Gamak Ghar

Language matters and it does not matter. Language matters when you are reading a book and it does not matter, when you are watching a film. In India, there are generally two types of films-Commercial and Indie. Commercial films are those, which are backed by established production houses with their resources both financial as well as non-financial like the battery of experts for handling the various departments of filmmaking. Whereas in case of Indie films it is generally a solo effort, wherein one person referred to as ‘filmmaker’ tries to do almost everything like writing, direction, editing, production, distribution, promotion etc. Such low budget films are driven by the filmmakers’ deep desire to express themselves by communicating an idea or a belief, which is close to their heart. In other words, Indie films are driven from ‘concept to commissioning’ by the energy and motivation of the individual ‘filmmaker’ only. In the recent times, one such Indie film, which really reached out to touch the hearts of the audience across the world was ‘Court’ (Marathi) by Chaitanya Tamhane. Chaitanya has recently followed it up with another film “The Disciple’, (Marathi), which has received a number of International Awards including the Best Screenplay Award at Venice Film Festival. The film is yet to be released in India. Carrying forward the same tradition of Indie films which cut across the language and geographical barriers is one Maithili film titled ‘Gamak Ghar “(The Village House”). The film is written, edited, produced and directed by a young debutant filmmaker Achal Mishra. The film had premiered at the MAMI festival 2019, where it won the inaugural Manish Acharya Award for New Voices in Indian cinema. It is currently running on Mobi and is expected to be launched on an upcoming OTT platform called Cinemapreneuer shortly. The film chronicles two decades of a ‘family house’ in a small village in Darbhanga, Bihar, the native language of the place being Maithili. It is a story of changing time and space, where the protagonist is the house. I thought about writing a review of this film and then I felt I was falling short of words in English, which could translate the simplicity, the sounds, the smell and the sensibilities of this film. Then I came across this video review, which is done by a veteran film journalist Ajay Bramhataj in Hindi. Ajay ji hails from the same area of Bihar and has beautifully captured the ‘pathos’ and the ‘nostalgia’ of the film in a language, which is close to the language of the film. I thought he has conveyed the essence of the film, better than I could do in English. So I am taking the liberty of enclosing his video review. I think ‘Gamak Ghar’ deserves a visit by every Indian; it is the ‘ghar’, which exists in every village of India and more particularly in the heart of every Indian. The most remarkable thing about this film is that most of the characters are played by non-actors / villagers and the film is entirely shot at the real location taking the audience to as close to reality as possible. Don’t miss the gem of a movie; you will cherish this ‘memory’. The film has subtitles in English.

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O P Srivastava

A banker-turned filmmaker based in Mumbai. India.

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