As 2014 comes to an end, we look back at over 80 Marathi films that released during the year and, list some of the films, which excelled in terms of content and performances of team members, and contributed to the richness of Marathi cinema.
(6) Hello Nandan
Two things that grab one’s attention right from the beginning in Hello Nandan are AV Prafullachandra’s pulsating background music and Rahul Jadhav’s dominating camera angles. Taking an insignificant issue from almost everybody’s lives, writer Saurabh Bhave had brought a very interesting concept in the form of Hello Nandan. The story travelled from start to end without diverting to sub-lanes. It had realistic and at the same time very interesting characters, which looked like people from our own world.
Adinath Kothare played a role that suited his age, face and competence. Mrunal Thakur looked gorgeous. Devendra Bhagat, Neena Kulkarni and Anant Jog were very impressive in their well-written roles. There were some weak points also, but, despite all that, the film needed to be appreciated for trying to break away from Marathi cinema’s age-old frames. Hello Nandan was bold, if not in terms of subject, then at least in attitude.
(5) Sanngto Aika
Satish Rajwade’s Sanngto Aika was a remarkable political film that mirrored the plight of lakhs and crores of people living in worst conditions in villages across the country. The film cleverly highlighted the facts as how political leaders have no sensitivity towards people’s issues and still how shamefully they reappear during elections and play all gimmicks to woo voters.
The film also brought to fore the sweet relationships between police and politicians; how cops feel privileged to help corrupt leaders, how innocent people are implicated in false cases, and how low-rank officers run the police department. The screenplay by Parag Kulkarni was very mature and responsible both for society and the audiences. It never deviated from its point and moves forward creating curiosity at regular spots.
Sanngto Aika also revealed as how talented actor Sachin Pilgaonkar wasted himself in silly comedy films. But it was very refreshing to see him in a new avatar as Aambat. Vaibhav Mangle is another versatile actor and it’s very difficult to comment on his talent in a few words. Sanskruti Balgude looked stunningly gorgeous as she made a noteworthy debut.
Kiran Yagnopavit’s Salaam was based in around 1993-1994 in a village, which had a tradition of sending generations of people to Army and Police. It showed school-day lives of two friends – Raghu, the son of a State Police cop, and Sadaa, son of an Army-man.
The film talked about friendship, humanity, imminent uncertainties and also the philosophy of life; in a very interesting manner. Kiran Yagnopavit’s script was balanced and had an interesting flow and pace that kept audience engaged with the story and its characters.
Kiran Yagnopavit’s no-nonsense script got aptly complemented with the brilliant camerawork by Abhijeet Abde, soulful music by Rahul Ranade and practical editing by Suchitra Sathe.
Child actors Vivek Chabukswar (Raghu) and Abhishek Barate (Sadaa) were very impressive in their lead roles. Girish Kulkarni, Kishor Kadam, Sanjay Khapre, Shashank Shinde, Jyoti Chandekar, Suhas Shirsat, Atisha Naik and Pravin Tarde did justice to their respective roles.
(3) Elizabeth Ekadashi
Paresh Mokashi’s Elizabeth Ekadashi had a very simple and beautiful story in the backdrop of the famous vaari in Pandharpur. It had a very intelligent and concise script by Madhugandha Kulkarni and Paresh Mokashi.
The film was packed with solid performances from all the actors and late Anand Modak’s soulful music made the film more dynamic. The artist in Amol Gole had brilliantly painted the original beauty of this small town on a huge canvas. His excellent camerawork took us through the busy roads, congested staircases, multi-purpose terraces, the historical temples and of course across the local people. Elizabeth Ekadashi was undoubtedly an intelligent and flawless film.
Nagraj Popatrao Manjule’s Fandry told the story of today’s India, where people have so-called developed enough to have internet on their fingertips but sadly their minds are still wandering in the ancient ages. It’s the story of human beings, who make a huge uproar of their freedom and rights, but at the same time have caged their own minds.
Manjule made a very courageous, no-nonsense and meaningful film. The beauty of Fandry was that the film never imitated any other work. Instead, it established itself as an independent, original and raw creation. The film had a very impactful story, finely-carved characters and a worth-studying screenplay. The film will inspire filmmakers to make something original as every part of India has a number of interesting and meaningful stories to be told.
Fandry had eye-catching camerawork by Vikram Amladi, remarkable sound designing by late Nimish Chheda, a lively background score by Ashok Dasgupta and flawless editing by Chandan Arora. Actor Somnath Awghade is certainly a discovery for Marathi cinema. When this guy of hardcore rustic looks speaks nothing, he says the most of it. Actor Kishor Kadam gave electrifying performance as Kachru, which told us why every second filmmaker wants to cast Kishor Kadam.
Abhijit Panse’s Rege was undoubtedly the most powerful and grown-up Marathi film of 2014. The most important thing about Rege was that the film neither made silly attempts to look sober at any point of time nor did it shy away from being so straight-forward. It didn’t care about our habits of watching nonsense films, didn’t also try to compensate by appeasing us at any moment, and just kept on telling an intense and thrilling story in the best way possible.
Rege respected the intelligence of its audience. It didn’t indulge in spoon-feeding and let people enjoy non-linear story-telling supported by superb direction, flawless performances and brilliant camerawork and editing. It’s the story of a MBBS Final Year student, whose short-lived attraction for power drags him into the stark realities of underworld, police, politics, glamour and judiciary as well.
The film had a very intelligent script by Abhijit Panse and Pravin Tarde. Mahesh Manjrekar, Aroh Welankar, Pushkar Shrotri, Santosh Juvekar, Pravin Tarde, Viju Mane, Anant Jog - they all looked so realistic that it seemed they were born to play these characters. Rege took Marathi cinema many steps forward.
(This assessment has been made on the basis of the films reviewed personally by the columnist. It has nothing to do with the film’s box office performance or it’s appreciation at national or international film festivals.)