True To Its Name
Ratings: * * * ½
In a particular scene of the movie, a group of soft drink company officials taste Ajit Gurav’s (Subodh Bhave) haapus (a breed of mango). The expressions on their faces after tasting the mango sum up the quality of the film. Abhijit Satam’s directorial debut Haapus offers an experience which is as delicious and refreshing as the fruit itself.
In the Vanarwadi village of Konkan, Anna Gurav (Shivaji Satam), the patriarch of the Gurav family is such a staunch believer in astrology that he doesn’t step out of the house without considering the day’s horoscope. He is always at loggerheads with his son Ajit whose opinion on astrology is contradictory to his father. Ajit grows haapus and is passionate about it. He also wishes to sell the fruit to the other areas of Maharashtra.
Ajit’s tussle with his father increases when Anna doesn’t allow him to trade in haapus because of astrological reasons. Things become tougher for Ajit as he has to face a hooligan trader called Chajed (Vidyadhar Joshi), who will go any heights to stop Ajit from entering the market.
There are also present a bunch of unusual characters like Anna’s twin daughters Amruta and Ankita (Madhura Velenkar Satam), both as different as chalk and cheese, Anna’s mother played by Sulabha Deshpande, Digambar Kale (Makarand Anaspure), son of Anna’s friend and rickshaw driver Subhya (Pushkar Shrotri).
The film works largely because the serious issue of Ajit’s struggle is peppered with large doses of humor. Writers Saurabh Bhave and Subodh Khanolkar and dialogue writer Sanjay Pawar deserve large applause for skillfully creating some rib-tickling moments throughout the film in the simplest of the situations. Having said that, they also make sure that the main issue is not left behind.
It can be a daunting task for a first time director to control such an ensemble cast and manage to get top performances from them and Abhiji Satam does the task with maturity. The way he has shot the film while portraying beautiful locales of the village is sure to keep one glued to the screen.
The only weak link is the length and the climax that should have focused more on the achievement of the characters.
As expected from a veteran like Shivaji Satam, the actor portrays the character with utmost ease. He commands respect as the head of the family and makes the role look tailor-made for him. Subodh Bhave stands apart from the crowd and plays a serious character with honesty and maturity. Madhura Velankar Satam deserves special mention as it’s utterly difficult to play two contrasting characters in the same film. Pushkar Shrotri and Vidyadhar Joshi are perfect.
Sulabha Deshpande, another veteran, proves why she is a respected figure in the Marathi film arena. Over here, she very well speaks with gestures and expressions as she plays a mute character. But it is Makarand Anaspure who takes the cake with a performance that gets you in splits whenever he speaks and appears. He is lovable throughout the film with his brilliant comic timing.
A large number of plus points make Haapus an entertainer with good values that will appeal to people of all ages. Because of the positive opening and mass value, the film is sure shot success at the box-office.