Anandi Gopal (2019) – Movie Review

Extraordinary story of an ordinary couple.

Anandi Gopal is a biographical period drama Marathi film written by Karan Shrikant Sharma, and directed by Sameer Vidwans.

The film is a biopic of Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi, also referred to as the first lady doctor of India. Originally named Yamuna (before marriage), Anandi was born and raised in Kalyan, Mumbai. In 1874, As per the practice of that time, Anandi (Bhagyashree Milind ) was married at the age of nine to Gopalrao Joshi (Lalit Prabhakar), a stubborn widower, who was almost twenty years older than her. Even at that time, Gopalrao was a progressive thinker about supporting education for women. And before getting married to Anandi, the same condition he puts forward that his wife would get educated and would go to medical school. It is the rebellious and extraordinary tale of an ordinary couple of becoming victorious against all odds. Gopalrao’s consistent support and Anandi’s focus and determination for becoming the India’s first lady doctor form the rest of the film.

This film can be stated as the mother of all feminist stories ever told on-screen. The film has a really compelling and wonderful story to tell. The direction and screenplay of the film do its job of keeping the audience engaged with stunning imagery and vibrant colors. At first, I thought that what this film could have to show. But believe me, the film has dragged me completely into it from start till the end. The film’s story is very simple but has been told in a really fascinating way, with its even more beautiful and layered characters.

It feels good to watch when a film is able to deep dive into its characters and is able to convey the same to the audience. At some points, the film seems to have become slower, but which is completely fine, because at that moment it is important to show the impact of some specific situations on those characters. And it gives time for characters to breathe and gives the space for understanding their particular behavior.

Verdict : It is a must-watch film, for its content and beautiful storytelling.

Rating : 4.3/5

Check the trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAS_hUTOJdY

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Ani… Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar (2018) – Movie Review

Here comes the Superstar

Ani… Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar is a Marathi biographical drama film directed by Abhijeet Deshpande. This film follows through the ups and downs of the life of legendary Marathi play and film actor Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar. The film is based on a biography titled “Nath Ha Maza” written by his second wife Kanchan Ghanekar.

The film sets in the golden era of Marathi play and film industry, specifically from 1960 to 1986. The film depicts the incredible journey of a dental surgeon and renowned stage actor Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar (Subodh Bhave) to the peak of fame, and events that shaken his personal and professional life, and which has ultimately brought him down. Kashinath was said to be the first superstar of the Marathi stage with a lot of glamour, and he was the highest paid star from the years 1960 to 1980 (from wiki).

The film which is based on a biography has to put efforts on deciding what parts it needs to focus on, and what it should not. And this film does this thing flawlessly, it focusses on the most important moments in the lead character’s life. The defining moments in Kashinath’s life are very well represented on screen, one of which is when he gets the role of Sambhaji in the play “Raigadhala Jevha Jaag Yete” (When Raigad awakens), and which made him a popular actor ever since. The arc of Kashinath’s life has been represented in such a beautiful way that even when the film ends and names start rolling on a screen you’ll definitely crave for a little more of it.

This film is definitely the nostalgic and surprising treat for the people who have actually witnessed this era. Along with Kashinath Ghanekar, the characters like Vasant Kanetkar (Anand Ingle), Balaji Pendarkar (Mohan Joshi), Sulochana Didi (Sonali Kulkarni), Prabhakar Panshikar (Prasad Oak), Master Dattaram (Suhas Palshikar), and Dr. Shriram Lagoo (Sumeet Raghvan) gets alive on screen one after the other. And seeing all these pioneers of Marathi film industry on screen is a just mesmerizing experience. A cold war between Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar and his rival Dr. Shriram Lagoo is a sheer fun to watch.

Each and every cast member of the film has delivered the solid and compelling performances. Dialogues and conversations between characters give more depth to them. The production design of the film is impressive, the recreated set pieces can be identified but never creates the distraction. As the film goes on, it feels choppy in some places and gets a bit slow, but the surprising series of events and the addition of new characters keep the film alive.

Verdict : Language and content-wise it is a regional film but for the solid script and the powerful performances it’s a worth watch.

Rating : 4/5

Check the trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ3HgG5eC9c

Bucket List (2018) – Movie Review

A meaning of Life

Bucket List is a Marathi language comedy-drama film directed by Tejas Prabha Vijay Deoskar. The film stars Madhuri Dixit in a lead role in her Marathi debut, along with Renuka Shahane and Sumeet Raghavan.

