The Common Man Speaks


Review: Dr Prakash Baba Amte – The Real Hero (Marathi Movie)

Keyur Seta

Director: Samruddhi Porey

Producers: Samrouddhi Cine World and Essel Vision

Writer: Samruddhi Porey

Cast: Nana Patekar, Sonali Kulkarni, Ashish Chougule, Vikram Gaikwad, Sushant Kakde, Tejashri Pradhan

Music: Rahul Ranade and Aniruddha Wankar

Genre: Biopic

Rating: * * ½

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Story Outline: The film is a biopic on the lives of Dr Prakash Baba Amte, the son of the great social worker Baba Amte, and his wife Mandakini Amte. It throws light on his selfless service towards tribals of Maharashtra and animals, including the wild ones.

Review: Having access to a fascinating life story isn’t enough while making a biopic. It is equally important for the film to succeed in its basic motto of telling a story. While director Samruddhi Porey’s Dr Prakash Baba Amte – The Forgotten Hero brings to light the heart-wrenching, selfless story of the great social worker, it doesn’t succeed completely as a film as it hardly provides an emotional impact one expects from such biopics.

dr-prakash-baba-amte-movieTalking about the few positives, Porey and the entire unit should be lauded for showing Amte’s humanitarian efforts with utmost reality. This is because shooting with real tribal people and animals is a painstaking task for anyone. Apart from this, the dialogues are intelligent and long lasting with some rib-tickling humor being the surprise element.

But the job of every feature film is to narrate an interesting tale and this is where this biopic falters. Although things aren’t that bad pre-interval, the second half tests your patience as on a number of occasions the film appears more like a documentary disguised as a feature film. In fact, there comes a period where scenes of tribals carrying their ill family members to Amte’s place are repeated again and again. A screenplay without proper flow and faulty pacing of events are to be blamed for this.

Mahesh Anye’s camerawork is noticeable quite regularly. The background score is passable while the editing should have been tighter. The music (Rahul Ranade and Aniruddha Wankar) turns out to be average as not a single track stays with you after the film.

Nana Patekar is very impressive and reliable as he displays his talent while playing the central character. However, on a number of occasions, you can’t help but notice that it appears as if he is playing himself. Sonali Kulkarni also shows why she is considered a fine performer. Mohan Agashe, as Baba Amte, excels in a supporting role. Sushant Kakde and Tejashri Pradhan, as younger Prakash and Mandakini Amte, play their parts well. The rest of the actors provide good support.

Overall: Although Dr Prakash Baba Amte – The Real Hero carries out the important task of highlighting Dr Prakash and Mandakini Amte’s great work, it doesn’t quite succeed as a feature film. Due to the hype and star cast, it will draw crowds initially. But its performance at the box office is doubtful after the first week.

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Review: Tapaal

By: Keyur Seta

Director: Laxman Utekar

Producers: Maitreya Mass Media Pvt. Ltd.

Writers: Mangesh Hadavale and Laxman Utekar

Cast: Nandu Madhav, Rohit Utekar, Veena Jamkar

Music: Rohit Nagbhide

Genre: Drama

Rating: * * *

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Storyline: The story takes place in the interiors of Raigad, where Ranga (Rohit Utekar), a school kid, is attracted to a girl from his school and village. He tries to woo her but doesn’t succeed. So in order to express his feelings for her, he writes her a letter. However, an incident in their village scares the daylight out of Ranga. Now he must stop the letter from being delivered to the girl. But is it too late?

The film also simultaneously tells the story of the village postman (Nandu Madhav) and his wife (Veena Jamkar) and the tragedy surrounding their life.

tapaal-marathi-movieReview: Earlier this year, Gajendra Ahire presented an interesting saga revolving around a postman in Postcard. The task is now successfully carried forward by Laxman Utekar but through a completely different storyline and treatment in his directorial debut Tapaal.

It is yet another Marathi film of recent years, based in a rural area, which says a lot without saying much as it brings to light different emotions by varied individuals through just one letter or mail. Needless to say, this was possible due to a rich tale narrated in a contemporary and intelligent manner. Although few sequences in the pre-interval portion remind you of Shala and Fandry, the main storyline bears no similarity with those films whatsoever.

