A quick look at more antique cinema! This is the earliest Marathi film I’ve seen (okay, it’s the only Marathi film I’ve seen). It was made in both Hindi and Marathi by V. Shantaram for Prabhat Films and is the first Marathi “talkie.” No subtitles, and I have to say it kind of dragged for me. Mostly the acting was very theatrical (i.e. loud) and the setting very stagey, and there were a lot of tedious songs, badly sung. Here is a synopsis of the plot from imdb:
A big-budget mythological film telling a famous Ramayana tale. The truth-loving Harishchandra (Tembe), king of Ayodhya, is tested when the sage Vishwamitra challenges him to sacrifice his kingdom and offer alms of a thousand coins earned through his own labour. After many hardships, Harishchandra, Taramati (Khote) and their son Rohileshwara (Digambar) earn the money when the king and queen are sold as slaves in the city of Kashi. When the queen’s new owner, Ganganath (Pendharkar), tries to assault her, her son intervenes and is killed. Taramati is accused of the killing and is sentenced to be executed by her husband. The Kashi-Venkateshwara diety intervenes, brings the boy back to life, declares the king to have proved himself and returns him to his throne.
Happy ending, yay!
Here are the members of the royal family, Harishchandra (Govindrao Tembe), the Prince (Digamber Kumar) and Taramati (Durga Khote):
This guy was the comic relief and the replacement king when Harishchandra and his family set off on their pilgrimage:
He had a huge belly and his crown had springy floral wreath things coming out of it. He slept with his crown on his huge belly and it bobbed up and down in time to his snoring.
This is the evil king Ganganath (B. Pendharkar) who tried to molest Tarasmati:
He reminded me of the King of Siam from The King and I. The prince rescued his mother from the king’s advances, but was killed when the King threw him at some solid furniture.
Thank goodness for miracles and swamis!
And they lived happily ever after.
Durga (or possibly V. Shantaram) seemed especially proud of her profile. Very patrician! This was her third film, according to imdb.
Okay, back to subtitled films for me!