There is a line that is delivered towards the end of this movie by its protagonist that sums up the exasperation of the poor man in this country more than anything else, “Laxmi aali tari aafat pan gheun yeti” (When the goddess of wealth decides to walk in home, she gets her own problems with her).
Parvati aka Budhi (Usha Naik) is an old lady who stays in a small, unknown village called Phulambri in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra. She lives alone because her son is no more. He commits suicide because of his inability to pay back a loan. The loan shark refuses to extend an additional line of credit till his previous outstanding is cleared.
Parvati now spends her day buying daily supplies to the extent of 2-3 bucks at a time. She doesn’t even have the confidence of buying a week’s supply and walks across every morning to the milkman and grocer asking for 2 bucks worth milk and jiggery. She works as a maid and stays in a leaky shed.
Her only company is the neighbouring family of Sudama (Sandeep Pathak) and his wife (Pooja Nayak). The family is especially kind to Budhi although it may seem that Sudama’s wife isn’t too happy with all the attention that Sudama gives the old lady.
At a local election rally, the politician – Uttamrao Jadhav (Ganesh Yadav) – is told about Budhi’s plight and he palms off 4 notes of `1000 in the spur of the moment. Everyone else is given only `100. Mind you, `4000 is considered to be a huge amount in upcountry India and instead of getting in happiness it cascades into a huge problem through the length of the movie.
Ek Hazarachi Note, like many such movies being made these days, covers a topic of how the extremely downtrodden live their lives. It also shows us how the oppressed are not spared by anyone when an opportunity arises. Even those who are meant to uphold the law will not let go of an opportunity to maximize their own gain.
EHN has a solid storyline written by Shrikant Bojewar and directed superbly by Shrihari Sathe who is directing his first full length feature. He has been involved with the world of cinema more as a producer. He seems to have learnt a lot about being behind the camera along the way because he maximizes the resources available.
He is of course supported extremely well by the cast who are superb. Usha Naik is able to bring the emotions of a mother who has lost her son extremely well. Sandeep Pathak’s does extremely well too as the caring neighbor whose helplessness comes to the fore when the cops begin to harass the two of them on a trip to the city.
With so many of these vignettes, it is a pity that Marathi cinema doesn’t really take center stage in Mumbai or even Maharashtra. Despite being made well and with a solid message, these movies draw less than double digit crowds. Do make time for EHN if you can. It is worth a dekko. 7 on 10.
Watch the trailer on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuCNd5HtZ-A