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Rediff.com  » Movies » Gandhi's Bollywood yatra is funny!

Gandhi's Bollywood yatra is funny!

By Ranjit Shinde
February 25, 2005 18:53 IST
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After prolonged tussles with the censor board, Vijay Ghate's directorial debut Shobhayatra has set on its yatra. The film has garnered much acclaim and praise from various film festivals.

Shobhayatra is a story about people from different walks of life who dress up as freedom fighters for a procession to celebrate 50 years of Independence, organised by a gangster with political ambitions.

Though the people wear masks and use history to hide their complexities, their real personalities show up in every instance.

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The movie shows the past set in contemporary times. The characters play-acting Mahatma Gandhi (Prithivi Sankhala), Subhash Chandra Bose (Vineet Kumar), Jawaharlal Nehru (Denzil Smith), Rani Laxmibai (Divya Dutta), Lokmanya Tilak (Kishor Kadam) and Babu Genu come together for the procession and wait in a warehouse for their cue.

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It is during this wait that their true selves are revealed. One is a lawyer who works for a don, another a businessman who the same don wants bumped off, and the third is a professor involved in an examination racket.

The characters slip in and out of the historical figures they are supposed to play, drawing a parallel of their real self and the personalities they portray.

Barbie Doll, an American journalist who the characters lust for, acts as a catalyst.

The movie is loaded with irony and black humour. It is a satire that throws light on the relevance of the freedom struggle today -- a chaiwala doesn't recognise Gandhi and a street urchin wonders what Independence Day is, and what its 50th anniversary means.

A symbolic and thought-provoking movie, Shobhayatra is an adaptation of playwright Shafat Khan's Marathi play. Khan has also written the screenplay and dialogues of the film.

Ghate, who has gone overboard with the budget -- the film was initially budgeted at Rs 70 lakh, and has now jumped to Rs 1.5 crore -- has given us a movie rich in humour and subtlety.

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Ranjit Shinde