Pune's penchant for whimsical boards makes it to celluloid

Jan 02, 2012, 06:43 IST | Vivek Sabnis

Marathi film pokes fun at tongue-in-cheek messages on noticeboards that Pune is known for far and wide

Marathi film pokes fun at tongue-in-cheek messages on noticeboards that city is known for far and wide

Called the cultural capital of the state, the city is also known for its strange habit of displaying boards with many suggestions for others. This habit has made Punekars famous, with others making fun of it. The most commonly seen board at a Punekar's house is the one that says: "Don't press the bell a second time, otherwise we won't open the door."

Quirky messages: A noticeboard that says 'We provide Xerox in all 

A board thats states 'Our son's marriage is fixed, please don't approach 
us with proposals'. Pics/Vivek Sabnis

"Board-fanatic Punekars sound rude, but it also makes for some fun," said Gautam Joglekar, a young filmmaker who is directing a film called Jai Jai Maharashtra Majha. Born and educated in the city, Joglekar is now settled in Mumbai. "This is a special creativity only observed among Punekars which sometimes enlightens the readers," he said. 

Quirky notices: Board painter Satish Pimpalkhare and some of the 
Puneri boards used in the film. Pics/Vivek Sabnis 

"We used these boards in a song on Pune -- Dhanya Punya Nagari, Avaghya Maharashtrachi Shann (Pune is great and the pride of Maharashtra) -- recited by Sandesh Umap and penned by me." The idea of displaying the fun Puneri boards came from his assistant Sanjay Mone, who has also acted in the film. These boards were painted by Satish Pimpalkhare. "It was real fun painting these boards. I couldn't resist laughing while painting these boards," he said.

Sudhir Gadgil, who has travelled all over the world for performances, said: "Puneri patya (boards) are already famous in the east and west where Maharastrians are staying. They do make fun of the Punekars and also envy them for their habit. This is the typical Punekar's attitude and he can express his anger or pass comments by writing boards and displaying them." 

Referring to a Puneri board he saw on a website, Gadgil said: "A Punekar beggar is sleeping under a tree with his pot for keeping coins given by passers-by. A board nearby says: 'Don't disturb my sleep, and put the coin in the pot without making any noise!"

Puneri boards shown in the film 
>> Photocopy shop's board
'We provide Xerox in all languages.'

>> For those seeking a suitable boy
'Please don't bother to visit our house as our son's marriage is already fixed.'

>> Outside a house 
'This bungalow is empty and there are no valuables left inside. Please don't bother to go inside for burglary.'

>> A photographer's board
'We are not responsible if you don't like your own picture. This is the sole responsibility of your father.'

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