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Movie Review: Lalbaug Parel-Mills to Malls: A Journey That Was

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Nilesh Raje:

Mumbai, the second most densely populated city in the world is popularly known as the City of Opportunities and Success Stories. A city for dreams and dream merchants. A city where everything is possible; fast money, fast life, fast break-offs and even faster running hours of life. Dar Motion Pictures working in synergy with leading director Mahesh Manjrekar have captivated the heart of audiences across Maharashtra in their recently released Marathi film ‘Lalbaug Parel’.

Thirty years ago the mills in Mumbai held the reputation for actively contributing towards Mumbai’s financial revenue. However, today these same mills have been replaced with aristocratic malls and multiplexes across the city. The script showcases the transition of mills to malls, as witnessed in our very own financial capital, Mumbai. The plot revolves around the story of a mill workers family (Dhuri’s) who struggles when the karta of the house Anna (Shashank Shende) loses his job as mill worker leaving the whole clan under severe mental turmoil.

Anna’s wife (Seema Biswas) acts as a mediator by giving her best support and prompt attention to every member of the household by ensuring that no one disturbs their happy home. The eldest son of the family Baba (Ankush Choudhary) is a writer struggling to create his own identity with the power of words. Deep down in the line, it is evident that Baba is really concerned about the well being of the whole family. Mohan (Vinit Kumar), the second eldest of the family seems to be more passionate about the game of cricket. Naru (Karan Patel), the third eldest holds the reputation for being the bhai of his neighborhood while the youngest of the family Manju (Veena Jamkar), is determined to lead a better lifestyle to support her as well as the family by working in the beauty parlor.

The movie clearly depicts that money is not everything but money can make everything. Money can speak all languages and can cross all barriers. It’s not the money but the lack of money that serves as the root of all evil for members of mills workers and the family staying in “Laxmi Cottage”. The movie shows how poverty provokes a woman to sleep with other men to support their family and how the men venture into the world of crime for the lure of money.

In an attempt to have his sister Manju get married to a decent family, Naru Dhuri goes to the extent of committing murder in exchange of money. When all is lost in the battles of life, the only ray of hope the mill workers have is from their union leaders which includes Arvind Rane (Sachin Khedekar), Govind (Vinay Apte) and Dr. Abba Sawant (Vaibhav Mangle). Instead of getting solace from their leaders in these turbulent times, it is seen that in reality destiny turns out to be cruel leaving both the union leaders as well as the mill workers totally despondent and marked by low spirits. The nexus between the mill owners and politicians is rightly depicted in the movie. The key focus throughout the movie revolves around the Dhuri family, Naru and Speedbraker (Siddharth Jadhav).

Both, Jayant Pawar and Mahesh Manjrekar have been instrumental in keeping the audience involved all the way to the end by showcasing the children’s of the mill workers family from real-life in this movie. Good work by the whole team for portraying the bitter reality witnessed during the 1982 mill workers strike in the big bad city of Mumbai.

The strong script of “Lalbaug Parel” is indeed a testimony to the notion that the common masses are bound to be affected on this journey from mills to malls, which indeed is a voyage of discovery. It is bound to set the people thinking “Is life always fair in the end?” Well, the audience should get the better answer only after they watch the movie.

Crew:

Director (Mahesh Manjrekar), Producer (Arun Rangachari), Story ( Jayant Pawar), Assistant Director (Ganesh Modak), Director of Photography (Ajit Reddy), Action Director (Pradyuman), Editor (Sarvesh Parab), Dialogues (Jayant Pawar and Abhijit Deshpande), Music Director (Ajit Sameer) Art Director (Prashant Rane).

The writer is a Mumbai based correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
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