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 on Saturday.
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.
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 they are 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 them,” 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.
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.