The Common Man Speaks

8Feb/190

Bhaai: Vyakti Kee Valli Part 2 Review

Director Mahesh Manjrekar’s Bhaai: Vyakti Kee Valli, the biopic on the legendary artist Purushottam Laxman Deshpande aka Pu La Deshpande, is released in two parts in a span of about a month. It is not often that you see this in India. Ram Gopal Varma’s Rakht Charitra (2011) and Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs Of Wasseypur (2012) are the only recent names to emerge in memory.

The Purvardha or the first part concentrated on the happy-go-lucky Deshpande’s (Sagar Deshmukh) commencement as a literary figure, theatre personality, music composer and his second marriage with Sunita Bai (Iravati Harshe).

The Uttarardha or the second part is about the events that take place in his life after he becomes not only an established artist but also an icon of Maharashtra. Hence, aspects like his social work (with Baba Amte) and political stints also get a mention here.

To put it simply, the second part of Bhaai continues the good work of its predecessor. This doesn’t come as a surprise after having enjoyed the first part. The journey picks up from the time Deshpande starts his one act play Batatyachi Chaal, which later goes onto become historic.

Just like the first part, we are presented with a compilation of important and relevant events revolving around the protagonist in a thoroughly light-hearted manner. Of course, the second part has more emotional moments, especially since it covers Deshpande’s ailing health that led to his death. But the feel and mood remains the same.

In an important sequence, fellow literary great Vijay Tendulkar is seen urging Deshpande to start mirroring the stark realities of society in his work. But he politely refuses saying he just wants to make people happy. This ideology of his is seen in the narrative of the film again.

Bhaai: Vyakti Kee Valli P L Deshpande

Deshpande’s relationship with his close ones is one of the highlights of the film. His unusual yet strong bond with his wife Sunita is one of the most sensible portrayals of a married couple in a long time. His friendship with fellow artists like G D Madgulkar, Vasant Kanetkar, Bhimsen Joshi and Kumargandharva reaches another level during the classical mehfil. The opening credits song ‘Indrayani Kathi,’ written by Deshpande and sung by Joshi, is also a pleasure to the ears.

Also read: Bhaai: Vyakti Kee Valli Part 1 Review

The film also touches the sensitive political side of Pu La’s story. After supporting the Janata Party during its opposition to the Emergency, Deshpande warns of speaking against them after they gain power in case they turn out to be the same as the previous government. Later, Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray (Sarang Sathaye) gets offended when Pu La criticizes one of his statements despite accepting an award from his government.

The execution of the aforementioned incidents is sensible and mature and at the same time doesn’t let the film move out of the entertaining zone.

One might argue or feel that any story should have a definite aim for the protagonist, which is missing here. But such conventional storytelling isn’t possible in this story simply because Pu La never planned anything in life and just went with the flow, one incident at a time.

The narrative does threaten to suffer at one point in the second half, especially when the character Barkya (Girish Kulkarni) turns up and displays his antics. This is the only questionable moment in the film.

The main cast continues its good work from the first part. Sagar Deshmukh shows the same consistency while exploring the latter period of Deshpande’s life. He once again thoroughly lives the character. The same goes for Iravati Harshe’s mature and high quality act as his wife.

Shubhangi Damle also gets a good amount of footage as the older Sunita Bai and she is phenomenal. Vijay Kenkre also does justice to the older Deshpande. Sarang Sathaye stays firm in your memory with his convincing act as Thackeray despite having just two scenes.

Overall: Bhaai: Vyakti Kee Valli Purvardha (Part 2) gives an impressive end to the life story of one of Maharashtra’s most loved personalities.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Mahesh Manjrekar

Producers: Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Mahesh Manjrekar Movies

Writers: Ganesh Matkari and Ratnakar Matkari

Cast: Sagar Deshmukh, Iravati Harshe, Shubhangi Damle, Vijay Kenkre

Music: Ajit Parab

Genre: Biopic/ Drama

Duration: 130 minutes

27Jan/190

Does Thackeray hint at Shiv Sena’s changing relationship with Congress?

Director Abhijit Panse’s Thackeray, the biopic on the late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, is garnering various reactions from the audience and critics. But here is an attempt to read between the lines of the film’s content with retrospect to the current political stand of Shiv Sena.

Thackeray shows the supremo’s journey from his early days as a cartoonist. From that time itself he was a staunch opponent of the Congress. As an artist and a politician, Thackeray was never known to mince his words or sketches against anyone, including Congress and its leaders.

