Biopics are my favourite because they give me the opportunity to watch what I have read about great people and their great lives. Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi, Dr Jabbar Patel’s Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Ketan Mehta’s Sardar and Shyam Benegal’s Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose are the films that I can watch numerous times.
Marathi cinema has also tried its hands on biopics from time to time. The previous year itself saw Abhay Kambli’s 1909 (on Anant Kanhere), Dr Jabbar Patel’s Yashwantrao Chavan – Bakhar Eka Vaadalachi (on Maharashtra’s ex-CM Yashwantrao Chavan), Samruddhi Porey’s Dr Prakash Baba Amte – The real Hero (on the living social activist), and Chandrakanr Kulkarni’s Dusri Gosht (on the life of another ex-CM Sushilkumar Shinde).
And now comes one on Maharashtra’s most firebrand freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak. But friends, Om Raut’s Lokmanya Ek Yugpurush surpasses all the above-mentioned Marathi biopics in terms of content, treatment, candidness and grandeur too. This film’s standard is certainly above that of a regional film.
What I liked most about Lokmanya Ek Yugpurush is its honesty. It shows the real personality of Tilak and his ardent and sometimes fierce views on religion, politics and nationalism. The film doesn’t try to portray only the loveable image of Tilak. Instead it keeps the picture raw and undistorted.
The film has a meaningful script by Om Raut and Kaustubh Savarkar. The writers have smartly picked up important events from Tilak’s life and placed them in a proper sequence to make the narrative more effective. The transition between two different eras of time is worth noticing.
Raut did a good job by roping in best of the talent to make his work look even better. Production design by Santosh Phutane, Costumes by Mahesh Sherla and Make-up by Vikram Gaikwad have contributed a lot in making this film look different from the ordinary lot. Eye-catching cinematography by Prasad Bhende, lively background score by Sameer Mhatre, and appreciable editing by Ashish Mhatre and Apurva Motiwale add value to the cinematic experience.
Actor Subodh Bhave has given one of his career-best performances in the role of Lokmanya. What he did in this film is totally contrary to what he has been doing so far and also to the image that audiences bear in their minds about this talented actor. With this performance, Subodh has surely raised his ranks among the contemporary actors.
And Sameer Vidwans has played Gopal Ganesh Agarkar with such conviction that, even though we have Subodh Bhave giving his strongest performance, at some points we have to agree with ourselves and accept that Sameer dominated some of the scenes.
Similarly, we can’t move forward without mentioning Angad Mhaskar’s Daji Khare, Chinmay Mandlekar’s Makrand, and Shweta Bhende’s Satyabhama.
When Lokmanya Ek Yugpurush was announced, I was quite sure the film would be like any other film. But when I left the cinema hall, the film had taken over my thoughts for some time. And I liked it!