A well intended story mashed up with fabricated emotions.
Indeed, as film lovers we deserve to the story of the first film made in India "Satya Harishchandra" and also the story of the man behind making it "Dadasaheb Phalke". Yes, that is well presented and documented through this film. Yet, I believe many emotions were overblown or uncalled for in this film which is made into a melodrama intentionally. Though funny in parts, and entertaining too, the pain which Dadasaheb went through to make the first indigenous film was trivialized and that's the only qualm I have with respect to this film. Otherwise, it was a job well done.
Directed by debutante, Paresh Mokashi he touches all the right chords in screenplay and script. Firstly, to make a film on this subject is in itself a brave attempt and I appreciate his courage. The writing was well intended and it tried to touch the nuances and the finer aspects of film making, be it correcting the film stock or manually editing the negative. Considering that this film was done a modest budget, I can appreciate the effort that was put in to bring the product the way it is.
Acting is indeed fine by Nandu Madhav who plays the role of Dadasaheb Phalke. Indeed his kids do a fine job and are fun to watch more than anyone else. All others have done a commendable job too. But had they controlled their emotions in the last half an hour and did not dramatize it, I believe this would have been a greater film. The director should take the responsibility of that.
The production values are OK considering the budget, but I wish such an important film that has history in it, could have been produced well and it deserved better sets and artifacts. The cinematography is just fine. There is no greatness and there is no flaw either. It does it's expected job and that's good. I was disappointed by the editing though, wish some moments were cut to mellow down the drama and stick to showing the real work done by Dadasaheb. Especially, in the last hour where he talks with Englishmen, about distribution of the film, there were some dialogues that were kept only to make Dadasaheb a great human being, which I thought were not so needed. He had done a great job by giving us the first film itself, now that needed to be reiterated is what I felt.
I am going with 3/5 for a film that's historically important. I wish it could have been much more in terms of production values and editing.