But surprisingly, the movie doesn’t feature Thackeray’s hatred for Congress through any of his speeches or conversations. Of course, Shiv Sena’s protest against the then deputy Prime Minister Morarji Desai gets a good footage. But that was a key incident, so that couldn’t have been skipped. Other than that, Thackeray isn’t shown speaking or acting against Congress.

The 1995 Maharashtra Assembly Elections were the first time that Shiv Sena came to power through a coalition with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The mammoth task of the coalition was to defeat Congress for the first time. So, it is obvious that speaking against your main opponent becomes your important task.

But that is not shown in Thackeray. Surprisingly, Shiv Sena’s road to the 1995 State Elections, which was their first major success, is hardly given any importance. Without showing any moment of their journey till the results, we are abruptly shown a scene of Shiv Sena workers celebrating the victory.

One of the highlights of Thackeray’s career was his fiery speeches at Shivaji Park, which were keenly awaited by his supporters as well as opponents. But strangely, the film doesn’t feature any of his speeches. Most of his speeches always targeted Congress. Was this the reason to omit it?

One might argue that the makers wanted to play safe. But it is not possible to buy this argument for a film that openly speaks about the party’s role in the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.

Now, let us see why such soft stand against Congress gets more interesting. Since recent times, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who is also the film’s producer and story writer, has been showering praises at Congress, the Gandhi family and its President Rahul Gandhi, of all people.

Thackeray movie poster

Less than a week ago, Raut said, “Rahul Gandhi has always been mocked. But we cannot forget the sacrifices made by the Gandhi family for the country. If you do not agree with his policies, then criticise him, but do not make personal attacks. Personally, I am against this type of politics. He has never given false promises.” (Read the whole statement HERE)

Priyanka Gandhi’s decision to enter active politics few days ago met with sarcastic jibes from the opposition. But Raut had other views. Speaking about the decision, he said, “It’s a good decision by Rahul Gandhi. The people of India have always had a relationship with the Gandhi family. Indira Gandhi's legacy will always remain strong in this country, Congress will benefit from this.” (Read the whole statement HERE).

The praise for Rahul started last year when Congress lost the Gujarat state elections to BJP after giving a tough fight. Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamna hailed Rahul for being ‘Baazigar’ (indicating that he lost elections but won hearts). These are just few examples though.

For those not in the know, Shiv Sena has been throwing a volley of attacks against BJP, their ally both in state and centre, in recent years. In words one would only use for the opponents.

I have come across people and articles claiming that it was Congress that provided massive secret support to Shiv Sena during its early days so that the latter would help wipe out communists from Mumbai (then Bombay). But Shiv Sena leaders have never been comfortable with this question.

However, Thackeray, the film, shows no qualms in showing this relationship between Shiv Sena and Congress.

So, is the party paying back to the Congress for their initial help going by the recent heavy praise? Or is it just to score brownie points against your ally-cum-enemy BJP? And did we see a glimpse of it in the movie?

By: Keyur Seta

6Jan/191

Bhaai: Vyakti Ki Valli Review – Delightful biopic on P L Deshpande

The end of last year saw an impressive biopic on Marathi theatre’s superstar Kashinath Ghanekar in the form of Ani… Dr Kashinath Ghanekar (2018). Less than two months later, the life of Purushottam Laxman Deshpande, one of Maharashtra’s most loved personalities, is portrayed on screen through Mahesh Manjrekar’s Bhaai: Vyakti Ki Valli.

Although both films are about the life of a yesteryear artist from Maharashtra, they are hugely different simply because of the vast dissimilarities between the two personalities.

Bhaai: Vyakti Ki Valli is the first of the two part films that traces the life of Purushottam Laxman Deshpande aka Pu La Deshpande aka Bhaai. Born in 1919, he (Sagar Deshmukh) was a multi-talented personality. Although he was mostly known as a legendary humourist, he also excelled as a music composer, singer, theatre and film actor and script writer. Despite becoming a lawyer, Deshpande was always inclined towards music, theatre and literature.

He marries Sundar (Mrunmayee Deshpande) as his late father (Sachin Khedekar) had promised her father of the same. Unfortunately, she dies just a week after their marriage. He then finds love in the school teacher Sunita Thakur (Iravati Harshe) while being employed in the same school. How Deshpande follows his dreams with Sunita’s support forms the rest of the film.

