wiki:22 June 1897

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22 June 1897

1979 121’ col Marathi d/p/co-s Nachiket Patwardhan co-d Jayoo Patwardhan pc Sanket co-s Shankar Nag dial Vijay Tendulkar c Navroze Contractor m Anand Modak lp Prabhakar Patankar, Ravindra Mankani, Udayan Dixit, Rod Gilbert, John Irving, Sadashiv Amarapurkar

The co-directors, who are also architects and art directors (Ondanondu Kaladalli, 1978) retell the famous Pune legend of the Chaphekar brothers, the militant Hindu chauvinist followers of Bal Gangadhar Tilak whose violent anti-British activities led to their martyrdom. Mr Rand imposed martial law in Pune because of an outbreak of the plague in January 1897, and the eldest brother, Damodar, kills Rand on 22 June. In retaliation, Inspector Brewin starts a massive manhunt using former colleagues of the three brothers as informers. Damodar is hanged, despite Tilak’s personal appeal to the British. When the youngest brother, Vasudev, kills the informers who helped Brewin, he and the remaining brother, Balkrishna, are also sentenced to hang. The directors rely heavily on a version of method acting which was then seeping into the Marathi avant-garde theatre, emphasising minimal movement, deep voices and meaningful looks. The cast includes members of Pune’s Theatre Academy, including its most promising performer, Mankani. Contractor’s sophisticated lighting combined with the directors’ architectural sensibilities provide the film with a sense of place. However, a disturbing question hangs over the film: to celebrate, in 1979, anti-colonial activities is uncontroversial whereas the glorification of fanatical Hindu chauvinists at that time is troubling.