There are, however, some issues that stop the film from being superlative. Events in the pre-climax and climax are questionable. Mentioning them would amount to spoilers though. But the biggest issue is the overdose of tear-jerking scenes. A film that had portrayed various emotional moments so subtly (as mentioned before) should have carried on with the same method instead of including so much of sobbing, which, after a point of time, becomes a bit irritating.

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As Utekar has been a successful cinematographer, he has carried that responsibility in this film too and his work behind the camera is excellent. You just can’t help but be amazed by the mountains and landscapes of Raigad through his eyes. The songs, used in the background, suit the situations and so does the high quality background score.

Nandu Madhav moves you with an act that oozes his terrific acting talent. He surely deserves to be seen more. Child actor Rohit Utekar is excellent in a very difficult and physically and emotionally draining role. Veena Jamkar once again displays her high quality talent. Milind Gunaji leaves a mark in an important cameo. Other supporting actors too chip in with good performances.

Overall: Tapaal is an interestingly moving experience. The film has a chance at the box office provided it receives the much needed word-of-mouth publicity.


Astu – So Be It (Marathi Movie) Review


By: Keyur Seta

Directors: Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukhtankar

Producers: Mohan Agashe and Sheelaa Rao

Writer: Sumitra Bhave

Cast: Mohan Agashe, Iravati Harshe, Milind Soman, Nachiket Purnapatre, Amruta Subhash, Devika Daftardar

Music: Saket Kanetkar and Dhananjay Kharwandikar

Genre: Drama

Rating: * * * *

Story Outline: The film revolves around a retired college principal and widower Dr. Shastri aka Appa (Mohan Agashe). He is highly respected for his wisdom and deep knowledge about the Vedas. But lately he has also become known for being handicapped with Alzheimer’s disease, which makes him forget anything, including the names of his own family members.

Appa’s daughter (Iravati Harshe) is married to Dr. Madhav (Milind Soman). Once she takes Appa to his old house. On the way, she leaves him in a car for few minutes as she needs to visit a shop. But in that short duration, Appa goes missing.

Review: There are innumerable films that speak a lot. But there are very few that say a lot of things without saying anything. Directors Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukhtankar’s Astu – So Be It is one of those rare films. On the surface, it appears as a lost-and-found saga but deep inside it brings to forth many layers that force you to think about it long after you leave the cinema hall.

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astu-marathi-movieAstu has Bhave and Sukhtankar’s stamp of uncompromising attitude all over when it comes to the utterly realistic manner in which the film is shot. This helps a lot in creating an intense atmosphere that helps the audience get involved in the proceedings. But of course, it is the watertight script, for most of the duration, which also largely helps its cause. The intelligent manner in which flashback is used deserves special mention.

But the bigger achievement is the message given with regards to the attitude of people from starkly opposite strata of society towards people with a condition like Alzheimer’s. One of the rich layers is also the equation of relationships.  The film also manages to say a lot more through some sub-plots, moving images, conversations and conflict between characters. It will account to spoilers if they are listed here.

The only problem with Astu is its duration. The film should have ended much before and shouldn’t have been dragged during the ending moments. Thankfully though, the overwhelming climax won’t let these points bother you much.

There is no scope for songs as such. But a couple of tracks used in the background gel very well with the situations, especially the one in a South Indian language. Milind Jog’s camerawork creatively captures even the simplest of scenes. The idea of using a hand-held camera on a number of occasions adds to the intensity. The editing is fine but there could have been more use of scissors.

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It is Mohan Agashe’s act that helps the film to rise at such a level. The veteran actor is simply outstanding in a role that can be hugely challenging for any actor. You just can’t help but applaud when he shows signs of Alzheimer’s and speaks with his expressions. But despite such a towering performance by the main lead, Iravati Harshe manages to super impress with a dedicated act.

Milind Soman plays his part well. There is some issue with his Marathi pronunciation though. Nachiket Purnapatre too is wonderful in a difficult role. Despite arriving in the latter part, Amruta Subhash leaves behind a tremendous impact through her brilliant portrayal of a tribal woman. Ila Bhate and Devika Daftardar too shine in extended cameos.

Overall: Astu –So Be It is a must watch for the lovers of sensible cinema. It is sad that such a film is unable to get a proper release. Needless to say, it needs some tremendous word-of-mouth from all those who have been fortunate enough to have seen it.