At the very start of the film Madhura (Madhuri Dixit), an ideal housewife, who is all dedicated towards her family goes through a heart transplant operation. Not so long into a film, Madhura learns about her deceased teenage heart donor Sai. Madhura, being under a burden of favor and her obsession towards the donor, gets in touch with Sai’s family and friends, and that’s where she gets to know about Sai’s incomplete bucket list. Now, to pay her gratitude towards Sai’s kind act of organ donation, Madhura takes the initiative to complete the bucket list. Rest of the film depicts Madhura’s unforgettable and life-changing journey of self-discovery and redemption.

The film has a really fresh plot and had a potential to be one of the best motivational films, at least a trailer had suggested the same, but in actual execution, it has failed miserably. The highlight of this film is a debut appearance of Madhuri Dixit in a lead role, every time she comes on screen, it’s just refreshing, being a renowned actress her performance is also good, but her struggle of talking in Marathi can be clearly seen. The philosophy about life which makers want to discuss is not conveyed properly, even some of the moments which were supposed to be comic but failed to do so. At some points, the film becomes unnecessarily an overdose of emotions. Even for small roles, popular actors are cast, which is totally worthless. So the sole reason to watch this film is Madhuri Dixit.

Verdict : If you are a Madhuri Dixit fan, then only go for it. Nothing special as such, otherwise John Abraham’s Parmanu: The story of Pokhran (2018) is far better than this one.

Rating : 3/5

Cycle (2018) – Movie Review

Anything.. for a Cycle.

Cycle is a comedy-drama Marathi film directed by Prakash Kunte and written by Aditi Moghe. It is a light-hearted family film starring Hrishikesh Joshi, Priyadarshan Jadhav, Bhalchandra Kadam in the prominent roles. The film was screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in 2017.

The film sets in the early post-independence era in the small village of Konkan. The film follows Keshav (Hrishikesh Joshi), a righteous man, who is well known across all the surrounding villages for his astrology skills, generous behavior towards everyone, and his cycle. A cycle which was given to him by his grandfather, which was originally gifted to his grandfather by a foreigner. And for the same reason, a cycle is loved by Keshav more than anything else, which he considers his lucky charm and which he always keeps close to him. Not so long in the film, at one unfortunate night, a cycle gets stolen by a pair of thieves Mangya (Priyadarshan Jadhav) and Gajya (Bhalchandra Kadam). This event leaves Keshav in a total grief, fails him to concentrate on his work, and then he sets out to find his cycle. On the other hand, a cycle takes Gajya and Mangya on an unforgetful journey to realize their unexplored and true inner self.

This film is a pure art, which has the powerful message to serve that too with a very simplistic plot. It is a family drama film with the apt proportion of comic and heartfelt moments. The film depicts the state of mind of Keshav along with two thieves, and how situations and people around them affect their inner self and beliefs. The philosophy of life about happiness and grief is discussed pretty well in the film, as it brilliantly depicts that how happiness can be drawn from small things and clearly is a state of mind, and it shouldn’t be attached to material things. The performances by every individual are flawless. The cinematography is so beautiful that one can easily get lost in it, and it literally feels heavenly soothing to the eyes. Moreover, the running time of the film has kept shorter, and that actually helps to contain the precise story (short and sweet).

Verdict : A light-hearted family film one should not miss. It can be a effective medicine for overcoming the heartbreak caused by Avengers.

Rating : 4/5

Baban (2018) – Movie Review

It’s a bad world out there.

Baban is a Marathi satire drama film written and directed by Bhaurao Nanasaheb Karhade. It is the second film by Bhaurao Karhade after Khwada (2015) starring Bhausaheb Shinde as a leading actor in both of the films. Khwada represented the story in rural India about shepherds who suffer from the government policies and later dominance of the local goons, and how severely it affects their life permanently. This film is also no different from Khwada with a raw and gripping storyline.

In a small village of Maharashtra, the film revolves around Baban (Bhausaheb Shinde), a striving high school student who is running a small milk business to support his family and education. Determined Baban, who is ready to do anything to fulfill his big dreams tries to jump in the upper market by bypassing the local business authorities. In his naive but daring attempt to expand his business, Baban faces the monopoly of local landlords and goons, and this friction leads him elsewhere, which eventually destroys everything.

The film serves the solid and hard-hitting content in a very impacting way, talking about many social issues. This is the second film by Bhaurao Karhade, and he is just unstoppable in delivering the realistic and thought-provoking stories. The performances are compelling with interesting characters and their deadly disputes feel so real. The film focuses on how local politics and goons still controls the rural part of independent India. There is also a romantic aspect to this film which plays well here and that could have been made as a whole different film, but it eventually causes tonal shifts throughout the film. Some songs in the film feel unnecessarily embedded, making it slow-burning.

