The Common Man Speaks

6Feb/150

Baji (Marathi Movie) Review – Worth your time & money


Rating:
* * *

By: Keyur Seta

Nikhil Mahajan’s Baji achieves a rare feat of being a powerful action saga narrated and crafted in an artistic way. It is a benchmark of sorts for Marathi cinema when it comes to presenting a story. However, the film doesn’t rise as much as you expect after a brilliant first half due to various reasons. But there is enough in Baji for the masses to savor it.

Baji is based in the village of Shrigangpur, where Chidu (Shreyas Talpade) lives a simple life with his mother. Chidu is honest but lags behind in intelligence and bravery. This is the reason why he doesn’t find acceptance from the girl he is madly in love with – his childhood friend Gauri (Amruta Khanvilkar). The village is also known because of the savior Baji, who is believed to exist decades ago.

But there are some like Chidu who don’t believe such tales. But Gauri is a firm believer in Baji as the hero had saved her life during her childhood. She has been in love with Baji ever since and is still waiting for him. Chidu is eager to be her Baji but will he succeed? Meanwhile, Martand (Jitendra Joshi), a harmless villager, turns into a greedy devil when he comes to know that tons of gold lies underneath the land of Shrirangpur.

Picture: Marathistars.com

Picture: Marathistars.com

Baji is a rare example of a close to three hour movie that doesn’t force you to look at the clock even once. As far as the first half is concerned, the fascinating and intriguing storyline, creative narration and Mahajan’s mature handling of the subject leave you super-impressed! The shadow fighting sequence is a sheer pleasure and it deserves special mention. At this point itself you realize the film is an achievement for Marathi cinema.

But alas, things aren’t so similar in the second half. Although it continues to be a well-shot entertaining affair till the end, it is the twist that plays spoilsport. After such an out-of-the-box first half, you really don’t expect the story to tread on the age old, tried-and-tested formula lines, but this is exactly what happens. In fact, the basic plot is almost the same as that of a Marathi film released not-so-long-ago, which itself was a mish-mash of a number of Hindi films.

Vasu Rane’s camerawork plays a large role in making Baji look like an international product. Be in the picturesque locales of Konkan or the high octane action sequences, he excels throughout. The background score and editing also make sure the final product turns out to be technically impressive. Atif Afzal joins the party too with well composed tracks, from which the title song is the best of all.

The film will also be remembered for its action and stunts, especially the train sequence. However, the use of a huge hammer to beat up could have been avoided. Such visuals can’t be digested by a large section of the audience since the film is aimed at people of all age groups.

Coming to the performances, this film required Shreyas Talpade to give his best performance till date and he does that. This act also adds on to his versatility since he manages to excel even in this genre. Jitendra Joshi matches up to him with an excellent, powerful villainous act. This will surely be one of his most talked about act always.

Amruta Khanvilkar too displays her talent playing a tough village belle. Actors playing Chidu’s friend and mother too play their parts well. Nagraj Manjule (director of Fandry) scores in a cameo.

Overall: Baji is an entertainer worth your time and money. It also ensures Nikhil Mahajan to be a lookout for the future. With the tremendous hype and its commercial nature, it is most likely to be a box office success.

Director: Nikhil Mahajan

Producers: IME Motion Pictures & Dar Motion Pictures

Writers: Nikhil Mahajan & Suhrud Godbole

Cast: Shreyas Talpade, Jitendra Joshi, Amruta Khanvilkar

Music: Atif Afzal

Genre: Action/ Drama

24Jan/150

Balkadu (Marathi Movie) Review

Rating: * *

By: Keyur Seta

A film about the ideologies and teachings of an inspirational personality, who has a Godly status among his followers, should ideally be a soul-stirring affair. If not this, it should at least be filled with moments that touch you.

Director Atul Kale’s Balkadu has such instances but they are only few and far between. The film overall turns out to be a wannabe type due to some weak writing and execution. It also bears striking similarities with Mahesh Manjrekar’s Mee Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy.

The story revolves around Balkrushna Patil (Umesh Kamat), who is a school teacher staying in Mumbai’s Nala Sopara. His professional and personal life, including his relation with his childhood sweetheart Sai (Neha Pendse), is far from perfect.

