Kaasav (Turtle in English) is the new Marathi film, the Golden Lotus winner at the National Awards. It is directed by Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar, the duo has directed many films together but it is the third film after Devrai (2004) and Astu (2015) which focuses on the physical/mental health issues. This film subtly potrays the crux of the films Taare Zameen Par (2017) and Dear Zindagi (2016).
The story of Kaasav starts with the guy named Manav/Niche (Aalok Rajwade) who is in the state of despondency and depression; ran from the hospital after attempting a suicide. The reason behind his mental illness is never shown clearly in the film, but the shot of him traversing through his contact list depicts that it might be a heartbreak in a relationship. Then the story introduces us to another character Janki (Iravati Harshe), a divorcee, separated from her family which is in the US, facing her own demons of depression and recovering from them. She, vulnerable to panic attacks, to recover from her state of mind and to find the redemption starts contributing to a turtle conservation project with the social worker Dattabhau (Dr. Mohan Agashe). Janki while traveling to Konkan with her driver Yadu (Kishore Kadam) finds him collapsed on the roadside, and take him to her house. Rest of the film is the heartwarming story of Patience of Janki in helping Manav selflessly in recovering from his depression & Acceptance of Manav about life and how beautiful it is if we wish to see which eventually let us find the meaning of life.
The story also talks about the turtle conservation project and educate the audience about many aspects of it. Although, that every aspect can be connected really well with the story of two lead characters metaphorically. There are one or many meanings for every act of the story. The very much highlighted metaphor is that the thickness of depression of the person can be as thick as that of turtle’s shell, but selfless acts, proper care, and love, with behavioral and environmental changes can bring out best from them. Rather drowning in the melodrama the film cleverly gives what is expected. The spine of the movie is the journey and transformation of Manav (the name itself depicts human/man) from his one state of mind to other, which is portrayed very beautifully and convincing at the same time.
The breathtaking visuals of the beauty of Konkan and the reactions of the characters are the soul of this film. The performance of Iravati is flawless and to the point. The role of Aalok as a depressed person is totally justifying, he doesn’t talk much most of the times, but his eyes and expressions are very well situated. Dr. Mohan Agashe, a psychiatrist himself, having a guest appearance role, justifies every frame he is in. Parshu (Omkar Gadhi), a local kid working at a tea shop really needs appreciation.
Verdict : Worth a watch for every type of movie genre lovers and deep thinkers. Go and find the meaning of life.
Rating : 4/5