Nana Patekar is gaining tremendous applause for his act in and as Natsamrat and rightly so. But we can't deny the role of V V Shirvadka aka Kusumagraj (original play) Kiran Yadnyopavit and Abhijeet Deshpande's richly creative dialogues in helping this Mahesh Manjrekar film reach the level of a classic.
Here is a list of some applaud-worthy dialogues from Natsamrat:
- To be or not to be, that is the question. Jagava ki marava, ha ekach sawaal aahe.
- Pratishtha mhanje ek bhaakad oza. Kadhi yogyata nastana milta. Kadhi chook nastana nighun jaata.
- Kuni ghar deta ka? Ghar? Eka toofanala kuni ghar deta ka? Ek toofan bhinti vaachun, chhapra vaachun, manasachya maye vachun, devacha daye vachun, dongra-dongrat hindta aahe. Jithun kuni uthavnar naahin ashi jaga dhoondta aahe. Kuni ghar deta ka re? Ghar?
(FOR THE REVIEW OF NATSAMRAT, CLICK HERE)
- Tu nat mhanun bhikarda aahesach. Pan tu maanus mhanun suddha salya neech aahes.
- I kissed him. You are jealous.
- Whisky? Oh that is phuski...
- Vidhata, tu itka kathor ka zalas? Eka bajula jyanna aamhi jamna dila tya aahmala visartaat. Aani dusrya bajula jyani aahmala janma dila toh tu hi aahmala visarto. Mag viskatlelya hadanche he saapde gheune karuna kara, aahmi therdyani kunacha payavar doka aadhlaycha re?
- Naahin, raagavun kay faayda aahe? Aani radnaar suddha naahin. Mazya dolyat asva jama hovayla laagli tar khi... khi... khile maarun khacha karun taakin pan hya adhai samor mee radnaar naahi.
- Aahmala vaat ta aamhi aai zalo, baap zalo. Khara tar aamhi kunich zalelo nasto. Aamhi fakta jine asto jine.
- Sur mhanto saath de. Diva mhanto vaat de. Unhamadhlya mhataryala fakta tuza haath de.
- Door vha! Door vha, sagla nirarthak aahe. Jo aaplya jaagi thaam pane ubha aahe toh mee aahe. Julius Caesar. Mee aahe Prataprao. Mee Othello. Sudhakar aani Hamlet aani Ganpat Ramchandra Belvalkar, Natsamrat.
Director: Mahesh Manjrekar
Producers: Great Maratha Entertainment, Zee Studios, Fincraft Media and Gajanan Chitra
Writers: V V Shirvadkar aka Kusumagraj (original play), Kiran Yadnyopavit, Mahesh Manjrekar and Abhijeet Deshpande
Cast: Nana Patekar, Medha Manjrekar, Vikram Gokhale, Mrunmayee Deshpande, Sunil Barve
Music: Ajit Parab
Rating: * * * * ½
Review By: Keyur Seta
There were expectations aplenty from Mahesh Manjrekar's Natasamrat. But the film doesn’t rise up to the excitement. It, in fact, rises a bit above! The Nana Patekar-starrer is a masterpiece. Read further to know why.
Natsamrat is an adaptation of Kusumagraj’s classic Marathi play of the same name, which was first enacted by Shreeram Lagoo. The story follows Ganpatrao Belwalkar (Nana Patekar), a retired Shakespearean theatre actor, who is given the title ‘Natsamrat’ for his stupendous work in the field of theatre. He is internally strong but at the same time, emotional and has a great sense of humor.
Belwakar looks forward to living a peaceful retired life with his loving wife (Medha Manjrekar) and best friend and fellow retired actor Ram Abhyankar (Vikram Gokhale). However, his world, slowly but surely, turns topsy-turvy due to his own family members. How will the King of actors face the stage of life now?
As far as the screenplay is concerned, it would be an understatement to say that Manjrekar, Abhijeet Deshpande and Kiran Yadnyopavit have succeeded in adapting. They have achieved excellence through some mature way of storytelling. To top this, there are some amazingly creative dialogues (in addition to the original ones). And when they are mouthed by Nana Patekar, you just sit in awe. There are a series of scenes that stay etched in your memory. Patekar’s act in the climax and his hospital scene with Vikram Gokhale are two such.
