca for the first time at Natu’s place.
A matriculate, Natu voices his disdain over the way Hindi films are made. “Our film-makers should learn something from the West. The people out there are so systematic. A film was being made on Madame Curie and the production team sent the script to her niece for her approval. Do you see such things happening here?” he asks.
He is also full of praise for the way the West has recorded its special moments. “They have brought out a book named Kisses, which is interspersed with the scripts leading up to that scene. We do not see that kind of work happening here,” Natu says.
After all that criticism, Natu is also aware of the fact that not many youngsters of this generation have seen such rare works. He is willing to allow them entry into his Ali Baba’s cave, but they should understand what a movie is. He signs off with “A movie is something which moves you.”