As he teaches History, he starts suffering from a condition where he hears voices of historical personalities. Among these voices, the most prominent one is that of the late Shiv Sena Supremo Balasaheb Thackeray. At the same time, Balkrushna’s heart bleeds to see the condition of Marathi people in Mumbai. Will Thackeray’s guidance turn out to be an inspiration for him?

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Picture Source: Loksatta.com

Picture Source: Loksatta.com

Balkadu’s motto is to spread Thackeray’s message for his followers to fight for their rights. But the primary objective of every film is to tell an interesting tale and this is where it falters. The biggest weakness here is the writing. There is hardly any story in the first half. This ensures a screenplay with errors and without any flow.

Things remain the same post-interval. The protagonist’s manner of enlightening and the way the revolution spreads is unconvincing and, at times, unintentionally hilarious. His idea of Marathis moving from the outskirts of Mumbai into the heart of the city is also impractical. Due to these issues, the inspirational message, barring few moments, hardly has any effect on you, especially the speeches, which appear corny.

Another worrisome aspect is the justification given for vandalism. Also, abhorring the idea of Marathi girls marrying non-Marathi guys is regressive in today’s era.

From the music, the Powada song is the only impressive number. But it is quite funny to see a teacher singing and dancing to such a song while teaching history. The camerawork falls in the good category while the background music is too loud.

Apart from some genuinely funny moments, it is Umesh Kamat’s performance that keeps the film going. He gets his act right by portraying various emotions with ease. Prasad Oak is highly convincing as the bad guy. Neha Pendse isn’t bad. As Balkrushna’s mother, Supriya Pathare provides an entertaining act. The actor playing the channel head is average. Anand Ingale is likable while Tiku Talsania is over-the-top. Pushkar Shrotri impresses in a cameo.

Overall: Balkadu doesn’t create the desired effect due to various issues. The film stands some chance at the box office due to the hype.

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Director: Atul Kale

Producers: The Great Maratha Entertainment

Writers: Ganesh Pandit and Ambar Hadap

Cast: Umesh Kamat, Prasad Oak, Neha Pendse, Supriya Pathare, Anand Ingale, Tiku Talsania

Music: Ajit-Samir

Genre: Drama

Release Date: January 23, 2015

16Jan/150

Review: Classmates (Marathi Movie)

Rating: * * ½

By: Keyur Seta

Director: Aditya Sarpotdar

Producers: Video Palace and S K Production Films

Writers: Kshitij Patwardhan and Sameer Vidwans

Cast: Ankush Choudhary, Siddharth Chandekar, Sai Tamhankar, Sonalee Kulkarni, Sachit Patil, Pallavi Patil

Genre: Drama

Review: Director Aditya Sarpotdar’s Classmates focuses on a group of college friends and their life after college. Such a subject instantly reminds you of Sanjay Jadhav’s Duniyadari. Funnily enough, Classmates turns out to be like a remake of Duniyadari, with the additional elements of political war and suspense woven into the main plot. In spite of this, the film keeps your interest alive only to dish out some disappointment in the end.

The story commences in 2015 when a group of friends inaugurates a music section in the college from where they passed out. Starting a music section in the college was a dream of their friend who is no more. A shocking incident just after the inauguration forces them to go recall their college days during the final year 20 years ago.

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Classmates-Marathi-MovieIn 1995, Satya (Ankush Choudhary), Aparna aka Appu (Sai Tamhankar) and their group, from TYBA, are known for their aggressive ways. First year students Ani (Siddharth Chandekar), Aditi (Sonalee Kulkarni), Rohit (Sachit Patil) and Heena (Pallavi Patil) also become a part of their lives. The college elections that year changes their lives forever.

Just a couple of minutes into the film and you get a déjà vu about Duniyadari. As the minutes roll by, you get a scary feeling that you are being re-served the 2013 blockbuster in a new bottle, not only in terms of the basic scenario but also the traits of two or three main characters. Thankfully, inclusion of political and mystery angles make sure it is not a complete remake.

These elements do lift the film as it keeps you guessing till the end. Sarpotdar’s manner of presenting various twists and their timing ensure dramatic thrill regularly. However, the final twist and conclusion isn’t much convincing, although it takes you by surprise. You feel there is something amiss. Plus, the final scene brings back memories of Duniyadari. The film also suffers from being dragged in the second half. Its high length of 153 minutes isn’t justified.

