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.