The last decade has seen a number of Marathi films that can be relished by a PAN India audience. But there have also been some with international appeal. Director Samit Kakkad’s Half Ticket clearly belongs to the latter category. It has the potential of bringing a smile to anyone who has a heart.
Half Ticket is the official remake of the Tamil film, Kakka Muttai. It follows the story of two kids (Shubham More and Vinayak Potdar) from Dharavi, Mumbai’s slum hub. With their father languishing in jail and mother (Priyanka Bose) earning a paltry sum from her sewing job, they literally live from hand-to-mouth.
As the kids get their nourishment from eating crow eggs, they are nicknamed, Motha Kawlyacha Anda and Chhota Kawlyacha Anda. They try to make ends meet by selling coal from railway tracks. An incident introduces them with pizza, a variety they were unaware of before. Besotted by its look and smell, relishing pizza becomes the sole aim of their life. But how will they afford a dish which is luxurious by their standards?
A large number of Mumbai population lives in slums. The living condition over their will give a sad shock to people from the outside world. The film provides this feeling by bringing a truly realistic depiction of the life in slum. This is an enormous achievement for the director since shooting a feature film in such conditions can be a nightmare for those not accustomed to it.
But for a film to work it is mandatory for it to be high on storytelling and this is exactly what Half Ticket achieves. As the kids go about their daily activities and chasing their desires, you can’t help but root for them. This was also possible since the screenplay doesn’t go off-track whatsoever. This ensures that the film says a lot without saying much, more so during the heart-warming climax.
Half Ticket does come with a few issues. A couple of incidents don't seem completely convincing and the length could have been a bit shorter. On few occasions in the first half, the roadside noise in the background overpowers the dialogues. Thankfully, these points are overshadowed by the plusses.
The technical has department played a large role in making the final product of international caliber. It is difficult to ignore Sanjay Memame’s (DoP) creative shots. The songs, used in the background, go well with the theme. But it is the pleasurable background score that stays with you for long.
The film rides high on performances, which is vital for such subjects. Shubham More and Vinayak Potdar have surrendered to their characters with utmost dedication. Lest not forget the conditions in which they shot.
Priyanka Bose, who makes her Marathi film debut, also gets into the skin of her character. Despite being a non-Marathi, she shows conviction while speaking the language. Usha Naik, as the grandmother, Bhalchandra Kadam, as the kids' friend, also chip in with earnest performances.
Overall:Half Ticket is an honestly made film about kids, which will appeal to grown-ups as well. It has a chance of doing well at the box-office provided it receives word-of-mouth. The only danger it faces is Rajinikanth’s Kabali.
Director: Samit Kakkad
Producers: Video Palace
Writers: M Manikandan (original story), Dnyanesh Zoting,
Cast: Shubham More, Vinayak Potdar, Priyanka Bose, Usha Naik, Bhalchandra Kadam
Music: G V Prakash Kumar
Release date: July 22, 2016
Runtime: 114 minutes
Rating: * * * ½
By: Keyur Seta
Director: Swapna Waghmare Joshi
Producer: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Writers: Shirish Latkar
Cast: Swapnil Joshi, Anjana Sukhani, Sneha Chavan, Jayant Wadkar
Music: Amitraaj and Nilesh Moharir
Genre: Murder mystery
Release date: May 27, 2016
Rating: * *
Review by: Keyur Seta
Director Swapna Waghmare Joshi's Laal Ishq is a murder mystery. But the biggest mystery lies in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s decision of venturing into Marathi cinema with this film, which is more like a stretched episode of the serial CID with a dash of lust sugarcoated as romance.
The film revolves around a theatre group. Yash Patwardhan (Swapnil Joshi), film and theatre superstar, and the rest of the crew arrives at a resort to rehearse for their upcoming play. The lead actress (Sneha Chavan) is obsessed and possessive with Yash. But Yash instantly falls for Janhavi (Anjana Sukhani), who works at the resort. She too develops the same feelings for him. But amid their romance, a murder takes place. Senior cop Randive (Kamlesh Sawant) arrives to investigate the case.
Laal Ishq is quite fast paced on most occasions. It was a good idea to keep the length restricted to less than two hours. But what makes the film watchable is Kamlesh Sawant’s witty and sarcastic act as a cunning investigating officer. His confrontational scenes with Swapnil Joshi keep the film watchable. But apart from these points, the film has nothing working for itself.
--The film is well shot. But that doesn’t help much as it is basically remains a murder mystery in an age old setting – group of people assembling at a venue and one of the gets killed. Doesn’t this instantly remind you of CID? Unfortunately, the film is handled in the same way as the Hindi serial.
-- The entire investigation is quite unintentionally hilarious. The two investigating officers aren’t even aware that the prime evidence material from the murder site isn’t to be picked up with bare hands. Never heard of gloves?
-- The absurdity of the investigation isn’t limited to this. It is seen the most with the way the mystery is solved. To say that it is unconvincing will be an understatement.