Music (Amitraj, Avinash-Vishwajeet, Troy-Arif, Pankaj Padghan) plays an important part as the songs suit the situations and prove to be hummable. The camerawork and background score are also as per the need.

As for the performances, the film mainly belongs to Siddharth Chandekar, who perfectly gets into the skin of his character and provides a mature act. Ankush Choudhary too packs a punch but his character is very similar to the one he played in Duniyadari. Sai Tamhankar proves to be effective once again in two starkly opposite characters.

Sachit Patil performs well while playing an interesting character. Sonalee Kulkarni, Pallavi Patil and Sushant Shelar play their respective characters well. The rest of the actors provide decent support.

Overall: Classmates is an average college film. Its similarities with Duniyadari will also go against it. Due to a good amount of publicity, the film will do well at the box office in the first week.

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6Jan/150

Lokmanya (Marathi Movie) Review

By: Keyur Seta

Rating: * * * *

The basic motto of a biopic is to do complete justice to the person on whom it is based. The next challenge for such genre of films is to leave behind a solid impact on the heart and mind of the viewer through his message or teachings. Om Raut’s Lokmanya – Ek Yug Purush succeeds in both areas while also making sure it is not just any other freedom fighter biopic.

Lokmanya – Ek Yug Purush focuses on the life of India’s freedom fighter, journalist, teacher and social reformer, Bal Gangadhar Tilak aka Lokmanya Tilak from the time he was a college student till the end of his life. The film highlights his fight against the British rule through various means and its consequences.

The story of a newspaper journalist (Chinmay Mandlekar), based in today’s times, is also narrated simultaneously. Hailing from Mumbai’s middle-class, he is about to marry his rich fiancée (Priya Bapat). But a chance incident ignites some serious inner conflict within him.

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lokmanya-marathi-movieBiopics face a danger of becoming a bit boring or a drag, making it unacceptable for the youth. But Lokmanya steers clear from it. Through a riveting screenplay, powerful dialogues and appealing presentation, you are kept engrossed. It also makes sure that the protagonist’s inspiring lines don’t turn out to be fake or corny. Although the film is filled with soul-stirring events, the sequence about the explanation of the Bhagvad Gita and the sad truth during opening credits deserve mention.

But as mentioned before, the film stands apart from the usual biopics. This is due to the story of the journalist, based in today’s era, which is connected to the life story of Tilak. This aspect will break your heart about the kind of lives people are living today. It will force you to question not only others but also yourself.

Lokmanya has few issues though. The commercial element in some sequences should have been toned down. But the biggest question mark is the change of heart of a supporting character, which is unconvincing.

Ajit-Sameer’s music enhances the proceedings to a greater level, especially the theme song. The same can be said for the technicalities (camerawork, background score and editing), production values and costume designing.

Lokmanya wouldn’t have been reached this level without Subodh Bhave’s brilliant enactment of the protagonist. With a powerful and heartwarming act, he shows why he is one of the finest artists around. Sameer Sanjay Vidwans too shines in the role of Gopal Ganesh Agarkar.

Chinmay Mandlekar succeeds in displaying frustration and helplessness, mostly through his expressions. Priya Bapat too plays her part perfectly. Angad Mhaskar, as Daiji Khare, Prashant Uthale, as Chapekar, and the rest of the actors play their parts well. However, the actor in the role of Swami Vivekananda is a miscast.

Overall: Lokmanya – Ek Yug Purush is an ideal film for today’s youth to know this important personality from India’s freedom struggle. It is expected to do well at the box office.

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Director: Om Raut

Writers: Om Raut and Kaustubh Savarkar

Producers: Neena Raut Films and Emmay Entertainment

Cast: Subodh Bhave, Chinmay Mandlekar, Sameer Sanjay Vidwans, Priya Bapat

Music: Ajit-Sameer

Genre: Period Drama

29Nov/140

Review: Happy Journey

By: Keyur Seta

Rating: * * * *

Director: Sachin Kundalkar

Producers: Everest Entertainment

Writer: Sachin Kundalkar

Cast: Atul Kulkarni, Priya Bapat, Pallavi Subhash

Music: Karan Kulkarni

The title of Sachin Kundalkar’s Happy Journey is misleading, but in a good way. The film actually is a very happy journey; one which forces you to introspect and question yourself while you are filled with delight. It is yet another contemporary Marathi film with an international appeal.