Verdict : Not everybody’s cup of tea. Not everybody has a strength to face the reality. A gripping and hard-hitting drama.

Rating : 4.2/5

Aapla Manus (2018) – Movie Review

The Loved One

Aapla Manus (a dear/loved one) is the mystery-thriller Marathi film produced by Ajay Devgn & directed by Satish Rajwade who is well known for his peculiar take on romance-drama films in Marathi.

The film’s plot is very simple, sharp and ruthless Sr Inspector Maruti Nagargoje (Nana Patekar) is investigating a case of fatal accident happened with an old man, who is living with his son Rahul (Sumeet Raghavan) and daughter-in-law Bhakti (Iravati Harshe). Being an investigating officer of the case, Maruti’s prime suspects are Bhakti and Rahul and starts digging deep down in their lives & their relationships with each other. These mind game played by Maruti to find the culprit goes on and on and keeps the audience guessing whether its an accident or attempt to suicide or attempt to murder.

As the genre and the trailer of the film suggested it’s a murder mystery, and yes in the first half film delivers exactly the same, but towards the third act in the second half the film becomes unnecessarily over convoluted and loses its path, and so does the audience. Towards the end unexpectedly the film becomes the overdose of emotions and talks about complexities of relationships. Even some of the generalized statements made by leads are just accepted in the film and not universally, so those cannot become the message through film. The performances of all three leads are apt and believable. In particular, Nana has shined in all his screen appearances, and that’s the only reason for which film is watchable. The story of the film is slow burning, and had some plot holes here and there, but can be neglected. The story had a potential to be one of the best murder mystery thrillers but unnecessary aspects, and cameos, and the weaker script does not let it happen.

Verdict : Plot is good but the end is not. Watch it only for Nana Patekar.

Rating : 3.5/5

Yuntum (2018) – Movie Review

Sanely Insane

Yuntum (Sanely insane) is the fantasy romance drama Marathi film co-written and directed by Sameer Asha Patil. Nowadays there are very few Marathi films get released which are mainly focused on content and conveying the message, and this one surely does that.

It is a coming of age story which starts with a teenage boy named Ranga (Viabhav Kadam), a college student, driven by love and trying to find his place, belonging to a poor family, where his father Raaosaheb (Sayaji Shinde) is an aging clarinet musician struggling to find a job for the sake of bread and butter of his family. One day at the college Ranga encounters a lonely pure-hearted soul Meera (Apurva Shelgaokar) and immediately falls for her. In this pursuit of happiness, Ranga gets help from his friends Jedya (Rushikesh Jhagade) and Ramya (Akshay Thorat). As the story progresses, Ranga must decide to choose between his duties towards his family and the love of his life.

The film has a really great message at its core but the film unfolds very slowly and feels paused and lost at some places. Every frame of the film is beautifully shot and gives the true essence of an art, and all the credit goes to the director of the film. Performances by leads are apt and to the point. The film also depicts the hard-hitting message about the struggles of the artists which they have to face to fit in this modern world. The film is slow burning and could have been made half an hour short. The use of humor in the first half of the film is appropriate and keeps the story moving and alive. The story and the direction of the film will definitely make the audience remember Sairat (2016), even if it looks similar from its cover, but it is not at its core.

At the end of the film, the tangled and overlapping dose of emotions made me remember a part of a monologue by Aunt May from Sam Raimi’s Spider-man 2 (2004), “I believe there’s a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams.”.

Verdict : The beautifully made artistic romance drama one should not miss. But at the end it is too heavy on content that it cannot be everybody’s cup of tea.

Rating : 3.8/5

 

Dashakriya (2017)

Nothing is sacred anymore!

Dashakriya is the 64th National Award winning Marathi drama film directed by Sandeep Patil. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Baba Bhand, Dashakriya dives deep into the exploitation that happens while going through the last rite rituals in the name of attaining ‘Moksha’ (Salvation).

The story sets in the town of Paithan where families of deceased gathers on the banks of the Ganges, the sacred river, to do the last rite rituals performed by the priests. The film starts with three lead characters and revolves around them. Keshav Bhat (Manoj Joshi), a stiff and stubborn man, the alpha priest of the town, who is more concerned about his ‘Dakshina’ (fees) than the mourning family’s emotions. Bhanya (Aarya Adhav), a poor small kid, who makes a living by searching for coins in the ashes of the dead people. Patre Savkar (Dilip Prabhavalkar), an understanding and kind-hearted elder of the town, who becomes the voice of the people against the exploitation and commercialization done by unreasonable priests like Keshav Bhat of the sacred ritual called ‘Dashkriya’.

