Archive for February 15, 2014

fandry2

1. Because it’s a terrific film.

2. Because it’s a terrific film to debut with. Such an assured debut is rarity.

3. Because it has released with English subtitles all over Maharashtra. And will release outside Maharashtra on 28th February, 2014.

4. Because to quote Mira Nair, if we don’t tell our stories, who will. And to add to that, if we don’t watch our stories, who will.

5. Because only Nagraj Popatrao Manjule could tell this story, not anyone else. Because he has lived it. Much like why nobody thought about setting an entire film inside a tank.

6. Because you probably don’t know what ‘Fandry’ means, even if you are a Marathi manoos. And if not, try asking your Maharashtrian friends. Doubt you will get the answer. We tried it all, saying it from experience. You love your little cocoon.

7. Because current Bollywood has forgotten what “adolescence” means. Same with you.

8. Because you don’t know what your caste is. And it has never mattered in your life.

9. Because every time you saw a pig, you felt it’s ugly and so filthy. Nothing humane there. You don’t need a new feeling.

10. Because it’s that rare film whose 2 scenes made it to our year end list of 16 Most Memorable scenes of the year. Scroll down to read why.

Still looking for another excuse?

We discovered the film at last year’s Mumbai Film Festival. This was our first reaction, or you can call it brief review of the film (was posted here)  :

Fandry – It’s Beasts Of The Maharashtrian Wild. The pains of growing up, of dreaming about the girl from upper caste, trying to get fair skin, and aspiring to own a pair of jeans. About a family of pig catchers who are considered untouchable in the village, and of adolescent days. The harsh reality might seem like poverty porn, but a line from The Great Beauty came to my mind – you can’t talk about poverty, you have to live it. A daring film where the entire film seems to be set-up for the powerful last 20 minutes.

Later on, for our year-end post, Kushan Nandy and Varun Grover wrote about 2 powerful scenes of the film. One has spoiler alert, other you can read.

@kushannandy on Fandry’s climax

[SPOILER ALERT]

Fandry, Nagraj Manjule’s charming story of Jabya, a young boy battling his inner turmoil of being born a Dalit, whose only source of income is rescuing the village from droves of pigs by chasing them out, and only happiness is a teenage infatuation and perhaps a non-existent bird, reaches an inevitable, satirical climax that can truly be described as the successor of the Mahabharata scene from Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro.

Cruelly hilarious and dripping with pathos, the last scene of Fandry is a portrayal of who we truly are. As Jabya is forced to help his aging parents chase the pigs down, the village gathers to celebrate this humiliation, almost like spectators at a T20 match.

At one point, one of the characters uploads Jabya’s plight on his Facebook page. That one moment points out how technology has invaded us and yet human values remain absent.

However, Manjule’s masterstroke is Jabya doing exactly what the viewer had been wanting to do all along. He gathers his frustration and desperation to plant a sounding kick into the belly of the very society that was trying to hold him down. Match over.

Sadly though, Jabya’s non-existent bird somewhere stands for the freedom from society’s humiliation that he shall never ever get.

And this one is SPOILER FREE.

@varungrover on Fandry’s national anthem scene

Only in a state like Maharashtra, where right-wing is so strong that even after the death of their biggest ideologue I don’t feel confident and safe mentioning his name in a post that has no direct criticism of his easily-criticizable styles of functioning, where newspaper offices get ransacked for faintest of hurt sentiments, where people get beaten up for not standing up during the mandatory National Anthem before the film –  a film like ‘Fandry’ is possible. (Just like BR Ambedkar and Vijay Tendulkar couldn’t have been anywhere else.) A state of oppression breeds an inventiveness and ferocity of protest like nothing else.

And in a protest film (though treated like a coming of age for the most part) like ‘Fandry’, comes a scene that makes all the protest scenes in the history of our cinema look tame in comparison. A Dalit family is trying to catch a pig next to a school, the Dalit kid is feeling humiliated ‘cos his friends might be watching the reality of his caste he has so carefully hidden from them, the pig evading them like a pro. After lots of chasing the pig finally seems to be cornered. The family now just has to move closer and catch it and end the misery on both sides of this hunter-hunted divide. The kid seems slightly relieved that the ordeal may be over as they encircle the pig. But, just before they could swoop down, the national anthem starts playing in the school assembly next door. Nobody can move now, except of course the pig. As the Dalit family stands in attention, paying ‘due respects’ to the nation they are equal citizens of, the pig walks away into the free morning.

The whole cinema hall jumped up and applauded the scene wildly. I guess the irreverence, cheekiness, and metaphor it stood for connected with all of us, so used to standing awkwardly before the film, one hand carrying smartphone, another carrying popcorn, thinking ‘Pandit Bhimsen Joshi ji, aalaap mat lo itna lamba. 56 second mein khatam hona chaahiye ideally!

– Click here to watch its trailer and for cast-crew and other details.

Still waiting?

Go, watch it.

– Posted by @NotSoSnob