By: Keyur Seta
Hospital scenes in movies usually evoke worry and fright. At times, miracle and hope also find their place but only after a few sequences of tension. But Rajesh Mapuskar’s Marathi movie, Ventilator is a huge exception. It is a heartwarming, light-hearted affair despite the fact that it revolves around a patient who is in coma.
Ventilator revolves around Gajanan kaka, a senior citizen who is admitted in the I.C.U due to brain hemorrhage. His nephew Raja (Ashutosh Gowariker), a filmmaker, aborts an important event to be there for him. Gajanan’s son, Prasanna (Jitendra Joshi) is a member of a political party. He has a grudge against his father. Raja too isn’t happy with his dad (Satish Alekar). As the news of Gajanan’s health spreads, his relatives from within and outside city gather in the hospital. What will happen to Gajanan?
In his debut Hindi film, Ferrari Ki Sawari (2012), Mapuskar showed that he is a true protégé of Rajkumar Hirani. He proves it further with Ventilator. The film falls in the same slice-of-life genre that brings laughter with few doses of emotions. However, neither the 2012 film nor this one bears any resemblance with any of Hirani’s films.
Ventilator owes most of its goodness to the writing. To weave sub-plots related to such large number of characters with the basic story while giving proper screen time to each one can is a mammoth achievement. On top of that, the flow is maintained throughout. Apart from the coin episode, none of the incidents seem out of place.
Along with providing entertainment, a lot of underlying questions are brought to the forefront. But instead of speaking them out, the narrative uses subtle techniques of putting forth the points. Although there is plenty of scope for melodrama, Mapuskar had stayed miles away from making it a daily soap affair. The very last frame of the film deserves special mention for its creativity.
But despite these plus points, Ventilator falls short of being much more. The biggest problem here is the length. For a story that revolves only around one setting, 130 minutes is too long. The runtime is felt the most during the pre-climax moments.
As almost the entire film takes place indoors (in a hospital), there wasn’t much scope for the cinematographer, Savita Singh. But she still manages to display her creativity. Coming to Rohan-Rohan’s music, the Ganpati song, ‘Ya Re Ya Sare Ya’ is heartwarming while ‘Baba’ is profound.
The film has a huge line-up of actors. The last time this happened in a Marathi movie might be in Amol Palekar’s We Are On – Houn Jaun Dya (2013). [No, I am not indulging in the criminal activity of comparing both the films.] Ashutosh Gowariker suits his character. But his character sketch is very similar to his real self. I didn’t have a problem with that though.
Jitendra Joshi is by far the best of the lot. He brings out various emotions flawlessly. Satish Alekar, as Gowariker’s father, also puts his right foot forward. There is a long list of actors that offer sincere support – Sukanya Kulkarni Mone, Usha Nadkarni, Nikhil Ratnaparkhi, Sulbha Arya, Viju Khote, Achyut Potdar, etc.
Namrata Awate Sambherao gets more than noticed for her excellent portrayal of a cunning lady. Boman Irani is super impactful in a cameo while Priyanka Chopra is decent. The actor who plays an octogenarian is truly adorable!
Overall: Ventilator is a heartwarming, light-hearted family film. It stands a good chance of earning good to decent collections at the box-office.
Rating: * * * ½
Director: Rajesh Mapuskar
Producers: Priyanka Chopra and Madhu Chopra
Writer: Rajesh Mapuskar
Cast: Ashutosh Gowariker, Jitendra Joshi, Satish Alekar, Sukanya Kulkarni Mone, Sulbha Arya, Usha Nadkarni
Release date: November 4, 2016
Runtime: 130 minutes