Although theatre and cinema are story-telling mediums, they share some major differences. And in the case of Natsamrat, there is also a wide time gap. So, the film has some glaring changes in the script, situations and a few character traits. The film caters to the modern or contemporary audience but also manages to retain the original flavor. This is something very challenging.
Now, the most difficult task, which is to describe Nana Patekar's performance. The veteran artist deserves a standing ovation for full 5 minutes for this act. He just melts your heart on various occasions throughout the film. At the same time, his comic timing is perfect too. The film wouldn't have achieved such a result without his masterly performance.
But that is not all. The film has some remarkable performances from Vikram Gokhale and Medha Manjrekar too. A fine act from Mrunmayee Deshpande also deserves praise. Ajit Parab, Neha Pendse, Sunil Barve, Jayant Wadhkar, Nilesh Diwekar and others too provide good support.
It is difficult to find any major flaws here. There are some minor issues related to few situations. But they are overshadowed by the terrific impact. Ajit Parab’s music is soulful and is used wisely. Ajith V Reddy’s artistic camerawork also has a big share in the plusses.
Overall: Natsamrat is one of the best Marathi films of this era, helped by a magical act from Nana Patekar. The film is all set to create box office records through some mammoth collections.
By: Keyur Seta
It was clear that Prem Ratan Dhan Payo would be an absolute winner at the box office, ever since its promotional material was out. However, going by the unprecedented advance booking the film has received, it won’t be wrong to state that the Sooraj Barjatya’s Salman Khan starrer might just create new records at the box office.
The highest record collection for the opening day is currently held by Farah Khan’s Happy New Year, which released on last Diwali and earned around 37 crores. But going by the advance booking trends, it very well looks like Prem Ratan Dhan Payo will set the record for the highest opening day collections by earning 40 crores or more in a single day.
Of course, whether its lifetime box office collections will overhaul PK, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Dhoom 3, which currently hold the record of highest box office collections in India earning approximately 340, 315 and 262 crores respectively, will depend on its content.
But this Diwali, as far as Maharashtra is concerned, two keenly awaited Marathi films are also hitting the theatres: Mumbai Pune Mumbai 2, starring Swapnil Joshi and Mukta Barve, and Katyar Kaljat Ghusli. MPM 2 is the sequel of the much loved blockbuster Mumbai Pune Mumbai, directed by Satish Rajwade. KKG is based on the famous musical play of the same name and the directorial debut of Subodh Bhave.
Normally, one would expect a huge film like PRDP to eat up regional films that release alongside. However, this time that is not going to be the case. The excitement for MPM 2 and Katyar Kaljat Ghusli is so high that these two films too are receiving a very positive advance booking response despite the presence of PRDP. This also means that the two Marathi films wont be a threat to each other either.
Therefore, it won’t be wrong to state that this Diwali the box office scenario in Maharashtra will see something never seen before. A hugely awaited Hindi film and two Marathi films doing well together.
Now, this is what we call a Happy Diwali in true sense.
Rating: * * * ½
By: Keyur Seta
The idea of presenting few short films as a whole film is slowly gaining acceptance. It doesn’t come as a surprise to see the genre entering Marathi cinema, as newer or experimental topics have been a regular feature here.
Bioscope, an amalgamation of four short films, is an interesting start to the genre in Marathi. Although not each of the four films can boast of being superlative, the experience as a whole is certainly pleasing due to the progressiveness on display in each, both in terms of the subject and treatment.
Based on a Ghazal by Mirza Ghalib
Director: Gajendra Ahire
Cast: Neena Kulkarni and Suhas Bhalekar
Writer: Gajendra Ahire
Music: Narendra Bhide
The story takes place in today’s Indore. A classical Ghazal singer (Neena Kulkarni) has been living with her musician friend (Suhas Bhalekar) since 30 years. The two of them are trying to come to terms to the fading days of gharana music and mostly spend their time reminiscing the old, golden years.
This one transports you to the Nawabi Indori Gharana of music. Beautiful tunes, rich production design (the revolving fan standing out) and royal Urdu dialogues continuously enchant you. But the film works as a whole due to the amazing bond between the two characters and the ending moments. Showing the two of them purely as friends is a bold statement. Neena Kulkarni and Suhas Bhalekar provide excellent performances and they also share some amazing chemistry.
