Very rarely do we see on Indian cinema the tales of young children. Often these very children open up the eyes of the adults who surround them. Such one story is of “Shwaaas”, a marathi film which was an official entry to the Oscars in the year 2004 beating competition. Read the simple yet poignant and effective story of this beautiful film and please do see this film if possible.
This is the story of Parashuram (Ashwin), a 7 year old kid who is having a problem in his eyes. His grandpa (Arun Nalawade) brings him from a village and shows him to a reputed doctor (Sandeep Kulkarni) in Mumbai who discovers the problem to be a rare debilitating disease which could take away either the eyesight or else the life of the young boy. The doctor informs this shocking news to the grandpa who barely has the means to afford this kind of news at his advanced age. Even his economic means do not support the kind of charges the operation requires.
The grandpa is in a fix. He has to tell this news to his effervescent and lovable grandson, but cannot. The distress of holding a burden such as this saps the energies of the old man. He is helped out of his misery by a social worker. She wants the doctor who has to operate Parashuram to divulge the news himself. The doctor after a while agrees to take care Parashuram under his wings and even arranges the operation free of cost.
All is set for the operation but tragedy strikes as the grandpa and Parashuram are found missing from the hospital. The frantic search of the doctor and social worker goes in vain as the duo are nowhere to be found. Slowly the media and police are intimated for finding out the grandpa and Parashuram. Added to the tension, two bodies are discovered which are of a 60 year old man and a 7 year old kid. Just when Doctor gives up hope, the grandpa arrives with Parashuram.
The doctor is agitated and scolds him for being irresponsible, uncooperative and stupid. He tells him that he lost interest in the case and will not operate. Listening all the while about the virtues of the doctor and the social worker, the grandpa offers an explanation.
He tells the doctor that he took Parashuram out because he did not want his grandson to have implanted on his mind the the ugly scenes of hospital which always sicken the young minds before he went blind. Instead he wanted his grandson to have the beauty of the nature and happiness of the human world implanted on the last day of vision. On their day out, Parashuram saw birds flying, children playing, the sight of a river. The positivity of human life is imprinted on his mind and though would remain a blind man forever, he would remain a positive man. If taking out Parashuram on that day was a crime he had done, then he would apologise for his crime.
The doctor for once realises that in his earnestness to be a good doctor he has forgotten that he is a human firstand realises that the small dream of a grandparent to see his grandson as a postive man should be fulfilled. He asks forgiveness and tells him that operation will proceed on the same night and not subjecting the child to more of the images of the hospital but filled with images of the beautiful life he saw that day.
The operation succeeds and after a while Parashuram returns to his native village on the arms of his grandpa. But he is blinded wearing blackglasees but his spirited mind regales at the sounds of a flowing river and clapping of the wings of a bird. Parashuram too claps.
The film was received with open arms by the Oscar committee but the producer, Arun Nalawade and director, Sandeep Sawant, had not enough budget to showcase their film to all corners of Hollywood and lobby enough. “Shwaas” could not reach the final five but remains a great attempt at turnstiles.