There was a huge buzz for Marathi film Lai Bhaari: like Bollywood actor Riteish Deshmukh making his debut in Marathi films, influential people producing the film, a big distributor, cameo by a superstar, well-known music directors, and all. However, while watching the 158-minute-long film, the one thought that kept popping up in my mind was: what has happened to Mr Nishikant Kamat?
Kamat’s first film Dombivli Fast was one of the best Marathi films of last decade. It was sensible and content-driven commercial film, which motivated a new generation of filmmakers to experiment with newer subjects and infuse a new life into Marathi cinema.
Kamat then turned to Bollywood and made Mumbai Meri Jaan, which was preachy but good in parts. The director later proved that he was really short of fresh ideas when he remade a south Indian film in Hindi. He had tumbled to the lowest standards of filmmaking and I thought Force was his worst film as a director. But I was wrong. The worst was to come in the form of Lai Bhaari.
Let’s guess as what could have happened. Two-three people (producers) would have approached Kamat and requested him to direct a film for them, by maintaining the same low standards like that of his previous film.
Kamat agreed and invited Sanjay Pawar to write the latter’s worst screenplay ever. Since the director-writer duo was blank on ideas, they decided to make a colorful flower by taking one leaf each from many other flowers. So they borrowed storyline from Rakesh Roshan’s Karan Arjun and Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai, gave it a Manmohan Desai kind of treatment, and made it a bit stylish by putting songs and action sequences like south Indian flicks. No, they didn’t stop at this only and went on to insert a Holi song for the hero-heroine and an erotic one for the villain just before the climax. Lai Bhaari!
They borrowed scenes like an important character’s humiliation from Rajkumar Santoshi films like Khakee and Ghatak, a foiled kidnapping bid from Ramgopal Varma’s Shiva, and a comic gun-firing scene from Priyadarshan’s Hera Pheri. They decorated the film with a cameo by Salman Khan and a few thumkas by Genelia Dsouza. Lai Bhaari!
And here comes one of the most talked-about Marathi films, Lai Bhaari - a desperate and totally artificial attempt to cash in on formula films.
In one scene before the interval, a close shot shows us a mother crying at the body of her young son. The actor, playing the son, couldn’t lie down motionlessly even for a few seconds and we clearly see his eyelids moving slightly. In my show, the audiences had burst into laughter at this stupidity, but neither the director nor the editor bothered to take care of the scene. This is how Lai Bhaari takes the audience for granted for over two and half hours and don’t even tries to hide its mistakes and limitations.
Moreover, we are shown recaps of earlier happenings again and again, as if we, the audiences, are like Ghajini’s Aamir Khan, who forgets all after every few minutes!
When Riteish Deshmukh had announced his debut Marathi film, we thought he would certainly do something good, at least to erase the sins that he has committed by doing Sajid Khan films. But alas! From whatever stale and outdated he has offered in Lai Bhaari, it appears that he too is creatively bankrupt! No, I’m not saying that stylish action sequences or songs are bad, but at least have a good story yaar! Riteish is a good actor and has potential to emerge as a star in Marathi cinema. But for that he has to get out of the producers’ trap.
Riteish Deshmukh and Sharad Kelkar have performed well in most of the scenes but they looked helpless in front of the weak script. The villain, whom Sharad Kelkar plays here, is also very old-fashioned. Radhika Apte looked very beautiful and loveable in her previous film Postcard. In Lai Bhaari, she has been diminished to an equally childish and silly character. Aditi Pohankar looks pretty and is okay in whatever she has been asked to do. Tanvi Azmi reminds us of the heartrending injustice and sufferings of Rakhi from Ram Lakhan and Karan Arjun.
The cameos by Salman Khan and Genelia Dsouza are unnecessary. Though, Salman’s accent of Marathi is more at ease than that of the hero and villain as well. Music directors duo Ajay-Atul have failed to impress this time as only Mauli Mauli is good while other songs are ordinary.
Lai Bhaari will earn money but that doesn’t mean it’s a good film. People may not be too happy after watching this outdated stuff. Nishikant Kamat’s first film was more intense.