Ek Hota Kau
Based on a poem by Saumitra
Director: Viju Mane
Cast: Kushal Badrike, Spruha Joshi
Writer: Viju Mane
Music: Soham Pathak
A young garage owner (Kushal Badrike) falls for a beautiful girl (Spruha Joshi) of a respected family. More than the social difference, it is his skin color that is stopping him from sharing his love for her.
The age old story of a poor guy falling for a rich and upper class girl gets another dimension of the issue of complexion. The undying stigma attached to the dark-skinned in Indian society is presented here in a bold and mature manner; the protagonist is smartly linked with crow. But the story appears dragged after a point. Thankfully, the killer moment in the climax saves the day. Kushal Badrike perfectly molds himself in his character. Spruha Joshi is fine too.
Based on the work of a folk poet Loknath Yashwant
Director: Girish Mohite
Cast: Mangesh Desai, Smita Tambe, Uday Sabnis and Sagar Karande
Writer: Abay Dakhane
The film focuses on the sorry state of affairs of cotton farmers by highlighting the plight of a famer named Panjab (Mangesh Desai). From his small village in the interiors of Maharashtra, he visits Mumbai to join the protest for increasing rates of raw cotton.
This is another not-so-novel subject narrated differently. The sorry condition of a cotton famer is arrived at in a creative manner. The fact that they receive almost peanuts for their produce while the clothes made out of it are sold in an abnormal price is a very appealing manner of highlighting their plight. But the film lacks proper flow. Also, an important event in the tale isn’t presented clearly. Mangesh Desai is fully believable as a helpless farmer. Smita Tambe is also perfect as his wife.
Based on a short story by Vijay Tendulkar
Director: Ravi Jadhav
Writer: Vijay Tendulkar and Ravi Jadhav
Cast: Veena Jamkar, Mrunmayee Deshpande
Music: Salil Kulkarni
The period is 1947. A boy (Sandeep Khare) is eager to share his feelings for his childhood friend Sumitra (Veena Jamkar). But Sumitra loves another girl (Mrunmayee Deshpande).
Story of a lesbian girl based in India in 1947 is something out-of-the-box considering queers’ struggle to gain acceptance even in 2015. Mitraa is a bold, beautiful and unconventional take on the issue of lesbianism. The protagonist’s manner of disclosing her sexual preference and the reactions to it sums up its new-age-ness. But you really can’t ignore its visually stunning frames despite the film being in black and white. One wouldn’t mind watching it as a full-length film. In a difficult role, Veena Jamkar provides a thoroughly skillful act. Sandeep Khare is dedicated as her childhood friend. Mrunmayee Deshpande plays her part well too.
Director: Jaypraad Desai
Producers: Sacchi Entertainment
Writer: Mahesh Keluskar and Jaypraad Desai
Cast: Sachin Khedekar, Milind Soman, Devika Daftardar, Dilip Prabhavalkar, Rajesh Sharma, Dr Shriram Lagoo
Music: Tubby-Parik and Sambhaji Bhagat
Genre: Political Drama
Rating: * * * ½
Review By: Keyur Seta
An honest and fearless protagonist stranded in a grossly corrupt system is not a novel subject. But a tried and tested subject ceases to be one if treated completely in an out-of-the-box or unconventional manner. It is this treatment that makes the Marathi movie Nagrik an impressive, hard-hitting and intense socio-political saga.
The film revolves around the idealistic, fearless and honest-to-the-core newspaper journalist Shyam Jagdale (Sachin Khedekar). He is known for his column Nagrik, where he exposes corrupt practices. His recent column exposes the utterly corrupt and ruthless politician Vikas Patil’s (Milind Soman) idea of orchestrating communal riots. However, this doesn’t go well with his new editor with lose morals.
As the editor is more interested in generating revenue, Jagdale isn’t allowed to publish any more of such stories. Hence, Patil continues his shoddy practices for political gains as a helpless Jagdale looks on. He soon realizes that Patil is just a cog in the entire corrupt machinery. What’s worse is that Jagdale’s personal life is also far from perfect. Will things ever change within his house and outside?
Nagrik doesn’t follow a conventional storyline. It is more of an attempt of providing a glimpse into the filthy world of corrupt politics and the murky underbelly of Mumbai in a completely no-holds-barred manner. Due to some skillful efforts of the writer and director, the film succeeds in its attempt. The viewer is sucked into a truly intense world, which stays on with him/ her long after the completion of the film.
