Talk:Hina R. Khan

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Dear Hina, at the pune workshop recently, I was telling some women the story of Phalke- I was narrating it, as different from Kamal telling it, and suddenly I was forced to make more connections for myself and I figured out what your story needs, according to me. Kamal had suggested it when he reminded you that Mandakini's childhood films were played during her wedding. I realised, Mandakini got married after Phalke and family had returned from Benaras. Do you remember the story? Phalke, struggled at the age of forty and more, to make his first film. Then, he got success with Raja Harishchandra. He shifted his studio from Bombay to Nasik. He stayed successful. then, the first world war happened when he was abroad, trying to buy more equipment and he ran into a gamut of problems- his equipment is held up at the docks, his financiers back out, there is NO money. He struggles, does not lose hope, makes short films, thinks of all sort of ways to raise money. Finally finally does. After a couple of years of really hard times. Mandakini is a baby in these years, slowly growing up with some consciousness of her father's chaotic world.

Phalke sets up a company with some finaciers from Bombay, a cotton merchant, some other merchants and so on( the marathi film Shwaas was made with a bunch of financiers like that- one runs tution classes in borivalli, one owns a chinese restaurant..) PHalke once again tries to realise his dreams. he realises his old dream- of making a film about sri krishna, and mandakini gets to act. in two films, and both are so popular, mandakini is a celebrated star, invited by rajas-maharajas, given gold medals. But meanwhile, slowly, things are souring with the financiers. they want things done one way, Phalke, the perfectionist, the artist, wants them done another way. And things get soo bad, that even though Phalke knows he will have to break his fifteen year contract( that usually means you have to pay a huge sum of money) with the financiers, he decides to leave. He leaves the company, declares he has left the film industry and leaves the city also. His family has to follow suit. to Benaras. The children are young, their lives change drastically. It is around 1920, i think. they are staying in a poor neighbourhood. They do not know hindi. Their father, who is 50 now, is sending angry letters to a journalist, saying, Phalke the film maker is dead. He is now trying to write a play, a play about the bitterness he feels about his work. What mood must he be in while writing this play? The children try to do things on their own. play in the streets- benaras must be so different for them. Their mother, how is she in all this? how does she deal with the children?

and then, one of them, dies. of a sunstroke- mahadev. how old is devdutt?

the play tours. the journalist publsihes phalkes angry letter in the paper. people start writing to him , his public, saying- return to film making please!

his financiers are doing badly in the absence of phalke. other film makers inspired by his films, have come up, his financiers have no one. they beg him to come back. his pride is assuaged a bit, he returns. but it is difficult to keep having energy and be positive. something has broken in phalke. he does more supervising work now, less film making, tho of course, he does make setu bandhan in 1930. but the earlier zest, the determination cannot be there in the same way.

It is in this context, that mandakini's marriage takes place. she has seen all this of life too. Hina, your story has to be more precisely keeping in mind what SHE has seen and felt in life. you do not have to mention the back story- but when you write you have to keep it in mind. that will give weight to the story so it will not be any young girls story, but mandakinis.

and a bit of phalke will come alive in that story too. so shall nag you again, love hansa

the play is made, it is twelve hour long







Dear Heena, your story is so superb, all i can think of is- I must go back to my own and work on it. Your story has MOVED from draft to draft, and now the wedding scene especially is very strong, has many layers, and shows us a young complex mind. woww. i have made some minor changes/suggestions here and there is square brackets, have a look.

you have made some super connections, i particularly liked the way you take it from mandakini beiing directed by her dad for srikrishna to mandakini being directed for her marriage. and then, ( this detail i love], srikrishna painting the sky on her marriage day. wow.

now, where to? i am linking a small bit on her husband that i found in her book- it will in characters- dr. athavale, it will also be here, next to your story- do you want to begin sketching him too? it would be a challenging portrait to do, no? affly, hansa

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