The Common Man Speaks

25Nov/180

Short story: Under the shade in the rainy evening in Bharatpur

The sun had set in Bharatpur that evening but it wasn’t dark at the market road. The workers of the Jan Raksha Party (JRP) were burning effigies of a leader from the ruling Lok Seva Party (LSP) after he allegedly made a derogatory remark against their leader.

The JRP workers were sweating in their pink T-shirt bearing the abbreviation of their party in the already humid town but they didn’t care. How dare he insult their beloved leader?

Their victorious reverie was broken when a group of supporters of LSP started raising slogans against the said JRP leader. They felt their leader did the right thing. They too were oblivious to their sweaty purple T-shirts bearing the abbreviation of their respective parties. But both parties were united in not caring for the general office going population that was having difficulty while going home after a long and tiring day at work.

Such was the state of affairs in Bharatpur these days. The town was divided between LSP and JRP; between pink and purple. Earlier it was only their supporters who were at loggerheads. But slowly, common people too clinged onto any one side and developed enmity against those who were on the ‘other’ side. So what if they have been their close friends or even family members all these years?

The colleges regularly saw tussles and arguments between both set of supporters. But since recent times, even offices saw heated conversations between those who were otherwise well-educated and mature.

The scene was the same even in the virtual world of social media and What’s App. More than the IT cells of these parties, the common people were energetically creating posts to bash and insult the other side. Both parties were saving a lot of money since the common people were ready to publicize them and their agendas for free.

Mumbai Monsoon

When the general public felt such enmity for people from the ‘other’ side, one can just imagine the hatred between the official party workers of both parties. They literally couldn’t see eye to eye.

The mobs of both groups were showing no signs of stopping. Hence, it took some divine intervention in the form of unseasonal December rain. What started as a drizzle soon transformed into heavy rain and storm-like situation. To make matters worse, the electricity went off.

The general public, which was running helter skelter, was now confused. Ajit, a man in his mid-20s, ushered inside the entrance of a shop that was shut. As he was moved inside the roof properly to escape the rain water, his body his someone. It was a man in his 50s who too was there as he had to save himself from the rain and it was too dark to try going home.

After an awkward moment, they spoke and soon introduced themselves. The man in his 50s was Rameshchandra. The two were glad to have each other’s company to combat this difficult situation. Ajit realized that Rameshchandra was feeling uneasy.

When Ajit caringly prodded further, he revealed that he is diabetic and needed water. Ajit promptly handed him a bottle from his bag in the dark. Rameshchandra thanked him. He then he noticed that Ajit was limping a bit. Now it was Rameshchandra’s turn to caringly prod him about his uneasiness.

Ajit explained how his leg got hit to the street lamp pole in the dark while he was hurriedly getting under the roof. Rameshchandra handed him a little bottle of a balm which he always carried for his headache. He said the balm works even for the kind of injury Ajit suffered. Then Ajit remembered the slogan of the balm’s advertisement, ‘Ek balm, teen kaam’ and they had a hearty laugh.

There was massive age gap between the two of them but they didn’t feel it. Difficult circumstances can even bring two people from different age groups together in a human way. Both decided in their minds that they would like to keep in touch. They were no longer thinking about the uneasiness caused by their wet T-shirts.

Just then the electricity returned and the road lights were on. They were glad but as soon as their eyes fell on each other, they were stunned. They were wearing pink and purple T-shirts respectively.

By: Keyur Seta

18Nov/180

Box office: Ani… Dr Kashinath Ghanekar worked only because Thugs Of Hindostan failed?

The Marathi movie Ani… Dr Kashinath Ghanekar has turned out to be a success at the box office. The Subodh Bhave starrer has been attracting the audience right from its release on 8 November. In fact, the shows of the films have increased in the last few days and the producers have claimed that right now it has around 6000 shows in India.

Directed by Abhijeet Shirish Deshpande and also starring Sonali Kulkarni, Sumeet Raghvan and Vaidehi Parshurami, the biopic on the superstar of Marathi theatre Dr Kashinath Ghanekar has been widely accepted by audience and critics alike.

