History of Touring Talkies Culture
A farmer is a man who has the utmost importance for culture and godly attributes. He is the person who keeps others alive through his food cultivation. Through his work, he lives in every living being around him in his country. During their harvesting season, in order to pay respect to their gods, they come together to hold a pilgrimage fair. This fair or ‘Jatra’ is usually from 1 to 15 days and is held for the purpose of honoring the gods and deities worshipped by the farmers and the villagers around them. There are different products exhibited for sale in this fair that include clothes, jewelry, eatables etc. The main entertainment for the pilgrims at the fair is the ‘touring talkies’ or the travelling cinema.
“Touring Talkies” is a huge tent which can accommodate 2000 to 3000 people and has a projector placed in a truck which the movie on a white rectangular curtain or cloth. “Touring Talkies”, as the name suggests, used to travel to many different villages. Till 1985 there were around 2000 “Touring Talkies” in Maharashtra but the number has now dropped to a mere 42. “Touring Talkies” is not only a form entertainment for the native people, but a part of their culture since 100 years, which is now on its way towards extinction.
“Touring Talkies” is not just another form of entertainment, but a tradition about which today’s society needs to be re-enlightened about.
Indian cinema started with the age old tradition of showing movies in travelling tents known as Touring talkies.Although the Touring Talkies are 106 years old in India, now for about half a century these tents have been aregular feature in most of the Jatra’s (Spritual Fair’s) taking place across Maharastrianvillages where Marathi cinema comes alive in a most unique fashion.
The main protagonist is a girl named Chandi, who runs one such tent called ‘Chandi Touring Talkies’. Her younger brother Babulal, who aspires to be a Director in the future, is her helping hand in running the tent. Her father Bapuseth, an alcoholic and a gambler, is a wayward good for nothing father, who has lost the fortunes bestowed upon him by the touring talkies to his vices.
Raja Rangeela is the announcer for the talkies who is the vocal publicity specialist who uses rhyme and limerick to entice the audience. He shares a special bond with Chandi as he helped raise her since childhood.
The story starts with the latest Marathi film Gela HaatCholi is running successfully in Chandi’s Touring Talkies. Her daily collections are swelling and she is forced to keep her dad locked in thebox office with the collection of the day as he is a compulsive gambler.
Her competitor Subhnya, who runs the rival Shehenshah talkies sees his chance for sabotage in this and unlocks the box office door and entices Bapuseth to a card game. Unable to resist the urge Bapuseth gives in and loses the entire collection in the game and in his drunken bravado also ends up pledging the talkies itself to the local money lender. Chandi who discovers all too late of her father’s betrayal ends up facing a huge mortgage and is left with six months to redeem her tent from liquidation.
The producer of Gela HaatCholi who is belligerent upon hearing that the entire collection was lost in a card game, takes away the film reels from Chandi and worse still gives it to the architect of her tragedy, Subhnya.
As Chandi is left stranded hopeless with just the mortgage around her neck and no movie to show, enters Avinash, an avid filmmaker, from the world of art films.He is also left stranded by Subhnya without a screen to show his film ShaiHote Shubra, as Subhnya is more keen on showing the commercially successful fare of Gela HaatCholi.
As Chandi sees that Avinash and she have a common enemy, she offers to show his film in her tent. But when she hears Avinash’s take on his film and it’s title, she soon realizes that she has to device a unique marketing strategy to get the local audience to patronize the film. She changes the title and designs commercial posters and runs a raffle with enticing prizes. Avinash who is shocked at first at her nonchalant approach to publicize his film, soon begins to understand Chandi’s unique philosophy on cinema and ultimately on life itself. From film maker he soon becomes a film student at Chandi Touring Talkies which is his gateway to a whole new world of cinema.
Whether Chandi’s strategies work and whether she is able to make the mortgage in the stipulated time of six months and redeem her tent forms the rest of the story.
Film Name: Touring Talkies
Theme: Indian Folk Cinema Culture
Movie Duration: 1 hr. 47 min.
Director: Gajendra Ahire
Producer: Trupti Bhoir
Music: Ilaiya Raaja
Story: Trupti Bhoir & Gajendra Ahire
Screenplay and Dialogues: Gajendra Ahire
Cameraman: Amol Gole.
Editor: Ballu Saluja
Art Director: Vasu patil
Sound Design: Manoj Mochemadkar
Sound Engineer: Tapas Nayak
Make-up: Anil Pemgirikar.
Cast: Subodh Bhave, Kishore Kadam, Trupti Bhoir, Suhas Palshikar, Milind Shinde, Vaibhav Mangle, Neha Pendse, Chinmay Santh.