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.