Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Valu and more

Visited Poman Pimpale village where Marathi picture Valu was shot.

Documentary la chala…came the shout and Poman Pimpale villagers slowly started gathering at the village square. The children were already there, jostling each other, eager to see the ‘documentary’ – Marathi film Valu, which was shot in this village, some 14 kms away from Saswad.
On the occasion of the film completing 50 successful days, the cast and crew of Valu, decided to host a special screening for the villagers on Saturday as a tribute.
As Umesh Kulkarni, the director of Valu says, “The movie is a collaborative venture of the villagers and myself. Valu is theirs as much as it is mine.”
You just need to mingle with the crowd to find out what Umesh says is true - it’s their movie that the villagers have gathered to see.
Pradeep Poman, a village elder, says that they enjoyed the whole film making process. “It had become a past time for us. Whenever we had some time to spare, we just went to see the shooting. In fact after the crew left, we all experienced a vacuum.”
Now with the film crew back in the village, the older as well as younger people bonded with their friends. The villagers surged around Umesh and his team asking, Olakhla ka? (Do you remember us?) to which the director laughingly responded, Ka nahi olakhnar?(How can I forget?)
Most of them were eager to see the movie. Naturally so because it was their moment of pride. Their houses, neighbours, school, cattle, sarees and even fake Ray Ban goggles had found their way on the big screen!
For us it was as if we had walked straight into the set of movie. On seeing the big banyan tree we wonder if this is where the panchayat was called by Sarpanch (Dr Mohan Agashe in the film); then there were children, looking vaguely familiar, running around.
We stop and ask them if they were a part of the film. One of them giggles and replies, “No, I did not act. But that boy in the yellow shirt was in the shooting,” he points out another child.
There is Yamuna Poman, who shares screen space with Forest, (Atul Kulkarni, who portrayed the role of forest officer) sitting with him in the jeep. Then there is Sumantai Kadam whose one-liner, Bayamansanche photo kadhtana laja nahi vatat hoy resulted in laughter while watching the movie.
Of course, one has to thank Raosaheb Tamhane for lending his fake Ray Ban goggles, which completed the look of Aaba, a political upstart played by Nandu Madhav.
If the village priest and his wife, played by Dilip Prabhavalkar and Nirmitee Savant, were living in flesh and blood, they would have really appreciated Umesh’s gesture of allocating funds to build a public toilet for the village. Prabhavalkar’s character, for the lack of toilet, had to often go out to the fields.
One person, who was missing from all the action was durkya or valu. However, nothing could dim the excitement of the Poman Pimpale villagers who shushed each other. The movie had begun…

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