-- Yash looks at the girl and instantly falls for her without knowing her. That’s not love. That’s lust or infatuation at the most. The entire romance angle, if it can be called one, doesn’t gel with the film.
-- The guy doesn’t love his irritating co-star. But never tells her clearly. Why oh why?
-- Which sane theatre group would continue with the rehearsals even after their director is brutally murdered? In fact, they don’t even take a day to mourn his death. To add to this, the deceased was a mentor for Yash. Well, they just redefined professionalism!
-- The title is half justified. There is no ishq but there is a lot of laal, constantly reminding us about Bhansali’s association with the film.
-- A supporting character is constantly audio searching something on Google in almost each and every frame, even while having meals. Even primary school kids don’t behave this way.
-- The final mystery in the end, which is the most crucial part in a whodunit, completely lacks conviction. I can’t reveal more to avoid spoilers.
Swapnil Joshi’s performance is somewhat of a saving grace, although he is far from his best. Anjana Sukhani’s act just rises to an average level. Sneha Chavan is irritating to the core. Her poor characterization is to be blamed for this. The rest of the actors just fit the bill. The music is quite decent but the songs appear forced.
Overall: Laal Ishq is an immature murder mystery. Despite Swapnil Joshi’s presence, the film stands no chance at the box-office. The amazing run of Sairaat too will affect its collections.
Director: Nagraj Popatrao Manjule
Producers: Essel Vision and Aatpat Production
Writer: Nagraj Popatrao Manjule
Cast: Akash Thosar, Rinku Rajguru, Suresh Vishwakarma, Suraj Pawar, Chhaya Kadam
Runtime/ Length: 170 minutes
Rating: * * ½
Review by: Keyur Seta
Try imagining this – you are driving atop a steep mountain, which promises the most spectacular view. But your car breaks down some distance before the cliff. You somehow get it fixed and resume your journey. However, just before reaching the top, a sudden and shattering landslide occurs. This is how Nagraj Popatrao Manjule’s Sairat can be described.
In Bittergao village lives Prashant (Akash Thosar), a happy-go-lucky teenager hailing from a poor family of fishermen. He instantly falls for Archana (Rinku Rajguru). She is the daughter of the rich and influential politician. Their love becomes mutual and they soon realize they can’t stay without each other. But will their ‘caste’ barrier allow them to be together?
Sairat works well for a large majority of its duration. Despite it being another love story between a poor guy and a rich girl, it doesn’t appear redundant even a bit. Considering there have a number of such younger age romances in Marathi itself, it is a big achievement.
This became possible due to a revolutionary approach not only in storytelling but also in breaking stereotypes. It’s refreshing to see the girl riding a bullet and driving a tractor, showing aggression, staring non-stop at his guy, rescuing him during a fight and, most importantly, being the first one to propose. The first half has plenty of mass-entertaining moments. Manjule’s creative presentation too adds to the cherry.
Performances are a treat. Rinku Rajguru makes a spectacular debut. Apart from beautiful looks, she possesses confident acting skills as she displays contrasting emotions with ease. Akash Thosar also performs well in his debut flick. Chhaya Kadam is captivating in a supporting role. The film boasts good support from a host of supporting actors.
Ajay-Atul’s delightful music has a major share in the plus points. ‘Yad lagala,’ and the title song are the best of the lot. From the technicalities, DoP Sudhakar Yakkanti Reddy makes his presence felt throughout.
Now, coming to the reasons why the film doesn’t work as a whole. After around 30 minutes in the second half, it threatens to go downhill. Thankfully, proceedings are soon resurrected, only to be faced with the above-mentioned landslide. To put it bluntly, although the climax shocks you, it was annoying to see the story ending this way.
It made me ask – did I wait 170 long minutes to witness something like this? If the motto was to present something so hard-hitting, why venture into the masala, commercial entertainer zone during most parts? Was it to ensure heavy returns to the producer?
Overall: Sairat impresses for a large part of its duration but is let down by the climax. The film is receiving a super positive response and its leading actors too have become popular over the months. Hence, it will earn enormous collections at the box-office.
Director: Prasad Namjoshi
Producers: Flying God films
Writers: Prasad Namjoshi
Cast: Makasand Anaspure, Sandeep Pathak, Nandita Dhuri, Gauri Konge
Music: Kaushal Inamdar
Rating: * * *
Review By: Keyur Seta
Last 6-7 years have seen the emergence of a number of Marathi films that take place in the interiors of Maharashtra. What is good to see is that almost all such moves have turned out to be impressive. Although Prasad Namjoshi’s Ranga Patanga too falls in the good category, it doesn’t rise up to its potential.
The story takes place in a small drought-ridden village where Jhumman (Makarand Anaspure), a farmer, lives with his wife, Noor (Nandita Dhuri). Tragedy strikes him when his two beloved bullocks, Ranga and Patanga, go missing. Now, Jhumman must find them else his future is endangered. He receives utmost help from his best friend, Popat (Sandeep Pathak).