Happy Journey revolves around the 35-year-old Niranjan (Atul Kulkarni) and his younger sister Janaki (Priya Bapat) and their unexpected and life-changing journey. Later on, Alice (Pallavi Subhash), Niranjan’s school friend, also becomes a part of the voyage.

After the initial few minutes, anybody’s obvious guess would be to see the film head into an obvious, particular direction. However, not only are we proved wrong but we are also dished out a huge surprise or a pleasant shock, if we can call it, in terms of the basic plot. The subject is way different form what we have seen in the promos, where the makers have smartly hidden it.

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Happy-Journey-marathi-movieTo simply put it, the storyline is unique. This itself is the biggest plus point. But the end result was possible due to Kundalkar’s mature handling of a sensitive subject. As the journey moves ahead, various layers are unveiled, which make you think a lot by just the visual medium. In other words, the film says a lot without saying much. Of course, there are emotional and, on few occasions, tear-jerking moments but they are in no way depressing.

The subject is such that it also has its share of flaws. There are few other questionable moments too, especially in the second half, where the pace also dips a bit. Thankfully, these issues don’t play spoilsport.

DoP Rangarajan Ramabadran has spectacularly captured the beautiful locations of the Konkan region. His work plays a large role in creating the desired effect. Karan Kulkarni composed tracks are soulful and they go perfectly with the situations.

Atul Kulkarni is easily one of the finest artists of the era. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that he delivers yet another outstandingly believable act while playing a complex character. But the scene-stealer is Priya Bapat. You just can’t stop adoring her due to the manner in which she gets her act right. Pallavi Subhash once again shows signs of talent. There is some issue with her Marathi pronunciation but it might be deliberate to go with her Catholic background.

Veteran artist Chitra Palekar returns as an actor after 32 years with this film. Despite having just a couple of scenes, we can say she has made a terrific comeback. Shiv Subramaniam too leaves behind a mark in just a single scene. Suhita Thatte, Madhav Abhyankar and Siddharth Menon play their respective characters perfectly.

Overall: Happy Journey is an example of a modern tale, which is high on content. Given the end result and the presence of big names, the film will score well at the box office.

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21Nov/142

Vitti Dandu (Marathi Movie) Review

By: Keyur Seta

Rating: * * *

The mention of Indian freedom fighters instantly brings to our minds those famous names that we have been studying since our school days. But there were lakhs of unknown individuals who made enormous sacrifices for our nation by happily bearing the atrocities of the British. Director Ganesh Kadam’s Marathi movie Vitti Dandu pays tribute to such unknown freedom fighters in a heartwarming manner. However, some obvious issues hamper the film from being more impressive.

The story takes place in 1947 in Morgaon, a remote village in Maharashtra. The place is so out of touch with the neighboring areas that it takes around a week for any news to reach there. Among the few hundred inhibitors of the village are Daji (Dilip Prabhavalkar) and his grandson Govind (Nishant Bhavsar). In spite of his son and daughter-in-law being killed by the British, Daji continues to respect them and, in fact, hates those who wish for an independent India.

In the midst of bearing insults and bullying from his fellow villagers, all of a sudden there comes a moment of huge threat for Daji and Govind. The twist is triggered by the ‘Vitti’ that is used in the game Vitti Dandu (Gilli Danda in Hindi). The story of Daji and Govind is narrated in 2014 by a grandfather (Ravindra Mankani) to his techno-savvy grandson (Shubhankar Atre) while highlighting the importance of being in touch with nature.

vitti-dandu-marathi-movieVitti Dandu has a solid foundation of an interesting and intriguing storyline that consist a smart mixture of a grandfather-grandson relationship, freedom struggle and the dying sport of Vitti Dandu. The narration flow and the biggest twist in the tale are also handled maturely.