The practice of generating a hard-hitting effect through visuals, expressions and silences isn’t explored much in Indian films. Off late though, the trend if catching up where a particular scene says a lot without saying much. Nagrik continues the trend very successfully. This results in a number of sequences and incidents that hit you hard without the use of clichéd lines. There is a long non-verbal sequence in the second half portraying the irony of the life in Mumbai, which is the highlight of the film.
However, Nagrik, has its share of downfalls. After a point of time in the second half, the proceedings tend to lose grip when nothing much is happening in terms of story development. Few incidents, in this half, are questionable. Also, the climax isn’t as hard-hitting or something that provides a kick. Thankfully, these issues don’t do much in overriding the plusses.
Sambhaji Bhagat’s folk songs played in the background go well with the situation and add up to the effect. From the rest of the tracks, ‘Bola Vithal’ is impressive. The camerawork goes with the intense theme. The background score also adds to the intensity. But majority of the times, they have decided against using any background music and it works that way.
Some dedicated performances also play a major role. Sachin Khedekar brilliantly brings out the right frustration and vulnerability. Having said this, he scores well during witty confrontational scenes with Soman. But Milind Soman too makes a solid impact. He is outstanding as a ruthless, corrupt but at the same time, calm-headed politician. Dilip Prabhavalkar isn’t behind, as is expected from a quality veteran, as another corrupt politician.
Dr. Shriram Lagoo, another thespian, displays his talent in a difficult role of an ex-politician agonized by the sorry state of affairs. The film can also boast of some high quality performances from Devika Daftardar, Rajesh Sharma (Bollywood actor making his Marathi film debut), Neena Kulkarni, Sulabha Deshpande, Madhav Abhyankar and Rajkumar Tangade.
Overall: Nagrik is a hard-hitting realistic socio-political saga that is recommended for the lovers of sensible cinema. It is expected to do fairly well at the box office provided it receives positive word-of-mouth.
Director: Kedar Shinde
Producers: Kedar Shinde Pictures and Eros International
Writers: Dilip Prabhavalkar and Kedar Shinde
Cast: Sonali Kulkarni, Dharmendra Gohil, Bharat Jadhav, Surabhi Hande, Prasad Oak
Release Date: May 22, 2015
Rating: * *
Review By: Keyur Seta
The basic prerequisite for the sequel of a successful film is an interesting concept that takes the franchise forward. Its clear absence becomes the reason for the downfall of Kedar Shinde’s Marathi movie Aga Bai Arechya 2.
Unfortunately, this is not its only problem area. Such a description also means that the film is way below the enjoyable and humorous first film in the franchise Aga Bai Arechya (2004), which starred Sanjay Narvekar in the lead.
The film centers round Shubhangi aka Shubha (Sonali Kulkarni). She is in her 30s but not yet married due to a mysterious and tragic condition in her life. As soon as she touches her lover in any way, the latter gets involved in a serious accident. This has been going on since her childhood.
Intrigued by the story of Shubha’s life, author Vikram (Dharmendra Gohil) decides to write a book on her life. Initially, she strictly refuses but slowly gets convinced about Vikram’s sincerity. She reveals to him about her past lovers (Bharat Jadhav, Prasad Oak and Madhav Deochake). Will her unusual ‘curse’ continue to torment her? Or will it set her free finally?
Aga Bai Arechya 2 suffers from an unconvincing concept, which is taken forward through a questionable plot point. Seriously, why would Shubha allow a complete stranger to narrate her tragic personal story to the world considering her situation? But what takes the cake is the important turn in the second half. It’s not possible to reveal much to avoid spoilers but there is no harm in saying that this particular point induces unintentional laughter.
Also, the overall setting and characters appear outdated in today’s era. So, what do we have going for the film? Being the sequel of a humorous movie, thankfully there is some amount of genuine laughter that stops the film from completely falling apart.
Nishaad’s music is another plus point. Songs like ‘Ek Porgi Sandhyakali’, ‘Dil Mera’, ‘Maza Dev Kuni Pahila’ and ‘Jagnyache Bhaan He’ are good enough to take back home. Suresh Deshmane, the DoP has provided with satisfying glimpses of the Konkan region. The rest of the technicalities are decent.
Sonali Kulkarni is one of the finest actors around. She brings in her goodness to overshadow the fallacies and also manages to look ravishing. But it would have been better if she wasn’t asked to scream at times. Dharmendra Gohil, known for his theatre performances, makes a confident debut in Marathi cinema.
