Director: Ravi Jadhav
Producer: Nitin Chandrakant Desai
Music: Kaushal Inamdar
Cast: Subodh Bhave, Abhijit Kelkar, Siddharth Chandekar, Vibhavari Deshpande, Kishore Kadam, Prachiti Mhatre
Rating: * * *
Musical plays with men impersonating women might sound unusual in today’s times but this was common in the pre and post 1900 era as women weren’t allowed to act or perform back then. This phenomenon is brilliantly presented in Ravi Jadhav’s Marathi movie Balgandharva, a biopic on the life of Narayan Shripad Rajhans aka Narayanrao aka Balgandharva, produced and designed by Nitin Chandrakant Desai. However, apart from a superlative presentation, the film lacks a powerful script.
The film follows the story of Narayanrao, a gifted singer with impeccable acting skills who won many a hearts with his performances as a woman (most of them) in Marathi natya-sangeet and how tragedy struck him.
Jadhav’s presentation and Desai’s realistic and stunning sets submerge the viewer into an extravagant yesteryear world. For this very experience, the duo deserves a huge thumbs-up. The film is loaded with a number of scenes which can move anyone. The one where Narayanrao performs even on the day of his daughter’s death takes the cake. Add to this, Kaushal Inamdar’s music, Mahesh Limaye’s cinematography, some heartfelt choreography and what you get is a treat for your senses.
Unfortunately there are flaws or setbacks in the script mostly in the form of too many songs. Although songs are an important part when a film is based on musical plays, it tests the patience of the viewer as they pop up after almost every five minutes throughout the film. Hence, viewing will be very difficult for those who aren’t interested in natya-sangeet. Apart from that, the writing slows down on numerous occasions.
As he had a mammoth task of playing a central character in such a movie, it was vital for Subodh Bhave to give a mind-blowing performance and this is exactly what he does. His acts as women appear so real that it is difficult to believe that it is a male portraying a woman. In short, he forces the viewer to stand up and applaud his act.
Vibhavari Deshpande also makes her presence felt with a mature act. Narayanrao’s comrades – Abhijit Kelkar, Siddharth Chandekar – are also lovable especially in their women acts while Kishore Kadam and Vidyadhar Joshi are perfect. Manoj Joshi does well in a cameo and Prachiti Mhatre impresses in a small role and looks naturally beautiful. Other supporting actors also deserve praise.
Overall, it takes a big heart to make something like Balgandharva. Despite shortcomings, the film is worth a watch because of the performances, music, sets and direction. At the box-office, it will surely be one of the highest grossing Marathi films of the year.
After hunting him for 10 long years, finally the US managed to kill world’s most dreaded terrorist Osama Bin Laden at his hideout in Pakistan. The US President Barack Obama broke the news and said, “Justice has been done.” This was enough to start national celebrations across the US. But is this really a reason to rejoice? Is justice really been done?
The way people are celebrating in US it seems as if terrorism is completely wiped out from the world. It will be idiotic to believe that with Osama’s death, terrorism will bow down to its knees. We all know Al-Qaeda is a large and powerful network. And they were also aware that Osama was living a very risky life.
In other words, Osama’s death was always on the cards for them. Al-Qaeda must have always thought about this possibility. Only a fool can think that Al-Qaeda must not have thought about Plan B. They surely have a good number of people readying to succeed Osama.
Plus, apart from Al-Qaeda, there must be thousands of terrorist breeding camps across the world. Finding and finishing them is going to be humongous task even for the most powerful nation on earth. But it seems President Obama isn’t concerned about this as he has made one of the funniest statements in recent times saying, “Justice has been done.”
India along with a number of other countries has been a victim of terrorism since very long. The number of lives lost in these countries is much higher than the lives lost in the 9/11 attack. So, what about the justice with India and other nations who have borne terror attacks and lost lakhs of its innocent citizens? We still need to capture the mastermind who trained and ordered Ajmal Kasab and his comrades for Mumbai’s 26/11 attack. But Obama’s statement clearly indicates he and the US were only concerned about the attack on the US without giving a damn to India and other countries.
This can also be seen from the fact that although US has promised to help India a number of times in solving the terrorism issue, they have hardly done anything practical in this regard. And Obama’s attitude towards Osama’s death indicates that he is either living in an illusion or is plain indifferent to India and other terror prone countries. I have a strong feeling it’s the latter. Well, time will tell us. Till then, let the US celebrate their Diwali.