Ranga Patanga succeeds in its most important task of getting the audience involved in Jhumman’s journey and struggle from the very first scene. But the film also smartly underlines few other aspects – struggle for minority communities and minority appeasement, opportunism of the political class and the media and, most importantly, the meaning of true friendship, which transcends all man-made borders.
Ranga Patanga can also boast its technical brilliance. Amol Gole’s camerawork is top-notch, especially during wide angle shots. The subject demanded to show visuals of barren landscapes, which appear beautiful. The sequence where Jhumman and Popat’s long scooty ride is portrayed deserves special mention. The editing and background score aren’t far behind either. A couple of songs that play in the background suit the situations and are melodious.
But, as mentioned before, the film could have achieved much more. After an impressive first half, the proceedings become a drag during few occasions in the second half. In this period, the film also instantly brings back memories of the Hindi movie, Peepli Live. But what affects the film the most is the convenient climax, straight out of a typical Hindi film.
Also, the writers have felt no need to establish Jhumman’s emotional bond with his bullocks, which could have further helped gain audience’s sympathy for him. Although he and his wife keep asserting that they deeply love their cattle, one mustn’t forget that cinema is a visual storytelling medium.
Coming to the performances, Makarand Anaspure shows his talent and literally lives the character of Jhumman. However, on few occasions, his peculiar way of speaking doesn’t go well with a rural Muslim character. Nandita Dhuri (of Elizabeth Ekadashi fame) gives another impressive act. Sandeep Pathak is likable as Jhumman’s brother-like friend.
The actors playing journalist and police inspector Pathak do well too. The rest of the actors offer decent support.
Overall: Ranga Patanga is a well-shot saga that can be seen once. The film relies heavily on word-of-mouth to make a positive impact at the box-office.
Director: Sujay Sunil Dahake
Producers: Krishna Lulla
Writer: Sujay Sunil Dahake
Cast: Madan Deodhar, Ketaki Mategaonkar, Shivraj Waikar, Shivani Rangole, Ruturaj Shinde
Music: Hrishikesh – Saurabh – Jasraj
Rating: * * *
Review By: Keyur Seta
Director Sujay Sunil Dahake’s debut, Shala was about adolescent romance. His next, Ajoba, gave a strong statement against environmental degradation through the story of a leopard. Phuntroo, his newly-released film, falls in the science-fiction genre.
If you can deal with three hugely diverse topics in your first three films and that too with conviction, there is no doubt about your talent. However, when it comes to overall satisfaction, Phuntroo falls short of expectations. But that doesn’t take away its achievement of opening Marathi cinema’s account in the modern sci-fi genre.
Phuntroo takes place in an engineering college. The story revolves around Vira (Madan Deodhar), a geek obsessed with scientific innovations. He is smitten by his collage mate Anaya (Ketaki Mategaonkar), but doesn’t have the guts to pour out his feelings. Circumstances ensure that Vira lays his hands on an incomplete Artificial Intelligence experiment. As he gets involved in the project, his life starts changing.
It takes time for the viewer to adapt to Vira’s world due to the complexities of his character and the setting. Slowly but surely when you do get accustomed, the experience starts becoming pleasant. It is now that you realize Dahake’s mature handling of the subject, akin to his previous works.
The use of some subtle quirky humor is also praiseworthy. The Atheist Tea Stall, Hindutva Canteen, mention of real-life politicians and the FTII Chairman, are few things that make you laugh out loud effortlessly.
While it might be argued that the proceedings take time to get fully into the sci-fi mode, it works out well for it creates excitement and anticipation from the second half. However, it is in the latter part of the post-interval period that the film starts going downhill due to various reasons.
The creative liberty taken by Dahake is too much to ignore, with some important moments also lacking logic. What is also unforgivable is that Vira’s emotional dilemma isn’t explored much. Lastly, the climax doesn’t provide the kind of kick you expect from such a subject.
It would be unfair not to consider the technical department as a major plus point. The work of the VFX team is triumphant to say the least. The film wouldn’t have appealed without their contribution. But Archana Borhade’s artistic camerawork and Saket Kanetkar’s powerful background score aren’t behind either.
Like his previous two films, the filmmaker once again extracts convincing performances from his actors. Madan Deodhar is excellent as Vira. To play such a complex and difficult character is no mean task. Ketaki Mategaonkar puts forth her best act till date. She is effective as the robot Phuntroo too. Shivani Rangole, Shivraj Waikar and few others too chip in with good acts.
Overall: Phuntroo is an above-average saga that doesn’t live up to the expectations. It is more of an experiment. The film is given half a star extra for its technicalities. With good hype and famous faces in the lead, it is expected to score well at the box-office in the first week. But its chances don’t appear positive in the long run.
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.