V Shantaram`s rare British-period film screened

Last Updated: Sep 02, 2012, 13:40 PM IST

New Delhi: Audiences got a rare opportunity to watch V Shantaram`s rare 1937 social classic `Duniya Na Mane` screened on the opening day of the Delhi Book Fair to commemorate 100 years of Indian cinema.

Made only six years after the advent of talkies in Hindi cinema, the film, made by Shantaram`s `Prabhat Film Company`, wowed the albeit thin audience for its incredible sense of humour, its trenchant wit and satire.

The film, though made in the 1930s, was far ahead of its time and broached the issue of treatment of women in Indian society.

Also called `The Unexpected`, the film is based on the Marathi novel, `Na Patnari Goshta` by Narayan Hari Apte, who also wrote its screenplay.

The story revolves around the character named Kamala, played by Shanta Apte, who as an orphaned young girl is married off to an old wealthy man, for greed.
Though the audience was conspicuous by it absence, the 20-odd crowd, comprising both young and old, definitely went back feeling more fortunate than those who missed it.

"I`m glad I could see a gem like this. People do not understand old films because it is removed from the current era. But, women still suffer like the heroine did in the film, especially in the villages where they are still forcibly married to older men," said Ravi, a student.

"I think films like these are still relevant. And, people should appreciate it," he added.

The film is also known for its elegant camerawork and some rare shots like when `the old man/Kakasaheb`, played by Keshavrao Date, sees himself in pieces of a broken mirror or when the heroine sings around the gramophone, which is a constant theme in the film.

The film is also known for featuring the English song `A Psalm of Life`, a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. And, it was sung by the actor Shanta Apte herself.
Back then, the movie attained both critical and commercial success so much so that it went on to is screened at the Venice International Film Festival. It was also made in Marathi as `Kunku`.

Along with the Delhi Book Fair, the India Trade Promotion Organisation is also commemorating the 100 years of Indian cinema by screening masterpieces adapted from the works of famous authors at `Shakuntalam` theatre of Pragati Maidan here, from September 1 to 9.

Ritwik Ghatak`s `Meghe Dhaka Tara` (Bengali) based on the novel by Shaktipada Rajguru, Dev Anand`s `Guide` adapted from RK Narayan`s work, `Samskara` (Kannada) based on UR Ananthamurthy`s novel are set to be screened.

The schedule is a mix of old and new films, with `Umbartha` based on Marathi novel `Beghar`, Vidya Balan-starrer `Parineeta` adapted from Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay`s Bengali novel and `Slumdog Millionaire` being included.

The curtains come down on September 9 with `3 Idiots` adapted from Chetan Bhagat`s bestseller.

PTI