Saturday, May 20, 2017

Chi va Chi Sau Ka

Directed by Prakash Mokashi, Chi va Chi Sau Ka is a film about a host of love stories, none of which use the textbook formula for love. In fact, if one word could describe this film, it would be ‘experimentation’.
Satya (Lalit Prabhakar), a manufacturer of solar panels, is determined to do his bit to save the planet. Savitri (Mrunmayee Godbole), on the other hand, is a veterinary doctor, an obsessive animal lover and quite understandably a vegan who detests all non-vegetarians. When they come face to face in an arrange marriage scenario, they decide to live together for a couple of months before tying the knot. 
The expected scuffles follow but it is refreshingly good to see that the economic disparity between the two families is not highlighted even once as a deciding factor. In 2008, in Sanai Choughade, there are some important discourses about ‘lok-laaj’. Barely a decade later, CVCSK beautifully shows how our society is now open to change. Also, the couple’s Kung-fu romance and actually doing something meaningful for each other is much more appealing than the cliché red-rose-romance.
Starting with the opening frame of the film, few scenes are directorial masterpieces. However, Mokashi seems to let his horses loose in a few others and it thoroughly disappoints the viewer. The characters, like the title, are slightly offbeat but completely relatable in today’s day and age. Having a sutradhar has worked well in some films but doesn’t seem necessary in this one, it interrupts the flow rather than providing the weaving thread. Barring a few over-the-top scenes, humour is rightly placed.
If you expect another masterpiece from the director of Harishchandrachi factory and Elizabeth Ekadashi, you are going to be disappointed, but if you are looking for a new age rom-com, Chi va Chi Sau Ka is the film for you.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Code Mantra

Having become a milestone play for Gujarati rangbhoomi (theater), Code Mantra has all the elements to be so. It is the story of Second-in-command Ashwin Rathore who is accused of killing his brother Rahul Rathore, a junior officer in the same battalion. The story mainly unfolds itself in the army court where the audience witnesses the trial.

Apart from being an intriguing story where the defense lawyer leaves no stone unturned to prove her client innocent, this play is also excellent food for thought. We, as Indian audience, are used to movies and stories that glorify our army but Sneha Desai does not hesitate one bit to present some of its harsh realities. Anything in excess is always bad, so we have been told, and yet you cannot stop mulling over certain questions for hours after leaving the darkness of theater.
Sneha Desai must also be congratulated for her excellent onstage presence and impeccable timing. Pratap Sachdev wins over the hearts of the audience sitting right in the last row with his voice. Suraj Vyas is very convincing in his role too.

As much as the onstage team calls for an applause, so does the backstage team, because well, they are omnipresent! A play without blackouts, we see the backstage team changing the props scene after scene and yet not for a second does it hurt the eye, because in their military uniforms, they become so much as a part of the décor themselves. It takes dedication and hard work of another level to get your backstage marching in sync on stage. On the other hand, the set itself remains a little unimpressive with so many stairs and a lack of detailing.

Marathi theater has always been an inspiration to Gujarati plays, but it is proud moment when the world stops to take notice and this same play is adapted in both Hindi and Marathi. Go and watch it now in whichever language you can!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Translated from the original runes by Hermione Granger

So a muggle-born like me finally gets to lay my hands on this book! With librarian Mrs. Irma Prince around, it is difficult for non-Hogwarts student to find a book like this. I ignore the publishing date as The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Yes! You read it right!) have been around for centuries now. 

Reading this book can put you through an arena of emotions. One, you start asking yourself, "And why wouldn't this be real?" "Isn't there are real Ministry of Magic with a real Albus Dumbledore?" And just as you think about it, he whispers into your ears, "Of course it is in your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

Secondly, you want to weep at the genius of J K Rowling (Howw?? Just howww does she do it?) You either want to put on the Invisibility Cloak and sneak into her study and see the kind of research she does or you want to scan her brain to see which part of it creates all these fantasies. You can be a great fan of an author's writing style, but when the author herself becomes the ghost writer for Beedle the Bard, Albus Dumbledore and Mrs. Bloxam and presents three different styles of writing on three consecutive pages, it takes literature to a new level indeed. 

No literature is children's literature, claim many. Jean de La Fontaine writes about his fables, "Je me sers des animaux pour instruire les hommes.'' Millions of readers took lessons of wisdom from the conversations between Prof. Dumbledore and Harry and we are more than happy to continue to do so from Dumbledore's notes on each of the fables. 

A big thank you J K Rowling for creating a world so real and for concretising it a little more with each of your works. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Lokmanya - Ek Yugpurush

After a lot of light movies in 2014, the new year opens for Marathi cinema with a brilliantly made historical film – Lokmanya – Ek Yugpurush. Directed by Om Raut, with Subodh Bhave as Lokmanya, it is a brilliant piece of work.

The plot is set in Pune – the birthplace of Tilak and that of a current day youth who is deeply influenced by Tilak on reading his books. The constant ‘va et vient’ in the passé might remind the viewer of Rang De Basanti and Me Shivaji Raje Boltoy to some extent but one could easily excuse these similarities when they see the film in totality. Unlike most historical films that endlessly glorify a hero, Lokmanya paints a more true-to-believe picture of Tilak, with all his competencies and limitations. Each chapter of his life unfolds a distinct facet of his personality – from an extremist patriot to a strong headed editor of ‘Kesari’ and ‘Maratha’ to a proud educationist promoting national education to an outspoken friend to a husband who deeply loves his wife without really understanding her.

