Touring Talkies

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Touring Talkies

Touring Talkies
Category:  Drama
Country:  India
Language:  English Subtitles
Rating:  R
Runtime:  113 min.
Director:  Gajendra Ahire


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Indian cinema started with the age old tradition of showing movies in travelling tents known as Touring Talkies. Although the Touring Talkies are 106 years old in India, now for about half a century these tents have been a regular feature in most of the Jatra’s (Spritual Fair’s) taking place across Maharastrian villages where Marathi cinema comes alive in a most unique fashion.

The main protagonist is a girl named Chandi, who runs one such tent called ‘Chandi Touring Talkies’. Her younger brother Babulal, who aspires to be a Director in the future, is her helping hand in running the tent. Her father Bapuseth, an alcoholic and a gambler, is a wayward good for nothing father, who has lost the fortunes bestowed upon him by the touring talkies to his vices.
Raja Rangeela is the announcer for the talkies who is the vocal publicity specialist who uses rhyme and limerick to entice the audience. He shares a special bond with Chandi as he helped raise her since childhood.

The story starts with the latest Marathi film Gela Haat Choli is running successfully in Chandi’s Touring Talkies. Her daily collections are swelling and she is forced to keep her dad locked in the box office with the collection of the day as he is a compulsive gambler.

Her competitor Subhnya, who runs the rival Shehenshah talkies sees his chance for sabotage in this and unlocks the box office door and entices Bapuseth to a card game. Unable to resist the urge Bapuseth gives in and loses the entire collection in the game and in his drunken bravado also ends up pledging the talkies itself to the local money lender. Chandi who discovers all too late of her father’s betrayal ends up facing a huge mortgage and is left with six months to redeem her tent from liquidation.

The producer of Gela Haat Choli who is belligerent upon hearing that the entire collection was lost in a card game, takes away the film reels from Chandi and worse still gives it to the architect of her tragedy, Subhnya.

As Chandi is left stranded hopeless with just the mortgage around her neck and no movie to show, enters Avinash, an avid filmmaker, from the world of art films. He is also left stranded by Subhnya without a screen to show his film Shai Hote Shubra, as Subhnya is more keen on showing the commercially successful fare of Gela Haat Choli.

As Chandi sees that Avinash and she have a common enemy, she offers to show his film in her tent. But when she hears Avinash’s take on his film and it’s title, she soon realizes that she has to device a unique marketing strategy to get the local audience to patronize the film. She changes the title and designs commercial posters and runs a raffle with enticing prizes. Avinash who is shocked at first at her nonchalant approach to publicize his film, soon begins to understand Chandi’s unique philosophy on cinema and ultimately on life itself. From film maker he soon becomes a film student at Chandi Touring Talkies which is his gateway to a whole new world of cinema.

Whether Chandi’s strategies work and whether she is able to make the mortgage in the stipulated time of six months and redeem her tent forms the rest of the story.

The Times of India

NOTE:  Synopsis are typically provided directly by the filmmaker themselves. Often English is not their first language. We ask reader’s understanding for less-than-perfect language and grammar