Short Film Profile


A cobbler (shoemaker) family in a small village suffers long suppressed woe and anger, both individual and collective. Baji, (the name means a brave man who stakes his life in war) is a fighter in his own small way. Asked by his mother to go to the city in place of father who is ill and see if he can sell pairs of chappals (sandals without straps). They are quality products of superior craftsmanship, now famous the world over. But they carry less value in the local markets in which there is demand for fancy, low quality, use and throw products. The fighter boy ‘sticks to his own guns’ for quite some time. Exploited and jeered at by the buyers and people around, throughout the day, his quality products shamelessly demanded at low prices. He reacts angrily to an oft repeated insult: ‘Hay, Emperor of Soles!’ (Paaytaane Mahaaraaj) ready to throw a stone at the unseen offender.

Film notes

Paytaan is a slang word for footwear in regional language of Maharashtra state, Marathi, often found in abuses, indicating a very low status.

Shoemaking is one of the 12 professions (balutedaari) centering round the farmer and catering to his family and occupational needs, such as carpentry and smithy; shoemaking was almost at the bottom of the caste ladder, having to do with unclean material- animal hide. With the onslaught of industrialization and mass production, the professions are now dying out, unable to withstand competition from the factory products in matters of variety and low price. With the weakening local support of the small farmer himself who has fallen on bad days, the total village economy is sick. Demoralization is writ large on every face.

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Information on this profile is provided by the film owners and/or compiled from available sources | Profile updated 23 Dec 2011