Bhaai focuses on Pu La’s personal life (maybe the second part will feature more on his career). It follows a light-hearted and humorous method of storytelling, which is a reflection of Pu La’s character and literary works. His real-life incidents are interesting enough to be told in a movie form in 119 minutes.

During this duration, important personalities and incidents are recreated albeit with creative liberty. It is a delight to see the likes of Bhimsen Joshi (Ajay Purkar), G D Madgulkar (Sagar Talshikar), Kumar Gandharva (Swanand Kirkire) and Vasantrao Deshpande (Padmanabh Bind) together with Deshpande in the golden era. But one appearance that takes you by pleasant surprise is the child version of Bal Thackeray.

Bhai P L Deshpande biopic

This is a film where there is a lot of onus on the writing. Ganesh Matkari’s screenplay is fast paced and well-knitted. You get no time to think. Ratnakar Matkari has ensured that the dialogues are not only humorous but they play a role in making the character of Pu La believable.

Bhaai is very much in the Harishchandrachi Factory (2010) zone. That film was also a light-hearted affair about a late celebrated artist (Dadasaheb Phalke). The major difference is that the 2010 movie only focussed on Phalke’s work-related goal (to make India’s first motion picture), which also provided with conflict.  

This clearly isn’t the case with Bhaai. In fact, it won’t be wrong to state that the film challenges conventional storytelling by not aiming at any specific goal of the protagonist and not relying on any major conflict (although there are a few conflict elements) to keep you hooked. The effect of the content is ably complemented by Manjrekar’s presentation, which is way different from his other films.

However, the simplistic mood should have been done away during the climax. It would have been better if the first part had ended with some dramatic moment instead of a song. Nevertheless the incredible track ‘Kanada Raja Pandharicha’ does ensure that you move out with a smile.

Despite the content, a lot relied on Sagar Deshmukh’s performance as Pu La in creating the overall effect. To put it simply, he has literally lived the happy-go-lucky character of the late great. He makes sure that he appears likeable even when he acts being immature or a bit irresponsible.

Iravati Harshe has been giving commendable performances in the last few years. She has continued her good work here too by fitting in perfectly as an independent woman. The film has quality supporting acts and cameos from a lot list of actors including Ashwini Giri, Purkar, Talshikar, Bind, Kirkire, Sachin Khedekar, Hrishikesh Joshi, Mrunmayee Deshpande and others.

Overall: Bhaai: Vyakti Ki Valli Purvardh (Part 1) is a biopic that will leave you delighted even in case you don’t know anything about Pu La Deshpande.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Mahesh Manjrekar

Producers: Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Mahesh Manjrekar Movies

Writers: Ganesh Matkari and Ratnakar Matkari

Cast: Sagar Deshmukh, Iravati Harshe, Ashwini Giri

Music: Ajit Parab

Genre: Biopic/ Drama

Duration: 119 minutes

5Dec/180

Mumbai Pune Mumbai 3 box office: How much will Swapnil-Mukta starrer earn?

The Marathi movie Mumbai Pune Mumbai 3 is expected to earn well at the box office. Directed by Satish Rajwade, this is the third film in the franchise starring Swapnil Joshi and Mukta Barve. It is slated to release on 7 December.

Mumbai Pune Mumbai (2010) became a runaway hit and the jodi of Swapnil and Mukta became one of the most loved in Marathi cinema. Naturally, the second film Mumbai Pune Mumbai 2 (2015) was made.

The film not only clashed with Salman Khan’s biggie Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015) on Diwali but also with another multistarrer Marathi film Katyar Kaljat Ghusli (2015). But despite that, it became a hit, along with the other two films as well. It was a rare occasion when three big films became successful at the box office despite each other's presence.

The success of the first two films speaks volumes about the brand Mumbai Pune Mumbai. Needless to say, there is immense excitement for Mumbai Pune Mumbai 3. The film is surely expected to get a big opening at the box office in the first weekend, irrespective of the content.

Mumbai Pune Mumbai 3 poster

If the content receives thumbs up from the audience, nothing will be able to stop the film from being a superhit. God forbid if the content doesn’t live up to the expectations, MPM 3 will still have a fair chance of becoming a hit.

Also read: Did Ani... Dr Kashinath Ghanekar succeed only because Thugs Of Hindostan failed?

