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Friday, February 28, 2020

With a Wink and a Smile

Originally made in the ‘40s,three films that were based on the stories by Chi Vi Joshi have been restored by NFAI and will be showcased at Pulotsav.

Written by Prajakta Hebbar | Published: November 23, 2013 2:51:51 am

People who have read his works call him the PG Wodehouse of Marathi literature. His wry,indulgent look at the comic side of a common man’s life,served as an inspiration for the next-generation comic and humour writers in Maharashtra. Chintaman Vinayak Joshi or Chi Vi Joshi,as he is fondly known,was one of the most revered humourists of his time. Now,50 years after his demise,his stories,which had been adapted for the big screen in the ’40s,have been restored by the National Film Archives of India (NFAI),Pune,and will be screened at the 11th Pulotsav this week.

Alka Joshi-Mandke,the granddaughter of Chi Vi Joshi,worked in association with Pune-based Aashay Sanskritik to get the films restored. “There is a major difference between humour and wit. There are many writers in Marathi as well as in other languages who write funny things. But to keep the human emotions unhurt,while taking a witty look at an incident,needs true talent,” says Joshi-Mandke.

Joshi was born in 1892 in Pune. After finishing his high school education in 1909 at Nutan Marathi Vidyalaya,he completed his graduation in philosophy from Fergusson College in 1913,and post-graduation in Pali and English literature from Mumbai University two years later. From 1915 to 1919,Joshi taught in a high school,first in Amravati and then in Ratnagiri. In 1920,he joined a college in Baroda as a professor of Pali,English,and Marathi literature. For some years since 1928,he also worked part time as director of archives for the then-princely state of Baroda. After retirement,he moved to Pune and lived here till his death,says Joshi-Mandke.

Known for his humorous works that revolved around the plight of common man,Joshi was widely known for his collection of works such as Chimanravache Charhat,Moru ani Maina,Gundyabhau and Hapus Payri. The Doordarshan TV serial Chimanrao Gundyabhau was based on Joshi’s short stories in the late ’70s.

Now,three films — Nave Birhad,Lagna Pahave Karun and Sarkari Pahune — based on Joshi’s stories,have been restored and will be screened at this year’s Pulotsav for the first time. Kiran Dhivar,film restoration officer at NFAI,says it was a challenge to convert the films from an old ill-kept print to swanky blu-ray format. “There were multiple prints of the films,but all of them were in a very bad condition. We had to give very precise instructions to the technicians who fixed the prints,” he says.

Joshi-Mandke reveals that most of the stories by Joshi were inspired from real-life incidents that he came across personally,or was told about. In Lagna Pahave Karun,for instance,the protagonist Chimanrao,who is searching for a groom for his younger sister Chimi,gets married himself in a bizarre turn of events.

“My grandfather once told us that such a thing had actually happened in our family,” she says. “One of the most commendable things about his writings,however,was during a situation where he had borrowed parts or played-up incidents that had happened to him,his family or his friends,he would always ‘thank’ them in the acknowledgement of the book,” Joshi-Mandke adds. The dialogues and script was for the 1940 classic were penned by noted Marathi author VS Khandekar.

Interestingly,short film Nave Birhad was directed by PL Deshpande,and starred the legendary Marathi actor Damuanna Malvankar in the leading role.

Satish Jakatdar from Aashay Sanskritik says that films are a great medium to introduce Joshi’s works to the younger generation. “Many of the youngsters may not have read him. But everyone can connect with him through films,” he says.

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