An old man sits huddled,his back to the camera. With a gamchha tied around his head and a faded shawl over his shoulders,the old man says pitifully,I am waiting for my death. But the twinkle in his eye and the barely-suppressed grin suggests otherwise. The next scene has other villagers discussing among themselves and wondering when the old man will die. The village landlord exclaims in disgust,Yamacha reda kuthe adakla aahe,konas thauk (where is Yamraj,the god of death,and why hasnt he come to collect this old man yet).
This is a scene from the Marathi film Narbachi Wadi,a dark comedy based on iconic Bengali play Sajano Bagan,written by Bengali actor-writer Manoj Mitra. The film revolves around the life of Narba,an old farmer,portrayed by veteran actor Dilip Prabhawalkar,and his fight to hold on to an ancestral piece of land or a wadi,which he has maintained beautifully.
Aditya Sarpotdar,who has directed the film,says that the Bengali play originally written in the 60s and made into a hit Bengali film in the 70s has something to offer to the younger generation as well. But he also lists the things Narbachi Wadi is not. It is not a period drama about the evil zamindar and the poor,starving farmer,nor is it about good winning over evil. It is about one mans passion and his tenacity to hold on to his legacy, says Sarpotdar.
Set between the 40s and the 60s,the film is shot in the scenic locales of Maharashtras Konkan region and is scheduled to release on September 20. We wanted a place that is beautiful as well as far removed from the modern world. We had a tough time finding a place,which did not have any electricity poles in the vicinity since there was no electricity for the common man in the 40s, says Sarpotdar,adding that they spent 15-20 days just getting the sets in place and then spent less than a month in the actual shooting.
The film offers tongue-in-cheek style of humour. The humour is created by the characters and situations,not by their actions, says Sarpotdar. A lot of importance is given to make-up as well. Prabhawalkar plays the role of a 60-year-old,80-year-old and even a 90-year-old Narba. The difference in his age had to be apparent, he says. Manoj Joshi,who has a double role of the older zamindar and his son,had to undergo a two-hour make-up session every day to play the 75-year-old zamindar.
In Narbachi Wadi,the main characters have been portrayed by actors Prabhawalkar,Joshi,Nikhil Ratnaparkhi,Vikas Parkhi,Kishori Shahane and Atul Parchure. The films music and background score has been composed by Mangesh Dhakde,who has earlier worked on films such as Valu,Deool and Vihir.