It is difficult to predict the exact number Mumbai Pune Mumbai 3 will earn at the box office. But roughly it is expected to make around Rs 15 crore at the box office in the first 10 days provided the film doesn’t receive a thumbs down for its content.

The good thing for the film is that the next big Hindi film Zero will be releasing on 21 December. Riteish Deshmukh starrer Mauli will be releasing on 14 December. This might pose some challenge to MPM 3.

If everything does fall in place for MPM 3, it will be another success for Marathi cinema in this year in a short duration after Ani... Dr Kashinath Ghanekar, Naal and Mulshi Pattern.

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

2Oct/180

Home Sweet Home: To choose between Mumbai and Bombay

Hrishikesh Joshi’s Marathi movie Home Sweet Home portrays a conflict between an aged couple Shyamal (Reema Lagoo) and Vidyadhar Mahajan (Mohan Joshi). They stay in Dadar, the central hub of Mumbai, where real estate prices have surged higher than the city’s iconic Rajabai Tower.

Shyamal is eager to sell off their house for a colossal amount of over Rs 3 crore and migrate to a place further. The price of the new flat is much lesser than Rs 3 crore, which meant that they would also get to lay their hands on a big sum. Vidyadhar, however, is against the idea. He is emotionally attached to not only the house but also the locality.

The two characters appeared like many others I have witnessed all my life while staying in the same area. There are a lot of Shyamals religiously visiting the famous Swami Samartha math. At the same time, you can spot innumerable Vidyadhars doing early morning Yoga unconvincingly. Their everyday sarcastic conflicts are replicas of what was shown between the couple.

Home Sweet Home Marathi movieThe character of the estate agent, which is played by Joshi himself, reminded me of my grandmother’s conversations with her fellow estate agent friends. I have grown up witnessing the practice of a ‘party’ inspecting a prospective flat and the nervous undertones of the situation.

Home Sweet Home, obviously, seems like a personal story between two individuals. But it goes much deeper. The film actually portrays the current state of Mumbai where people residing in prime areas like Dadar are compelled to move to suburbs for ‘better’ standards of living.

Shyamal and Vidyadhar symbolize the two sides of the city right now. While some areas have rapidly built skyscrapers where every service available at your fingertips, there are still others that have retained the old Bombay charm.

The thought process of the two individuals represents two types of Mumbaikars currently. One wanting to be practical and move on with development, while the other clinging onto traditions and roots. In other words, it’s a conflict between Mumbai and Bombay. The proverb, ‘Mumbai is a name, Bombay is an emotion,’ which is viral on social media, is felt here throughout.

Before Home Sweet Home, Mahesh Bhatt’s Saaransh (1984) provided such local appeal on celluloid. In fact, the characters of Home Sweet Home remind you of characters of the Anupam Kher and Rohini Hattangadi starrer.

Also read: Manto released in the week when freedom of expression succumbed to a new low

Saaransh was about an aged couple staying alone and both having conflicting views. They had a female paying guest whose modern ways bothered them. The story also took place in the same locality. [Not implying that both films are similar in any way]

Coming back to the dilemma, I have seen a lot of families either choosing the mind or heart when faced with such a situation. My family was faced with the same dilemma for years. The choice was finally made this year. We did some adjustments in the house and went with the heart.

By: Keyur Seta

18Feb/182

Gulabjaam (Marathi Movie) Review

Sachin Kundalkar is known for narrating modern stories rooted in traditionalism. He has, especially, maintained this balance in his last three efforts, Happy Journey (2014), Rajwade And Sons (2015) and Vazandar (2016).

He has done the same with Gulabjaam. But this time, he has also bettered his own recipe (which was already pretty good) several notches higher resulting in one of the most delicious dishes one would taste in a long time.

Gulabjaam is about Aditya Naik’s (Siddharth Chandekar) struggle to learn Marathi cuisine in order to open a restaurant in London, where he is settled. He quits his high paying job and secretly visits Pune for his mission. After tasting food from a lunch box, especially gulabjaam, he deeply gets reminded of the food cooked by his mother.

After learning that the lunch box was prepared by Radha Agarkar (Sonali Kulkarni), he instantly decides to learn cooking from her. However, he realizes that the lady is not only a recluse but also rude who doesn’t like anybody’s presence around her. Will Aditya succeed in his mission? Why is Radha the way she is?