The film was pitted against the biggest Bollywood movie Thugs Of Hindostan, which saw the union of two of the biggest superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan for the first time ever.

The Vijay Krishna Acharya directorial, however, wronged all the box office predictions by turning out to be a flop. It is the most expensive Hindi film till date with a cost as enormous as around Rs300 crore. After 10 days the film has earned only Rs137.25 crore in India.

Ani Dr Kashinath Ghanekar

There have been talks on the social media that Ani… Dr Kashinath Ghanekar has worked at the box office only because Thugs Of Hindostan has failed. How true is it?

In my personal opinion, it is not true whatsoever. When a Marathi film gains wide acceptance, it really doesn’t matter if any other film it released with worked or failed, no matter how big it is.

This can be proven by a simple recent example. During the 2015 Diwali period, Salman Khan and Rajshri Productions joined hands after a long time for Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. On the same day, two big Marathi films Katyar Kaljat Ghusli and Mumbai Pune Mumbai 2 also released.

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo turned out to be a superhit. But despite that, both Marathi films remained unaffected and managed to attain success at the box office.

If the success of one Hindi film didn’t affect two other Marathi films, it is obvious that the success of one Hindi film wouldn’t have affected one Marathi film released on the same day.

By: Keyur Seta

9Nov/181

Ani… Dr Kashinath Ghanekar Review – A biopic in real sense

Biopics have become a new fad in mainstream Hindi cinema over the years. While some turn out to be impressive, some don’t. But the common factor in almost all these films is that the protagonist is glorified and in some cases their dark deeds are whitewashed. This is where director Abhijeet Shirish Deshpande’s Ani… Dr Kashinath Ghanekar differs. The film doesn’t shy away from showing the negative or dark side of the person in question.

The film is based on the life of the superstar of Marathi theatre Dr Kashinath Ghanekar (Subodh Bhave), who ruled the stage from 1960s to 1980s. Although he was a practicing dentist, there came a time when he got more attracted to acting in plays. He started off by being a prompter for other actors.

Ghanekar finally got his big break in the role of Sambhaji in the play Raigadala Jevha Jaag Yete. After some hiccups, he later found success in the role of Lalya in Ashrunchi Jhali Phule. This increased his popularity and he became a star of the masses.

However, his personal life with his wife Irawati (Nandita Dhuri) took a beating. Ghanekar’s arrogance and superiority complex also added to his problems. If this wasn’t enough, the emergence of the very talented bloke Dr Shriram Lagoo (Sumeet Raghvan) threatened his position.

The Marathi film Rangkarmi (2013) was based on a man who becomes a theatre star but arrogance takes the better of him and he ultimately succumbs to alcoholism. But it was a fictional film. Another major difference is that Rangkarmi wasn’t well-made.

Dr Kashinath Ghanekar movie

The subject of Ani… Dr Kashinath Ghanekar relies heavily on production design and this area is taken care of. The scenes of old Bombay, especially the entrance of Shivaji Mandir and the road, appear believable.

But the film’s real triumph was the convincing narration of Ghanekar’s life. This was possible since the writing, direction and acting were in sync. It is impossible for us to know how exactly Ghanekar behaved and how the various events in his life played out. But whatever we were shown appeared realistic and at the same time it went with the massy nature of the film.

The arrival of Ghanekar as Shambhaji and his comeback as Lalya are events that bring in the effect. The craze for the superstar through his famous utterances like ‘Kadaaak’ and ‘Usme Kya Hai?’ are sure to gain popularity.

Ghanekar’s personal life was such that it was impossible to not focus on it. His conflict with his wife, love for Kanchan and closeness to actor Prabhakar Panshikar are woven naturally in the script.

The no-holds-barred attitude of the film is what makes Ani… Dr Kashinath stand out. Iconic living figures like Dr Shriram Lagoo and Sulochana didi having hard feelings for Ghanekar is something we don’t associate our biopics with. But there are chances that the serious rivalry between Ghanekar and Lagoo might not go down well with some.

