A movie that reminds me of my childhood – Elizabeth Ekadashi

Childhood is all about the mirth and joy of living while being an adult is sulking and complaining about everything in life. Let us admit, we all suck at adulting except for the blessed few. But there are moments in our lives when we are forced to adult and most of us have it the hard way. This is the story of Dhyanesh who lives in Pandharpur the temple town of Maharashtra. This film is about his life and a change that hits him hard. Due to unforeseen circumstances in the family, he is forced to sell his cycle the titular character Elizabeth. He shares a special bonding with Elizabeth because it is designed by his deceased father. He and his band of friends are so attached to the bicycle that they decide to sell bangles in the temple fare to save Elizabeth. And why do they call it Elizabeth, because it’s sustainable just like her namesake Queen Elizabeth sustained her throne.

This film somehow takes me back to my childhood with its setting and its characters. I grew up in a temple town myself and if not the protagonist himself I am pretty sure I would be one of those kids in the group. The small-town atmosphere where everyone knows each other by name and by seeing your vehicle can tell your address, the sweets you get offered by from almost every house you pass by makes you feel like a little Demi-God. If you could sing or perform or recite something the appreciation you get from everyone around you, even strangers appreciating and being kind to you is very different from the likes and shares you get on social media. Watching this film made me realize what we are missing the most in our lives- Kindness and compassion. Even the smallest amount of compassion we have is what’s coming from our guilt of being privileged and not something genuine.

Mukta and Dhyanesh

The beauty of the film lies in its Italian Neorealist style of film making. Most of the film is shot in the streets and the markets and tiny alleyways and lanes. The cycle playing a character will remind you of the obvious De Sica’s Bicycle thieves. The camera is constantly on the run following its characters and sometimes it makes you stand still and appreciate the setting you are in. The kids are named after the philosopher and social reformers in Maharashtra like Saint Dhyaneshwar, Namdev, etc., and in a way, they do the job of the philosophers. The protagonist Dhyanesh is seen casually reciting some wisdom to the adults of the town about animal Sacrifice, the oneness of many gods, and many other things. He has a picture of Newton in his place of worship; I believe this is a subtle dig on a few filmmakers who defy the laws of gravity. 

The Philosophical core of this film lies in Newton’s law of motion “every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. This movie uses this scientific principle to give a message about life in general. The music, the mood and the setting of the film makes you joyous and fill your heart with the mirth of childhood.  Seeing the brother and sister duo of Dhyanesh and Mukta in the market reminds me of Razieh and Ali from Jafar Panahi’s The white Balloon. How the brother and sister hustle in a market in need of something and the kind people on the way helping them takes me back to Panahi’s Film.

 There are parallels between Dhyanesh and APU from Ray’s Pather Panchali. In a particular scene which is about Dhyanesh’s change of mind and behaving like an adult takes you back to a similar scene in Ray’s film. I believe Dhyanesh is a version of APU that exists today. A creative genius bright-eyed kid who is constantly in the pursuit of something. I believe the secret to enjoying life is never let the kid in you die and nurture him and never let the spark in your eyes fade. This film has taught me these many things and might teach you a thing or two. You can watch this film for free on Zee5.

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