Kadam has succeeded in bringing alive the pre-independence era of freedom struggle with the scenes depicting patriotic vigor filling you with pride. It is after a long time that patriotism in a film has steered away from appearing fake. The bonding between the people of the village deserves special mention. The dig taken at technology-obsessed individuals who are out of touch with nature is also laudable.

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However, the film stops itself from earning more brownie points due to some issues that cannot be ignored. Firstly, there is a big question mark in the main twist. There are logical errors in the second half too. But what hurts the film the most is the last ten minutes. The idea was to induce applause from the audience but that doesn’t happen due to silliness and over-ambition. They should have exploited the important plot twist of the finale in a more mature manner.

The cinematographer has succeeded in artistically capturing the beautiful locations. The background score is as per the need. From the songs, the theme ‘Vande Mataram’ is a powerful rendition which also suits the subject.

The performance area is a plus point. Dilip Prabhavalkar once again succeeds in perfectly getting into the skin of his character and getting every aspect of the character right. Considering he is doing it consistently since last few years shows the brilliance of this artist. Nishant Bhavsar provides a fine act in a difficult role.

Yatin Karyekar, as an elderly Muslim, and Mrunal Thakur are impressive too. The film is also well supported by Ashok Samarth, Vikas Kadam, Uday Deshmukh, Ravindra Mankani and Shubhankar Atre. The actors playing British officers don’t get much scope and appear out of place.

Overall: Despite few issues, Vitti Dandu succeeds in being a moving saga that pays tribute to the many unknown freedom fighters.

Director: Ganesh Kadam

Producers: Raj Radha Movies

Writers: Vikas Kadam and Ganesh Kadam

Cast: Dilip Prabhavalkar, Nishant Bhavsar, Yatin Karyekar, Mrunal Thakur, Ashok Samarth

Genre: Period Drama/ Patriotism

14Nov/140

Elizabeth Ekadashi (Marathi Movie) Review

By: Keyur Seta

Rating: * * * ½

After his magnificent debut with the classic Harishchandrachi Factory, India’s official entry to the Oscars, there was naturally a keen wait for Paresh Mokashi’s next. The wait is finally over as the maker is back with Elizabeth Ekadashi. Looking at the overall product, we can say that the close to five-year wait is worth. The film turns out to be another simple heart-warming tale that leaves a wide smile on your face.

The story takes place in the holy village of Pandharpur (Maharashtra) where the adolescent Dnyanesh (Shrirang Mahajan) lives with his mother (Nandita Dhuri), younger sister Mukta (Sayali Bhandarkavathekar) and grandmother, after his father passed away few years back. His father had built a unique bicycle named Elizabeth. Dnyanesh and Mukta are literally in love with it.

With his father no more, his family is facing severe financial crisis. His mother needs to pay five thousand rupees to the bank to get her sweater machine back. For this purpose, she considers selling Elizabeth as that would greatly help the cause. But naturally, the kids oppose to the idea. Will Elizabeth be saved?

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Elizabeth-EkadashiOver the last few years, Marathi cinema has been regularly churning out simple and realistic rural flicks with strong emotional storyline and characters you easily fall in love with. Elizabeth Ekadashi also falls in this category. However, it manages to stand apart from most of such flicks due to the utter realism it oozes in literally every frame. The real, everyday scenes of Pandharpur are simply a delight. Therefore, it is difficult to accept that the characters are fictitious.

The film follows a contemporary mode of storytelling wherein the tale is narrated through real, everyday scenarios, which makes it smooth flowing and natural. What is further impressive is that Mokashi clearly steers away from melodrama, for which there was a lot of scope. Hence, there are countless moments where a scene says a lot without saying much.

Coming to the negative points, there is one questionable aspect, which cannot be revealed to avoid spoilers. The entire plot also becomes predictable after a while. But thankfully, you tend to enjoy the predictability as it fills you with delight as you leave the hall.

The only song ‘Dagad Dagad’ by the late Anand Modak is used as the theme and it suits the subject perfectly. There is some fine display of art by the cinematographer (Amol Gole) while the background score too is impressive.

The film is also blessed with excellent performances. In the role of Dnyanesh, Shrirang Mahajan simply wins you over with an outstanding act. Considering his age, he has carried the responsibility with amazing ease. Nandita Dhuri too puts forth a brilliantly believable portrayal of the mother.

