Nagraj Popatrao Manjule’s Marathi film Fandry is not about ancient times. It’s the story of today’s India, where people have so-called developed enough to have the 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. The film is all about people and our society.
The beauty of Fandry is that the film never imitates any other work. Instead, it establishes itself as an independent, original and raw creation. Fandry is so raw and deeply rooted in the soil that it will compel tech-savvy filmmakers across the globe to do talent-checks on themselves. The film has a very impactful story, finely-carved characters and a worth-studying screenplay. Every aspect of the film has been dealt with utmost perfection. 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.
Nagraj Manjule is a master storyteller, who has made a very courageous, no-nonsense and meaningful film. He has touched so many issues like social discrimination, dowry, ill-treatment to women, superstition, and also that of social media in the hands of stupid; but the writer-director didn’t require even a single preachy dialogue to convey his message. Instead, he holds a mirror in front of our faces on the backdrop of some disturbing facts of our society.
We are treated with masterfully shot scenes one after the other. In one such shot, taken brilliantly with the help of a crane, we see top view of a procession and then come down in front of Jabya, who is holding a heavy lamp on his head, with tears rolling down his face. A very touching scene!
A short while later, in a disturbing scene, we see Jabya and his elder sister holding a heavy load on their shoulders and walking past a wall that has portraits of Dr B R Ambedkar, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Sayajirao Gaikwad and Gadge Maharaj painted on it. The shot silently makes a very hard-hitting statement. It’s a deafening slap on the faces of those, who think they have grown up as a mature society. Those frames also show as how we give insulting treatment to our departed great thinkers and reformers by limiting their presence to just portraits and statues, and conveniently ignoring to learn or understand their meaningful lives and works.
Given the fact that Fandry is Nagraj Manjule’s first feature film, we can now just wait and wonder as what he is going to do in his next film Sairat!
Fandry is a masterpiece also because of the eye-catching camerawork by Vikram Amladi, remarkable sound designing by Nimish Chheda, a lively background score by Ashok Dasgupta and flawless editing by the talented Chandan Arora. Also worth-mentioning here is the fitting art direction by Santosh Sankhad; and Bharat Popatrao Manjule’s contribution in writing the short and sensible dialogues along with Nagraj Popatrao Manjule.
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. His eyes have a very impressive style of expression. Somnath is terrific in the film’s climax. The dejection of being exposed in front of his love, the pain of having lost her forever, and the anger of being an untouchable; Somnath has conveyed all this so truly that we start experiencing those feelings as our own.
After Touring Talkies, actor Kishor Kadam has given another electrifying performance as Kachru in Fandry. The scene when he attends some guests to fix his daughter’s marriage and especially the climax scene clearly illustrate the actor’s command over the character he plays. His performance in this film tells us why every second filmmaker wants to cast Kishor Kadam in his film.
You have to watch the film to know as why Nagraj Manjule has cast Suraj Pawar to play Jabya’s best and only friend. With his innocent face, his voice and his body movement; Suraj proves to be a perfect fit for the role. He has earlier played lead role in Manjule’s National Award-winning Marathi short film Pistulya.
Rajeshwari Kharat as Jabya’s love interest Shalu has a graceful screen presence while Chhaya Kadam as his mother is impressive.
And last but not the least; producers Nilesh Navalakha and Vivek Kajaria deserve an equal amount of appreciation. Usually, it’s the writer or director, who has visually seen or imagined a film even before it is made. It’s very tough for any other person to understand a story’s soul and recognize its potential at the initial stage. Mr Navalakha and Mr Kajaria have exhibited that rare skill by not only producing this extraordinary film but also by taking it to more and more audiences in India and foreign countries. Mr Navalakha and Mr Kajaria, we are now waiting for Chaurya!
Go; watch this film to solve the mystery as what is Fandry. Watch this film to witness the best of filmmaking. Watch Fandry to watch yourself in the mirror. And beware! If you are among those, who don’t treat all humans as humans, a big stone is waiting to hit you badly on your face!