5 Rupya strikes a joyful chord

A special screening of the feature film
5 Rupya
by the production team on August 4, 2018 for the educators and non teaching staff of Don Bosco School, Matunga. The venue was the school conference hall where the production team and the young actor Yohan Panjuani (Std V-D) had honed their skills. The movie, an adaptation of the classic short story
by Munshi Premchand provided an important takeaway: children, despite subterfuge, are good at heart. It is a poignant narrative of the bonding between Ameena , the grandmother and Hamid, her grandson and an orphan. Ameena, played by Shabana Azmi, is the quintessential grandma, fiercely proud of her grandson and willing to sacrifice all for his sake. Little Hamid, played by young Boscoite Yohan Panjuani, is extremely affable, completely trusting Ameena, and deferentially tagging along with a bunch of older boys. His sense of wonderment when observing the simple beauty in nature is striking.

Opening with a dazzlingly colourful scene of a whirling dervish dancing on a hilltop under the starry blue sky, a loving relationship with God is a recurrent theme through the movie, with a joyful celebration of Eid, offering of Namaaz, and Ameena’s explanation to Hamid that his father would return after completing the all-important work he had been called to do by God!

Set against the backdrop of the valley and season of Eid, the movie unfolds with Ameena cooking over an earthen stove and getting her fingers singed, a fact noticed by Hamid. The two live in abject poverty, but Hamid is an optimistic, precocious and lively Kashmiri lad being promised ‘5 Rupya’ by his grandmother Ameena as his ‘Eidee’. He looks forward to eidee and the scenes encapsulate the consequences of Hameed helping himself to the said coin. The movie captures the escapades Hamid has with the village boys, his unwavering faith in what his grandmother tells him about his parents and the will he exerts to avoid the temptation to buy the frills offered at the fair.

A powerful message about the purity and innocence of children comes through when Hamid, little knowing the upheaval he has created as a result of purloining the coin, returns happily from his first ever visit to the fair. He bears a gift – the only thing he has spent his money on, despite a multitude of juvenile allurements.

Be it the puckish look or the myriad emotions that flit across Hamid’s face, the camera does not disappoint. It captures them all. The musical score and the lyrics by Javed Akhtar add gravitas to the film.

Shabana Azmi and Yohan Panjuani steal our hearts with their stellar performances. Premchand came to Mumbai once, lured by the idea of writing stories for the silver screen, but went away disappointed. Today if he were among the audience, watching Piyush Panjuani’s
5 Rupya
, he would have nodded in approval. The enchanting landscape, captivating music, and convincing acting make
5 Rupya
a meaningful and enjoyable must watch, for the young and old alike.

Most of the crew and the lead character are Don Bosco Matunga boys. These include:

Piyush C Panjuani (Producer – Director – Writer) SSC Batch of 1974- 1975.

Bimal C Panjuani (Producer) SSC Batch of 1981- 1982

Dhruv P Panjuani (Associate Director) SSC batch 2005-2006

Jehan B Panjuani (Assistant Director) SSC batch of 2010-2011

Yohan B Panjuani (Lead Actor – Hero of the film), Studying in 5D

"How much more Don Bosco can it get!" Piyush gushed.

The Rector, Fr. Crispino D’Souza, who was a part of the audience viewing the film remarked, “I became emotional towards the end because it reminded me of a similar incident in my life where my mother corrected me and it left a deep impression on me.” Fr. Joaquim Fernandes, Director, Tej-Prasarini communications, who was invited for the screening of the film was high praise for the director Piyush Panjuani whom he had met at an earlier Film Festival, and for upcoming star Yohan Panjuani. The Principal, Fr. Bernard Fernandes, thanked Piyush, the producer and director along with his production team, and the parents of Yohan Panjuani who were present for their touching gesture in remembering the DB staff for a special screening before the film’s release. Having been allowed to relay the film at Don Bosco, Matunga, Piyush had this to say to the Principal, “Father, it’s an absolute honour for me. I was a small kid walking and running around at Don Bosco and then to have my film screened is an emotional moment. You’ve made it happen. Thank you so very much!

Indeed an emotional moment for Don Bosco too!

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