TWIN JOY: LAGI SHART (2001) & WRONG MAURITIUS (2004)

Winters. I love winters.  It’s my favourite season, for several reasons. Food is one of them. Because winter is the healthiest season (comparatively) to eat unhealthy food. What could be the better way to spend a chilly evening snuggled up in your quilt, munching on those snacks that you usually avoid and watch some entertaining movies. And if you have kids you will want to select some movies you can enjoy with them during their winter vacations.

Well I can suggest a couple right away. I call them Twin Joy because they are sort of sequels and it would be fun to watch them back-to-back. So I discuss both of them here.

THE MOVIES:

The movies in question are Lagi Shart (2001) & Wrong Mauritius (2004). Both the films are based on the story and character created by the noted Marathi writer, Bhaskar Ramchandra Bhagwat (B. R. Bhagwat). The central character is a book loving boy named Bipin Bukalvar. His surname actually got stuck due to his love for books. From Book-Lover to Bukalvar. B. R. Bhagwat is widely known for creating the character of the adventurous boy, Faster Fene.

 

Both the movies have been directed by Raghuvir Kulkarni. The screenplay for Wrong Mauritius is by Shashank Shankar, who also directed the movie RHINO for CFSI.

MOVIE NO. 1- LAGI SHART:

Some children are watching a cricket match, except one with specs. Now, obviously if a kid wears specs he will be a bookworm; hence he is our hero- Bipin Bukalvar. Though, I cannot understand why they always need to show the children immersed in books as wearing spectacles. Doesn’t that act as a deterrent to promote the healthy habit of book reading in children?

Anyway, to the match. Well, India lose to Australia and Atul, an older boy, enters.

The kids’ have bet on India’s win, but with India’s defeat they lose the bet to Atul and pay up as decided. Atul comes to Bipin and demands his watch. Bipin tells him that he never bet on the match. His friends support him and tell Atul that Bipin never bets. Atul gives up, saying that Bipin got saved this time, but they should remember that he never loses any bet. On which Bipin remarks- “That’s because you never bet with me.” So, the thing apparently ends there.

Later on, as Bipin is coming from school a parcel arrives for Atul. Together he and Atul carry it inside. Atul is excited and says that his uncle must have sent the video game from America. But his happiness vanishes on seeing a full set of huge books inside. Now it’s Bipin’s turn to get excited. He tells Atul that this is a full set of Encyclopaedia and he could do anything to get them. Atul catches this remark and asks Bipin does anything means a bet too. When Bipin affirms Atul tells Bipin that if he wins the bet, he can have the whole set. Since Atul has a show that day he asks Bipin for time, but now the bet’s on.

While Atul is getting ready for his show a fellow artist comes in, commenting that he has spent more than three hours to get here. He says- “Bambai se aadhe ghante mein doosre shahar pahunch sakte hain, lekin Bambai ke andar tum barah ghante ghumte rahoge phir bhi Bambai ke bahar nahin ja paaoge.” 

That remark gives Atul the idea for the bet.

Next day he puts the task before Bipin. The books have been wrapped in separate packets. Atul will keep all the books spread at different, but special, locations of Mumbai and Bipin has to search for them. Whenever Bipin finds a book he will find the next destination on it. And he has got 12 hours to finish the task, beginning from Gateway of India. If Bipin wins he gets the Encyclopaedia set, but what if he loses, asks Bipin’s cousin Viju. In that case, Atul says, Bipin will have to touch his feet in front of everyone.

The next day Viju persuades Bipin to take him along. They reach Gateway of India at 12 Noon and the challenge is on.

So, join Bipin & Viju as they rush from place to place over Mumbai, including Girgaon Chaupati, Dhobhi Ghaat, Rani Baagh to find the books and try to win the bet.

I bet it will be a fun race.

 

MOVIE NO. 2- WRONG MAURITIUS:

Bipin Bukalvar is now grown up but his love for books evidently hasn’t changed, as the movie itself begins at a second-hand bookseller’s place. Bipin comes at the book shop with his friend’s Viju & Viju’s sister Mona.

He manages a great bargain on a very old book. The book seller tells them that it is a very rare book, but he is considering the low price as Bipin is an old customer. And the book indeed turns out to be quite rare.

For when they sit for a munch the book falls down and an envelope drops out. And on that envelope is a stamp. Viju, being a stamp collector and enthusiast, gets interested. By the looks of it they deduce that the stamp must be around the time of Queen Victoria. Bipin says that after lunch we will go to a friend of mine. He is a professional philatelist and can tell us lot more about the stamp.

Ramprasad Saxena or Ramu as he is generally called is always making mistakes in remembering people’s names. But he makes no mistakes in recognizing the valuable stamp that the children have found. He tells them that what they have found is very rare one called Wrong Mauritius and it is just priceless.

Later Ramu calls his friend Jaal Cooper, another philatelist to inform him about the stamp. Mr. Cooper calls on a stamp broker Mansukhlal Tiwari, or as the man describes himself, Manshukhlal Tiwari, LLB- Lafda Less Broker (you should know what that means).

Ramu scans the stamp to put an enquiry about it and when they are about to leave, advises the children to deposit the stamp in bank’s safe deposit vault.

But do the kids follow his advice. Obviously not. Instead they go about singing on the streets about their precious stamp. And who should be standing at a bus-stop incidentally. Any guesses. Yes, it’s Mr. Tiwari.

 

Well if someone knew about the value of the stamp, and was say a little unscrupulous, and chanced upon a bunch of over-excited kids singing about it, won’t he be tempted. So Mr. Tiwari is tempted and on the first chance snatches the book.

The children run after him. But Tiwari takes out the envelope, throws the book and runs away.

And next he calls Ramu to pay a ransom in return for the stamp. And how much- Five lakhs, says Tiwari. Eventually the bargain from Rs. 5 lakh comes down to Rs. 50,000/-. The exchange is set for the next day. Meanwhile, Bipin tells Viju & Mona the story behind Wrong Mauritius. Knowing the story, the kids get even more distressed at their loss. But Bipin tells them not to lose hope.

So, what now? Will a crook like Tiwari keep his end of the bargain? Will the children get back their stamp? And then there is the question of the real owner of the stamp? What happens when that angle comes in?

To know all the answers, grab your snacks, get inside your quilt and just click on the links to both movies at the end of this post.

TRIVIA:

When we saw Wrong Mauritius, we thought what a nice fiction has been woven around a stamp. But this is not fiction. The story of Wrong Mauritius is right, I mean real and the actual stamp is considered among the most expensive stamps in the world. It was actually recently in the MSN news. But what is wrong in Wrong Mauritius. Well let’s see if you can guess by this photo. But even if you do, watch this delightful movie.

Mauritius 1 & 2 Penny ‘Post Office’ – $2 million each Much prized by collectors, the Mauritius ‘Post Office’ stamps were the first British Empire stamps produced outside the UK. Few examples exist and the last pair available on the open market sold for $4 million (£3.2m). (courtesy msn news)

 

1. LAGI SHART (2001)

2. WRONG MAURITIUS (2004)

 

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