The one thing that makes the film look incomplete is that Ghanekar’s early life is not explored. It is necessary to know as to why and how he developed such admiration for theatre despite being a practicing dentist.

The subject needed Subodh Bhave to give one of his best performances and this is exactly what he has done. The actor has lived the character of Ghanekar while displaying various emotions with ease. Despite showing arrogance, he doesn’t let him appear negative ever.

He isn’t the only actor with a difficult task. Sumeet Raghvan walks the razor’s edge and doesn’t either overdo or underdo while playing Lagoo. He is terrific. Anand Ingle, (Vasant Kanetkar), Nandita Dhuri, Sonali Kulkarni (Sulochana didi) and Mohan Joshi (Bhalji Pendharkar) too fall in the same league.

Vaidehi Parshurami, the youngest in the cast, doesn’t falter or let the presence of such stalwarts affect her performance. She is surely a lookout for the future.

Overall: Ani… Dr Kashinath Ghanekar is a kind of a biopic you don’t get to see often here. The film is expected to earn big at the box office despite it releasing with a biggie like Thugs Of Hindostan.

Rating: 3.5/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Abhijeet Shirish Deshpande

Producers: Viacom 18 Motion Pictures

Writers: Abhijeet Shirish Deshpande and Guru Thakur

Cast: Subodh Bhave, Anand Ingle, Sonali Kulkarni, Sumeet Raghvan, Nandita Dhuri, Vaidehi Parshurami, Mohan Joshi

Genre: Biopic

Runtime: 160 minutes

4Nov/180

When a statue is used to massage egos…

The sunrise at Mahishmati is no longer accompanied by the sweet chirping of the birds. Over the last few months, the construction work of our ruler Bhallaladeva’s gold statue is in full swing. The noise of the hammering emerge daily at the stroke of dawn and continue till sunset.

Never before have I ever been devoid of the pleasing early morning sounds in my 45 years of life. But I have to get on with my work. The vicinity of the gurukul where I teach is surrounded by dense green trees. This helps in keeping the sound at bay. But the quality of air is surely affected.

Along with the destruction of nature, what puts a huge question mark on the statue is the fact that an unthinkable amount is spent in making and erecting it. It pains to see such crazy spending on a mere statue when hundreds of its citizens are homeless. On top of that, the farmers and peasants too are going through the worse phase of poverty since last few years.

The rulers are, obviously, aware of this. But they, especially the father-son duo of Bijjaladeva and Bhallaladeva, are more concerned in flaunting their power. Proving their supremacy is their biggest priority even as a number of citizens struggle to survive.

Bhallaladeva statue

Protesting against the statue is out of question. Many tried it and suffered the consequences. Bhallaladeva used his force to crush every protest. He won’t do it directly. People lower in his rank carry out such tasks on his behalf.

Mahishmati has now reached a stage where even constructive criticism of the rulers is considered suicidal. Along with his highly paid workers, a large number of people from the general population have also started advocating for Bhallaladeva with all dedication.

Strong image building exercises coupled with his brilliant oratory skills have captured the minds and hearts of these citizens. For them, Bhallaladeva is the most powerful and the only person worth ruling Mahishmati. Even if you differ with them politely, you get branded the enemy of the land. Their blind worship has broken plenty of friendships over the years.

Their common justification for the statue is that it will provide employment to a lot of people who are engaged in building it. They fail to understand that the enormous amount of money will not only save the lives of hundreds of starving citizens but will also ensure that nobody gets into that condition in the near future.

The other day I got quite a jolt while I was teaching. A scuffle between two groups of kids took place. Further query brought to my notice that few students lost their temper when few other merely questioned the need for a statue. I was more disappointed than surprised. Since recent times I have come to realize that there is no definite link between common sense and education.

I wish building statues, even of great people, doesn’t continue in the future but I see little hope. Who knows? Centuries later some other ruler might play a trick by building a statue of a great ruler of the past just to massage his own ego.