Director: Sai Paranjpye; Writer: Sai Paranjpye; Producer: Sai Paranjpye; Cinematographer: Madhu Ambat, G.S. Bhaskar; Cast: Shabana Azmi, Nana Patekar, Raghuvir Yadav, Om Puri, Nilu Phule, Rajshree Sawant
Duration: 01:59:16; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 36.703; Saturation: 0.017; Lightness: 0.367; Volume: 0.208; Cuts per Minute: 12.903; Words per Minute: 0.973
Summary: Paranjpye’s sentimental tale of migrant workers in Bombay, caught between urban displacement and a changing rural reality. Farm labourers Vasant (Patekar) and Soma (Yadav) move to Bombay following drought in their village. Soma becomes a millhand. Vasant, who has come mainly to pay off his marriage debts, returns to find his wife having an affair with her employer, the owner of a bidi (reed) factory. Soma also plans to go home, because his brother (Puri) has finally dug a well which yields water. The film uses extensive tracking shots presenting panoramic views of the Dadar region in central Bombay with its textile mills and apparently Asia’s most populated square mile. Location shots taken in the textile mills provide a quasi-documentary background for the fiction.
Song: O Saiyya mujhe Bambai shehar le jana
The evening performance of Lavani follows from a daytime Maharashtrian wedding scene. Like the rest of the film, the Hindi dialogue sits at odds with her chosen milieus; the film moves between rural Maharashtra, and a Bombay city where there is a kinship network of migrant workers who are only from rural Maharashtra. If the choice of Hindi was due to financial compulsions, or in order to reach a mainstream audience by way of theatrical release, then the parochial all-marathi setting of choice does feel questionable, more so as the film was made in the 90's.
Here the traditional Lavani with Hindi lyrics by Sai Paranjype and music by Anand Modak is full of words like balam, sajan and saiya, and has a distinct Bhojpuri flavour. oh love, you have to fulfil your promise. I want to see the world, take me on a jumbo jet. Take me to Bombay chowpatty for horse riding, and to the Taj Mahal hotel where we can each take a separate room, oh my love, take me to Bombay city!. As the song and crowd get more frenzied, we cut to the 'S Bridge' in Byculla. An S.T. bus pan is coming off the bridge followed by a city B.E.S.T bus. This. is followed by a L-R pan of Girgangaon, 'village of mills'; even in the hasty pan atleast 30 chimneys are visible.
Soma (Yadav) enters the one-room chawl that will be his home; he is introduced to a nail on the wall that will be his. There are 40 people in all -- sharing on the basis of 8 hour shifts - and he is informed that he's lucky he got a berth without a long wait and that is only because the old man Shelar just died and vacated his space. We are also 'told' he died of TB after 6 months in the hospital, 40 years of his hard earned savings gone, as the source of his wages had entered his lungs.
40 people sharing a room!
A typical room in a chawl shared amongst many mill workers who share the room in rotation.
Song: Bambai bambai
Circumstances bring Vasant (Patekar) and his wife to the chawl.