Sayali Bhandarkavathekar, as Dnyanesh’s sister, is amazingly cute. The lady playing the grandmother doesn’t lag behind at all. As Dnyanesh’s friend, Pushkar Lonkar is hilarious! At the same time, he scores well during emotional scenes too. The rest of the actors offer perfect support.

Overall: Elizabeth Ekadashi is yet another heartwarming rural tale from Marathi cinema. The film stands a good chance of garnering impressive collections at the box office.

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Director: Paresh Mokashi

Producers: Mayasabha Productions and Essel Vision

Writers: Madhugandha Kulkarni and Paresh Mokashi

Cast: Shrirang Mahajan, Nandita Dhuri, Sayali Bhandarkavathekar, Pushkar Lonkar

Music: Anand Modak

Genre: Drama

26Oct/140

Pyaar Vali Love Story Review – Absurdity kills the message

By: Keyur Seta

Rating: * *

Romeo and Juliet stories are done to death. But this is not exactly the reason why Sanjay Jadhav’s Pyaar Vali Love Story doesn’t work. The film gets the viewer interested for some time but suddenly falls down the graph of sensibility and continues to do so till its hilariously silly climax. This is enough to ensure that the important message that it tries to give is lost.

The story is set in 1992 in Mumbai. Pashya (Sameer Dharmadhikari) and Kadar (Upendra Limaye) are the best of friends living in adjacent colonies occupied by Hindus and Muslims respectively. Pashya is in love with the hot-tempered but kind Nandini (Urmila Kanitkar Kothare), from his locality.

Amar (Swapnil Joshi), Pashya’s brother who stays in a hostel in Pune, returns to Mumbai to arrange his brother’s marriage with Nandini. As soon as he arrives in the city, he falls for Aliya (Sai Tamhankar), who is Kadar’s sister. But they soon realize that their path of love is filled with obstacles.

Pyar-Wali-Love-Story-Marathi-MoviePyaar Vali Love Story works decently in the first 50-55 minutes. Simple characters, their strong bonds and small joys gain your sympathy. Although the spoon-feeding narration and the forceful bonding between both communities could have been avoided, you at least feel interested due to some appealing moments. For example, the manner in which Kadar gets people of the locality to take part in Pashya’s wedding. Despite the tried-and-tested method, the romance angle also somewhat works.

But like an accident, the film abruptly loses sense just before interval through an unconvincing twist. What follows is one silly scene following another initiated by a poor misunderstanding. It amazes you how some characters, who till now showed a lot of maturity, suddenly start behaving like immature kids. But just when you think you have seen enough absurdity, you realize that the writers have saved the best one for the climax. On a less serious note, it at least succeeds in making you laugh.

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Another questionable aspect is such high usage of Hindi in the dialogues and songs. The obvious reason for this is that few characters are Muslim. But that doesn’t mean you convert the film into bilingual whenever they are speak.

The songs (Pankaj Padghan, Amitraj and Samir Saptiska), both peppy and romantic numbers, provide some satisfaction. Prasad Bhende’s camerawork is decent. The violin tunes in the background score work very well.

The performances are hampered by the content. Swapnil Joshi and Sai Tamhankar manage to impress as the lead pair. Upendra Limaye and Sameer Dharmadhikari are decent as hot-headed individuals. Urmila Kanetkar Kothare provides a believable and dedicated act by smartly getting into the skin of her character. Nagesh Bhosale and Chinmay Mandlekar, in a cameo, are alright.

Overall: Pyaar Vali Love Story fails in giving an important message due to some unforgivable absurdities. The presence of well-known names and the fact that it is the next film by the team of Duniyadari will ensure a good run for it at the box office in the first week.

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Director: Sanjay Jadhav

Producers: Inder Raj Kapoor, Rekha Joshi and Deepak Pandurang Rane

Writers: Arvind Jagtap, Tapan Bhatt and Ashish Patre

Cast: Swapnil Joshi, Sai Tamhankar, Upendra Limaye, Sameer Dharmadhikari, Urmila Kanetkar Kothare

Music: Pankaj Padghan, Amitraj and Samir Saptiska

Genre: Romance/ Drama

10Oct/140

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


By:
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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29Sep/140

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.