The hero of Marathi drama Lathe Joshi is a man of few words. A skilled welder, his work is his passion, not only defining but also consuming him. When machines render his services useless, Joshi struggles to adapt. So begins a nuanced character study of a gloomy hero whose silence speaks volumes. Led by a beautifully internalised and restrained performance by Chittaranjan Giri, chemical engineerturnedfilmmaker Mangesh Joshi’s debut film observes how change, a constant in our life, gradually breaks the spirit of a man. After winning accolades at the Pune and Bangalore International Film Festivals and screening at festivals in Russia, Mexico and South Africa, the film plays in the capital at the Habitat Film Festival (May 1928).
Machines, explains Mangesh Joshi, are not the antagonists in his film. Lathe Joshi’s hardworking and enterprising wife (Aswinin Giri) expands her catering business thanks to food processors and a car. His son is an electronics repairman and his ageing mother can now enjoy virtual darshans of her favourite temples. The titular hero quietly takes in how technology now controls his family. “Technology is inevitable,” says Joshi. “I have made the film using technology. How can I blame it?” Instead, he says, he “wanted to sensitise audiences about the people who are left behind”.