Gulabjaam posterIt is rare to see food or cooking being a catalyst to connect two characters in an Indian film.  But it is one of the most unusual and complex relationship to deal with for the writer and director. This is not just because Radha and Aditya are from different age groups and worlds. Their personal journey and diverse natures makes it all the more unlikely for them to form a bond.

To achieve this convincingly and that too with constant humour is the biggest masterstroke here. Plus, throughout the film their relationship remains undefined, which makes it more charming. We don’t often get to see strong and deep relationships that are kept unnamed.

Like Kundalkar’s previous works, Gulabjaam is more like a smooth journey rather than merely a story. You don’t realize when a quirky encounter of two diverse human beings transforms into a tale of deep personal sufferings inspite of the funny and light-hearted mood. The climax might not be ideal for some. But it is certainly garnished with the hope of inner wounds getting healed someday.

The only flaw is the incident of Radha realizing that Aditya has stealthily sneaked into her house and stolen food. One would expect her to scream but she doesn’t. However, the effect of the consequence of this scene makes you ignore it.

Kundalkar has also continued his legacy of getting the technical aspects right. There are numerous moments where one can notice cinematographer Milind Jog’s craft. The background score is unconventional and effective. It follows the important rule of not making the audience realize about its arrival and departure in a scene. The editing also deserves similar praise.

The nature of Radha’s character demanded her home to appear as if it is stuck in a period long gone by. This is achieved perfectly by the art director Poorva Pandit Bhujbal. It would be unfair not to mention food stylists Sayali Rajadhyaksha and Shweta Bapat for their work plays a big role in adding visual quality to the subject.

Sonali Kulkarni and Siddharth Chandekar’s characters are deep and vulnerable, which makes them realistic. But they appear deeply relatable only because of their respective performances. Kulkarni’s act can only be called masterful. She gets the diverse facets like agony and homour with utmost perfection.

With her constant presence, Chandekar might not appear as impressive. But he certainly gets his act of a boyish man constantly trying to move out of his trapped world quite right. Madhura Deshpande, the actors playing Popat and the old lady also impress in the opportunity they get.

Rating: 4.5/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Sachin Kundalkar

Writers: Sachin Kundalkar and Tejas Modak

Producers: Zee Studios and Golden Gate Motion Pictures

Cast: Sonali Kulkarni, Siddharth Chandekar

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 126 minutes

Release date: 16 February 2018

8Oct/170

Kaasav (Marathi Movie) Review

When I saw director Makaran Mane’s Ringan: The Quest, which released earlier this year, I felt it would be almost impossible for any Marathi movie to match up to this film in 2017, considering the kind of Marathi films made this year.

But I am too glad to have been proved wrong by Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar’s Kaasav. Although the subject deals with psychological disorders, the film provides a thoroughly beautiful feeling through various deep meanings.

Kaasav revolves around a depressed and disturbed youngster (Alok Rajwade), who is literally loitering on the streets of Mumbai. He attempts ending his life but is saved by concerned people. He then aimlessly boards a tempo that is going to Konkan. Janaki (Iravati Harshe), a social worker and a kind soul, finds him in a semi-conscious and ill state at a shop on the highway.

She decides to look after him at her sea facing apartment despite him being a complete stranger. Janaki works for the welfare of sea turtles. Despite her constant efforts, the young guy doesn’t co-operate and throws tantrums. In fact, he doesn’t even reveal his name. Who is he and what is him aim in life? Janaki calls him Niche.

The director duo succeeded in narrating a heartwarming tale out of a story based on a mental condition in their last film Astu: So Be It (2016). They raise their bar even higher through Kaasav.

Kaasav movieThe film starts off as a serious or somewhat disturbing tale of a person’s psychotic behavior. But the narrative gradually brings in newer layers about various human aspects without making it sound preachy. To put it simply, it says a lot without saying much.

The film’s portrayal of loneliness is completely relatable to people from today’s era. For example, a character states that, these days, despite having hundreds of contacts in their phones, some people are still lonely.

What makes the film reach bigger heights is the deep meaning behind the title. The character of Niche resembles land and sea turtle on different occasions. The manner in which the sea turtle analogy is established makes you applaud the creativity and its execution.

In addition to the top-notch content, the icing on the cake is the beautiful location of Konkan, which is artistically captured by DoP Dhananjay Kulkarni, and the two soulful songs.

A slight drawback here is that the back story of Janaki is hardly narrated. This would have helped in knowing her more and having sympathy for her. But, as mentioned before, it is only a slight drawback.

