Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The world's biggest makkhichoos: A Bollywood story

Everyone knows what a makkhichoos is right? It's the guy who spies a makkhi in his cup of tea, fishes it out and sucks the chai out of it before discarding the insect. Basically just an extreme value shopper.

Along the same lines is 60-year-old Mukund Prabhakar Agte - a senior clerk with Western Railways who sleeps with the dead! (Times of India story in the papers - can't find an online reference). He walked out of his Dad's home at the age of 23. Unwilling or perhaps unable at that time to pay rent, he flitted from relative to relative, leaving when they demanded he pony up some expenses.

When offered suitable government-provided quarters, Agte decide to save his salary instead. He packed his wife off in a cheap place in Mangaon and came back to Mumbai where he began a fascinating life of living on the cheap.

Agte refused to pay for accomodations. He slept in crematoriums in Mahalaxmi, Marine Lines, Virar and railway platforms and footpaths. He bathed in the WR public washrooms. He ate one meal a day at the WR canteen. He lived out of a small brown bag. He visited his family only during holidays. He spent just over Rs 3,000 every month of his monthly salary of Rs 25,000. He did this for over 20 years. He just retired after 37 years of service.

There is a picture of him in ToI looking spiffy in front of VT station.

Now you could say: 'this guy is the biggest makkhichoos in the world' or 'this is an inspiring story!' or 'this is a touching tale of a man dealing with class issues' or 'this is a classic Rich Dad Poor Dad case study' or 'this is entertaining!' or 'shame on you for entertaining yourself with a story of laachaari and suffering'.

To this I say: yes! All of the above!

Which is why I am suggesting that someone in Bollywood find Agte and option the rights to his story. Give it to a screenwriter who has a post modern vision and the ability to create a story rooted in desi middle-classness. Say someone like Dibakar Banerjee - who co-wrote and directed the dazzling Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!. These kind of stories have been done before so a reference DVD would be readily available. How about that Tom Hanks-Steven Spielberg stinker Terminal? Wait, bad example.

Nevertheless, I have some casting ideas to get this project started. We can use Ashtray Butt as Agte. Mesmerya Rai could be his abandoned wife who appears in several flash backs and dream sequences. Sullen Khan can play an eccentric ghost in the crematorium who paints and spouts philosophy. Sullen would provide comic relief and expository philosophy. He would not have to appear in any scenes with Mesmerya, but you could play up the casting coup for some extra eyeballs.

Finally we would need someone who can play the journalist who stumbles on this story and ties it all together in the movie for the audience. We need someone with a magnetic presence who radiates intelligence and is also commercially viable. Unfortunately that takes my favorite out of contention. Fortunately there is someone available who is perfect for this role and is enjoying a career resurgence of late. That's right - Brinjal!


maxdavinci said...


there you go sirjee!

I think the movie idea is fab, mazza ayega. Rakhi sawant can also be seen doing an item number for the coolies of western railways!

Mind Rush said...

Haven't read the story yet but I hope the Bollywood twist would be this...
He has a secret life! He uses his Govt. salary to fund a hospital for the homeless. He uses his life to publicize the philosophy of MK Gandhi or Jesus. His wife is a self-sacrificing stunning beauty! Then he wins a Bharat Ratna for banishing poverty!

Tanvi said...

I like Mind Rush's input :) Aspi G, why don't you become a story writer / casting director? said...

Just saw your blog... i think it is very informative... gr8 job keep it going..

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Meiyang Chang said...

Knowing the kind of input you have and the thought process you possess, it'd be best not to wait for someone else to make this but test the waters yourself Aspi :)

Anonymous said...

Way to go Aspi, like MeiYaNG said go for it...remember Luck by chance, don't wait for luck to come by take the chance. Anyway film funding will be provided by the richest man himself, old Mukund Prabhakar Agte

Unknown said...

Arre, now I have to actual work instead of just throwing ideas around :). But I agree - do it yourself if you want to see it happen. Maybe this is my chance to learn how to write a script.

Anonymous said...

Or rather do it yourself if you want to see it happen "RIGHT".
Internet Aspi, has all resources, even software you can feed your writing will convert to a script and all you have to do is refine it. AHHHHH, the joys of internet...

musical said...

Seriously Aspi Bhai, aap khud film banaiye :).

Love Maxdavinci and Mind Rush's ideas :).

What would be the title of the movie if Mr. Bhandarkar were to take up this idea?

Unknown said...

It would be called Railways. And now that I think about it - its a great angle too. Make the movie about the railways AND living out of a box. More song opportunities.

Mind RUsh said...

Drift saar, S handsome s yr picture shows u 2 be u cd become the hero 2!

Unknown said...

Perhaps I could - I mean there are some nasty looking heroes out there. But they all have hair. Maybe I need to look for a wig.