Bharat Jadhav displays his skills well in a hatke role. In cameos, Prasad Oak and Madhav Deochake are average and the two girls playing younger Shubha provide likable acts. The rest of the supporting cast is decent.
Overall: Aga Bai Arechya 2 fails due to basic issues. The presence of Sonali Kulkarni in the lead and the family-oriented subject will help the film earn well at the box office in the first week.
Rating: * * ½
By: Keyur Seta
Director Ravi Jadhav's Marathi movie TimePass 2 treads on the same path as TimePass. The film is high on humor but not so high on content. In taking forward the love story of Dagadu and Prajakta, the makers have resorted to not only age-old clichés but also unconvincing factors. But there is enough entertainment for the target audience to savor this dish once.
The story of Dagadu and Praju takes a leap. Dagadu is now 30 years old and unmarried. He still dreams of Prajakta (or Parajakta), although it has been a long time since she left him. She has settled in Konkan with her father aka Shakaal (Bhalchandra Kadam) after leaving Mumbai. Prajakta’s father is eager to marry her off with a well-cultured guy.
Meanwhile, Dagadu’s crazy friends encourage him to meet Prajakta, express his love for her and get married to her. Hence, he along with his friends goes on a mission to Konkan. But does Prajakta still love him? What about Shakaal who hates Dagadu to the core?
The USP of TimePass 2 is its humor. But while the comic moments in the first film were born out of Dagadu’s adolescent antics and cute obsession, here the onus is on crazy, whacky and slapstick situational comedy in plenty of doses, which keeps you entertained throughout. Although at times it appears forceful and silly, it goes with the genre.
But the problem areas are big, which cannot be ignored. The basic plot itself is questionable. Why did Dagadu wait till the age of 30 to search for Prajakta? Why didn’t the couple be in touch all these years through various technological means? Also, the twist about the secret profession of a character is completely unconvincing. The film also derails from the main aim post interval and ends on a clichéd, tried and tested manner.
From Chinar and Mahesh’ music, the song ‘Praju’ stands out. The rest of the songs fall in the ‘not bad’ or ‘decent’ category. ‘Madan Pichkari’ doesn’t go well with the family movie genre. Vasudeo Rane’s camerawork captures the beautiful Konkan in a simple and subtle manner. The background score is as per the need. The jingle ‘Insaniyat Ke Dushman’ should have been used more though.
Priyadarshan Jadhav carries the difficult task of playing the grown up Dagadu with confidence, although he overdoes on a few occasions. Priya Bapat once again provides a convincing and likeable performance. Vaibhav Mangle was remarkable in the first film. He goes few notches higher here by being convincing during both comical and emotional moments.
It is heartwarming to see Prathamesh Parab entering the scene every now and then, displaying his typical crowd-pleasing behavior. The same can be said about Ketaki Mategaonkar although she doesn’t get to speak much. Sandip Pathak and two other actors playing Dagadu’s friends are decent while Bhalchandra Kadam, as Dagadu’s father, is effective once again.
Overall: TimePass 2 is a one-time watch entertainer. The brand value and some tremendous hype will make sure that the film will break box office records.
Director: Ravi Jadhav
Producers: Nitin Keni, Nikhil Sane and Meghana Jadhav
Writers: Ravi Jadhav, Kshitij Patwardhan and Priyadarshan Jadhav
Cast: Priyadarshan Jadhav, Priya Bapat, Prathamesh Parab, Ketaki Mategaonkar, Vaibhav Mangle
Genre: Romance/ Comedy
Rating: * * * *
By: Keyur Seta
Courts have had a long relationship with Indian films. But mostly the court proceedings shown in our movie are no way near to reality. It is only since recent times that films like No One Killed Jessica (2011), Jolly LLB (2013) and Shahid (2013) have depicted court scenes as close to reality as possible.
But director Chaitanya Tamhane’s Marathi movie Court depicts the judicial process with never-seen-before reality. However, at the same time, the film stays far away from being a documentary or docu-drama. It focuses more on the dark humorous side while raising several serious questions about our judiciary and law and order procedure.
The film revolves around Narayan Kamble (Vira Sathidar), a senior citizen from Mumbai working as a tution teacher. As a passion, he also writes and performs folk songs that depict the sorry tale of laborers and menial workers. Once, while performing, he is arrested for allegedly writing and performing a song that instigated a menial worker to commit suicide. Lawyer Vinay Vora (Vivek Gomber) fights Kamble’s case. Is Kamble Guilty?