Kaasav is blessed with utterly realistic performances. Alok Rajwade plays the suicidal and disturbed character of Niche with flawlessness. His slow transformation also displays his raw talent.

Iravati Harshe makes terrific use of the opportunity to play a deeply caring individual who is battling her own demons. It is difficult to find people in Janaki in today’s era. But her act provides hope that it is certainly not impossible.

Kishor Kadam, as Harshe’s servant, once again displays his dedication. In the role of Harshe’s mentor, Mohan Agashe does what was required. Devika Daftardar, who is a favourite of these filmmakers, leaves a mark despite playing a cameo. The boy who played Rajwade’s friend and the one who donned the role of the helper at Harshe’s place are also praiseworthy.

Overall: Kaasav is a deeply moving saga that leaves you super impressed. This one is easily one of the best Marathi films of the last few years. Director duo of Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar has once again given a winner.

Special note: It is shocking that a film of this caliber has got just ONE show in the entire city of Mumbai. More so since it has won the National Award for Best Film. The makers have assured that the shows would be increased in the coming days. Fingers crossed!

Rating: 4.5/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Directors: Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar

Producers: Mohan Agashe, Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar

Writers: Sumitra Bhave

Cast: Alok Rajwade, Iravati Harshe, Kishor Kadam, Mohan Agashe, Devika Daftardar

Music: Saket Kanetkar

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 104 minutes

15Jul/172

Lapachhapi (Marathi Movie) Review

The biggest aim of a horror film is simple. It has to scare the audience. But this simple aim has been hardly fulfilled by Marathi and Hindi cinema. The former hasn’t been making horror films. Bollywood, on the other hand, regularly explores this genre but hardly provides a convincing film.

Debutant director Vishal Furia’s Lapachhapi fills the much needed void not only through the content but also the technical departments. Finally, we have an impressive horror film!

Lapachhapi is about a couple, Tushar (Vikram Gaikwad) and his pregnant wife Neha (Pooja Sawant). They escape to their driver’s native place after Tushar gets beaten up for not being able to repay his creditors. It’s a secluded village scattered around sugarcane fields.

Lapachhapi Marathi movieThe scary atmosphere is enough to ring an alarm bell inside Neha’s head. But Tushar assures her that there’s nothing to worry. The driver’s wife Tulsa’s (Usha Naik) warm hospitality diverts her mind but not for long. At the same time, we are also told the story of a pregnant woman who was forced to abort her unborn child.

Lapachhapi succeeds in taking the audience to a world where creepiness exists in a natural way. The location over here is an altogether different character that brings in a scary feeling throughout. The film has a smooth-flowing screenplay that divulges the tale in a gradual way.

The major reason for the chills is the contemporary manner of filming. It is impressive to see how cinematography (Chandan Kowli) is used to create jump-scare moments which are simply pleasurable! The same purpose is achieved by the editing too. The blackening of the screen abruptly and the smart use of sounds add to the scariness. Thankfully, the film steers clear of using loud noises and screams to create forceful horror.

And who would have thought of using a lullaby to induce horror? The song, sung by Nandini Borkar, is a sweet number with no music. So, how it creates a frightening feeling is something that can be experienced than explained. Its use should have been limited in the second half though.

There are points, however, that stop the film from achieving bigger heights. The main issue here is the lack of proper conviction in the back story, although the message driven out of it is important. On some occasions in the second half, the narrative becomes overindulgent. A conversation between the lead couple in the first half is a slight giveaway of the hidden issue. The final scene, although impressive, is too convenient.

The performances also complement the genre. This act might be the turning point in Pooja Sawant’s career. She got a chance to play a challenging lead character and she has made good use of it. But the effect wouldn’t have been this high without Usha Naik’s act. She shows sympathy and anger with remarkable ease.

Although Vikram Gaikwad isn’t present throughout, he is appealing. Dhanashree Khandar gives a fine act without uttering a word.

Overall: Lapachhapi fills the void of horror movies in Marathi cinema and also for the audience in Maharashtra that has relied on Bollywood for this genre of films.

Rating: 3/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Vishal Furia

Producers: Wild Elephants Motion Picture and Midas Touch Movies Production

Writers: Vishal Furia and Vishal Kapoor

Cast: Pooja Sawant, Usha Naik, Vikram Gaikwad, Dhanashree Khandar

Genre: Horror

Runtime: 111 minutes