Dashkriya presents the unspoken truth of the society in very precise and artistic manner, and that’s where Sandeep Patil as a director is exceptional. Along with leads, there are so many other characters which justify their role well. But the real show-stealer is Manoj Joshi, who with his outstanding performance literally makes your jaw drop, and undoubtedly that’s the reason why he got the National Award. There are some flaws in the storytelling where it feels choppy and dragged unnecessarily. There are so many things which happen in parallel, even songs are good and situational but those deviates the film from the main topic.

The film does not represent any particular community in poor light but rather it cleverly depicts the dark and harsh reality of how exploited the society has become nowadays. The film delivers very strong and powerful messages but the bottom line of the film is “Nothing is sacred anymore!”. Men are corrupt, so the religion, and so the whole system.

Verdict : Definitely worth a watch for very strong and impacting message along with some really fine performances.

Rating : 3.5/5

Faster Fene (2017)

Where there is education, there is no fear..

Faster Fene is the crime mystery thriller Marathi film based on character and Novel named as ‘Faster Fene’ formulated by B. R. Bhagwat, & directed by Aditya Sarpotdar. Genelia Deshmukh has produced this film and hence since the most hyped trailer has dropped the promotions were booming, and yes the film is as promising as it says in the trailers.

Banesh Fene (Amey Wagh), a witty and gritty guy, with exceptional investigative abilities and faster mind comes to Pune for medical entrance exam. While appearing for an exam Banesh comes across an unfortunate incident which moves him from inside and triggers him to set out on a mission to uncover the deadly and dirty conspiracies behind it. In this quest, he gets help from his Aajoba (Dilip Prabhavalkar), a journalist cum childhood friend Aboli (Parna Pethe), and little kid Bhubhu (Shubham More), as he starts to investigate deeper, he realizes that he is surrounded by his greatest nemesis, Appa (Girish Kulkarni), the ruthless, cruel, and deadliest agent of fear, who is threatening his life and his loved ones’.

Even if the original content is based on the novel but the story is written by Kshitij Patwardhan, and yes it is intriguing enough to keep the audience engaged till the end. The best part of the film is that story never loses the track, even after the involvement of many characters and different threads the story sticks to its core. The performances by the leads are legit and interesting making the film enjoyable as a whole. In particular, the portrayal of Appa by Girish Kulkarni is so scary, dangerous and fascinating enough to make the story gripping and thrilling.

Along with an engaging story and some good performances, the story also talks about the corrupt educational system run by goons, politicians, and businessmen drunk with power and money. This film is the exciting fun ride which is never seen before in the Marathi film industry. The fight of determined and daring teenage detective against an age-old system is totally entertaining and worth watching on a big screen.

Verdict : A must watch crime detective family entertainer film for the weekend.

Rating : 4/5

Baapjanma (2017)

Once a Father, always a Father…

Baapjanma is the new family-drama Marathi film co-produced and directed by Nipun Dharmadhikari. It is his debut film as a director and he proved his caliber to articulate the complex topics in his first shot itself. Once again, Sachin Khedekar is shining in his lead role of a senior citizen and a stubborn but caring and loving father. It surely is the film which Marathi audience has been waiting for a long time.

The film starts with Bhaskar Pandit (Sachin Khedekar), a widowed senior citizen, living in solitude with his servant Mauli (Pushkaraj Chirputkar) and a pet dog Tiger. Even after being a parent of two, his relationship with his elder son Vikram (Satyajeet Patwardhan) and Veena (Sharvari Lohokare) has been worsened periodically because of the breakdown in communication and keeping himself distant from the complexity of relationships for the sake of his job. Soon after learning about his severe medical conditions, a brain cancer, this deserted father sets out on a way to bring his family back together. Rest of the film brilliantly and incredibly executes the efforts of this restless father, who is trying join the pieces together before he leaves this world.

Even if the plot seems familiar and the topic about the lack of communication between parents and children has been handled previously in the films, but the artistic way of storytelling and beautiful execution of complex topic with the flavor of situational comedy makes it outstanding. Performances of the actors are excellent and worth remembering. There are some moments where story loses the pace but picks it up eventually. Every time when the moment goes to the emotional peak, it is dissolved down by very clever comical gestures, and it works really well in those situations. It’s a gripping family drama with lots of fun moments that will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat till the end.

Verdict : A complete family entertainer, definitely worth watching.

Rating : 3.5/5