Court is not a film in conventional sense. It is an honest presentation of a court case in an actual form. The arguments inside the courtroom, the casual conversations and the everyday, routine scenes appear right out of reality. There is also no background music whatsoever while the camerawork goes with the realistic genre.
However, this doesn’t make for a tedious watch as there is continuous dark humor. In fact, the film proves that you don’t need any melodrama to make court proceedings interesting. As I have witnessed court proceedings, I too agree that the real courtroom scenes have plenty of potential for entertainment, especially if it is Sessions Court, which is the case in the film.
But amidst the humor, the film completely succeeds in its motto of presenting the sorry and, at times, disturbing realities of our judiciary system. It also hints at the removal of Victorian laws that are completely irrelevant in today’s era.
Court has a questionable aspect though. There is too much footage given to the personal lives of both lawyers and the judge. Although these parts are also entertaining and meaningful in a way, few moments appear unnecessary, especially the way the film is dragged in the last few minutes. Thankfully, this point doesn’t lower your satisfaction much.
The performances fully complement the subject. It is difficult to believe that Narayam Kamble is not a real person and is just a fictional character. This is simply because of Vira Sathidar’s excellently realistic performance. Vivek Gomber isn’t behind though. He too perfectly gets into the skin of a Gujarati defense lawyer. Pradeep Joshi, as the judge, and Geetanjali Kulkarni, as the Public Prosecutor, render brilliant acts too. Shirish Pawar shines in a supporting role.
Overall: Court is a daringly realistic saga that is also high on entertainment. The film has received the National Award for Best Feature Film and a number of other international awards and rightly so. It deserves positive word-of-mouth to make a good impact at the box office.
Director: Chaitanya Tamhane
Producer: Vivek Gomber
Writer: Chaitanya Tamhane
Actors: Vira Sathidar, Vivek Gomber, Pradeep Joshi, Geetanjali Kulkarni
Rating: * * ½
By: Keyur Seta
The current lot of youngsters are suffering from generation gap when it comes to marriage. While they don’t consider concepts like ‘marriageable age’, their parents think otherwise. This conflict is explored in director Prakash Kunte’s Coffee Ani Barach Kahi through a love story that youngsters of today’s era will relate to. However, this doesn’t ensure a quality product since the film falters in the writing department.
Jai (Prarthana Behre) is a girl-next-door who believes in fairytale romances. She has recently fallen in love with her senior at work, Nishad (Vaibhav Tatyawadi). He too has similar feelings for her. One evening, Nidhad calls Jai at a coffee shop as he has finally decided to propose to her. However, just as Jai is about to leave, her father informs her that his friend’s son (Bhushan Pradhan) will be coming to see her for marriage. What will she do now?
Coffee Ani Barach Kahi scores well while presenting a realistic situation of a young girl mildly forced to meet a prospective groom while she is in love with someone else. Although this idea isn’t novel by any means, it is presented in a new-age manner, which also makes sure that the parents don’t turn out to be atyacharis, thankfully. The same modern presentation is also seen in the office romance. The real subtle humor too makes the proceedings viewer-friendly in the first half, despite not much story progression.
After defining the basic plot in the first half, you naturally expect the story to move forward. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen as the audience is presented with pretty much the same thing that they were served in the first half. The writers tell us the story we already know and present us with the age-old filmi climax. In a bid to make the film simple, they end up making it bland.
The film is blessed by the magical romantic track ‘Rang He Nave Nave’. Its violin tune, which is also used in the background, deserves to be saved in your mobile phone. The cinematography and editing turn out to be decent.
Prarthana Behre is does justice to the character of Jai, in which she fits perfectly. Vaibhav Tatwawadi is also natural. You easily feel for him. Bhushan Pradhan does well as the mature guy who comes to see Jai. After Samhita and Ajoba, Neha Mahajan continues her good work. Ashwini Ekbote, Vidyadhar Joshi, Ila Bhate and Suyash Tilak offer good support. Dilip Prabhavalkar is memorable in a cameo.
Overall: Coffee Ani Barach Kahi is an average romantic film. The film will have a tough time at the box office due to biggies like Detective Byomkesh Bakshy and Fast & Furious 7 releasing on the same day.
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.
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