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Rege (Marathi Movie) Review

Keyur Seta

Director: Abhijit Panse

Cast: Mahesh Manjrekar, Aroh Welankar, Pushkar Shrotri, Santosh Juvekar

Review: When we think about films on the underworld, we instantly visualize bullets flying and dead bodies collapsing either through gang wars or battles between gangsters and police. This is exactly what we are fed by films of this genre, mostly by Bollywood. But in his very first film Rege, director Abhijit Panse brings



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Rama Madhav (Marathi Movie) Review

Director: Mrinal Kulkarni

Cast: Parna Pethe, Alok Rajwade, Mrinal Kulkarni, Prasad Oak, Sonalee Kulkarni, Shruti Marathe, Ravindra Mankani, Dr Amol Kolhe

Rating: * * *

By: Keyur Seta

Story Outline: A bubbly and naughty Rama (Shruti Kalselar and later Parna Pethe) hailing from a middle-class background is married to Madhavrao Peshwa (Alok Rajwade), the prince of the royal Peshwa dynasty, during her childhood. As the two grow up, the political scenario lands the couple in some serious challenges that also affect their personal life. Madhavrao’s evil and scheming uncle Raghunathrao (Prasad Oak) makes things worse.

Review: The mention of the word ‘Peshwa’ instantly brings to our mind the glory of the Maratha Empire and the fearless battles of honor the Peshwas fought and won with style. But amidst such acts of bravery and fearlessness, the era also saw an episode of pure selfless love that is successfully portrayed in Mrinal Kulkarni’s Rama Madhav.

The film takes...





Poshter Boyz (Marathi Movie) Review

Director: Sameer Patil

Producers: Shreyas Talpade and Deepti Talpade under Affluence Movies Pvt. Ltd.

Cast: Dilip Prabhavalkar, Hrishikesh Joshi, Aniket Vishwasrao, Neha Joshi, Pooja Sawant

Review: Most of the times, when comedy is born out of a serious issue, the humor takes a backseat at some point in the film, mostly the latter part of the second half. But debutant Sameer Patil’s Poshter Boyz...





Lai Bhaari (Marathi Movie) Review


Director: Nishikant Kamat

Review: From the trailers, Nishikant Kamat’s Lai Bhaari looked like a typical hero-oriented masala film. While it surely is one, the film in totality is much, much more than what is revealed by the promotional material. This doesn’t ensure a quality product though due to an age-old storyline, done-to-death narration and few other issues. However....





Postcard (Marathi Movie) Review

By: Keyur Seta

Review: A postman is considered a messiah when he brings delightful news. But he also has to bear the brunt of being labeled as inauspicious if the letter consist a tragic update. Ahire’s exploration of such interesting and unusual experiences of a postman in Postcard is...





Yellow (Marathi Movie) Review

Director: Mahesh Limaye

Producers: Riteish Deshmukh and Uttung Hitendra Thakur

Review: A film revolving around a patient suffering from Down’s Syndrome obviously sounds depressing or, at least, too serious. But it takes director Manish Limaye’s just first effort Yellow to prove that even a film dealing with such a subject can be...






Taptapadi (Marathi Movie) Review


Director: Sachin Baliram Nagargoje

Rating: * * 1/2

Story Outline: Based on Rabindranath Tagore’s short story, the film is set during the pre-independence era in Maharashtra. Meera has been staying with her aunt (Ashwini Ekbote) and uncle (Sharad Ponkshe) ever since her mother passed away when she was six years old. Over there, Meera develops a close bond with her cousin Madhav.

As they grow up (as Veena Jamkar and Kashyap Parulekar), their friendship slowly blossoms into love. When Madhav is studying to become a doctor, they get married. The couple is enjoying their marital bond until Meera has a miscarriage. There’s further agony in store for her when she becomes disabled. This results in another woman Sunanda (Shruti Marathe) entering Madhav’s life. Will Madhav betray Meera by marrying Sunanda?

Review: Adapting Rabindranath Tagore’s story on celluloid in a different cultural setting and that too in your first film is no mean task. Debutant Sachin Baliram Nagargoje does show signs of maturity in his adaptation of the legendary writer’s tale in his Marathi film Taptapadi. However, few problem...