The movie, within the short span of two and a half hours, squeezes in various chapters of history, giving us a peek into the complete scenario of the independence movement. We see not only Tilak but also his contemporaries like the famous Lal-Bal-Pal trio, Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, Vishnushastri Pandit, Vivekanand, Gandhi, Chaphekar brothers, Khudiram Bose and others. As the movie alternates between the present and the past, it gives unmistakable messages to today’s youth – which hopefully they will take back home.

सुबोध भावे हा मराठी चित्रपटाचा पुढचा सचिन खेडेकर आहे असे म्हणायला हरकत नाही। After Balgandharva, it is yet another award-winning-standing-ovation-deserving performance by Bhave. Chinmay Mandlekar and Priya Bapat seem to be the perfect cast for their roles. The film opens with a satirical narration in Nana Patekar’s voice and obviously leaves the viewer pleasantly surprised.

This film comes with very well worked upon English subtitles (so no excuse for non-Marathi audience). A film that every parent must show his ward. 


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ship of Theseus

The film, written and directed by Anand Gandhi and produced by none other than Kiran Rao, is

one of the most picturesque films of our times. Three seemingly independent stories come together so naturally as pieces of a puzzle and bring out larger, more meaningful picture. A girl who takes up photography on losing her eyesight, a monk who prefers to take death on to taking medicines that are manufactured after torturous experiments on helpless animals and a Marwari trader whose life changes after a kidney transplant: all the stories are intertwined to form a beautiful confluence.

On watching simply the first few shots of the film, one starts wondering why films are so often inundated with mind boggling effects when simplicity can do marvels. At this very moment, the character starts reflecting the viewer’s thoughts. The overwhelming flood of colours seems to perturb the charm of its absence and the mere chase of capturing the essence of something seems to kill the moment itself. 

The actors, lead or supporting, look as if they have been guilelessly picked from their real lives and placed in the reel. No complicated dialogues but quick repartees is what makes them so convincing in their roles. But if there are some performances that linger on the mind of the viewer even hours and days after watching the film, they are those of Aida El-Kashef and Neeraj Kabi, who play the blind photographer and the monk respectively.

Watching this film is like viewing a series of photographers clicked by a really good photographer, each frame so carefully crafted! Light, camera angle, colour balance, subject focus and the portrayal of photography as a theme, Kudos for everything, Pankaj Kumar! 

In addition to being a cinematical masterpiece, Ship of Theseus also gives an explicit message and the spectator is forced to put his thinking hat on before leaving his seat.
A must watch inspite of the ridiculously high ticket rates!   

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Une pièce du silence. Une pièce de la parole. La pièce se démarre avec des personnes qui ont l'air d'etre perdues dans leur propre monde mais au meme temps liées: par la perte, notamment par une ficelle perdue.
Ces sept personnages occupent la scène. Il n'y a pas de parole, proprement dit. Nénmoins, des bruits, logiquement incomprehensibles, communiquent leur douleur. Des scènes représentées semblent etre tirées de la vie quotidienne. Mais c'est le huitième personnage, la radio, qui évoque le décor de la guerre. La vie normale est fondamentalement perturbée. Pourtant, on répète des gestes et simples actes quotidiens pour se sentir vivant. On mange, on se divertit, on danse, on se caresse de temps en temps. Mais aucun divertissement qui nous sensibilise n'est permis. Soit on vit comme une poupée, soit comme un paralysé; entre les deux, cela merite la mort!
Des scènes répétitives et l'alternance entre une frénésie complète et un calme dérangeant ponctue l'histoire. Le jeu de l'ombre et de lumière, des mouvements rapides et surprenants, des gestes bien précis et en synchronisation, la mise en scène est visiblement un travail dur étalé sur plusieurs mois. Dans une pièce absurde comme celle-ci, le grand défi pour le metteur en scène c'est de faire croire que tout est arbitraire, cependant ne laissant rien au hasard, car chaque geste peut etre interpreté de nombreuses façons par les spectateurs, qui à leur tour, ont un role à jouer dans la création de la pièce.
Chapeau à Maguy Marin et sa fabuleuse équipe!

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Since 2010, Marathi cinema is on a different high altogether! After movies like ‘Natarang’ and ‘Harishchandrachi Factory’, Marathi cinema has crossed another milestone with Balgandharva.
Balgandharva- a film by Ravindra Jadhav. The film, as the title suggests, is the biography of the great theater legend Narayan Shripad Rajhans- ‘Balgandharva’. Balgandharva was the lead actor of Marathi plays at a time when women were allowed neither on stage nor in the audience. He brought to life some of the most important female characters of Indian literature like Shakuntala and Draupadi.
Along with depicting the ups and downs of Gandharva’s life, which is by itself a Herculean task, the film perfectly represents the social scenario of the late 19th and early 20th century. The art, the people, Indian independence, all the themes have been skillfully weaved into the fabric of the film.
The casting for the film is perfect! Subodh Bhave has surpassed all the expectations of the audience and has been able to maintain the difficult balance between manly gait and womanly grace. The secondary actors are equally good in whatever roles they do; although Abhijeet Kelkar and Kishor Kadam call for a special mention. While Kelkar always had the potential, director Rabindra Jadhav has harnessed it to the fullest. The audience might find Vibhavari Deshpande a little repetitive after similar roles in Natarang and Harishchandrachi Factory.
It is a challenge to give music to such a film where classical music is in the foreground rather than being just filler. Although the music is flows well with the film, there is nothing that lingers on your mind for too long; except for the voice of Gandharva. It really makes you feel that this must be the voice that got Gandharva his title.
The film is rich in its appearance, just like Gandharva’s plays. Camera work is just outstanding, with beautiful angles and just the right amount of close ups n lovely broad shots. Makeup artists deserve a pat on the back for Bhave’s different avatars from a young 20-something to his old age and from a beautiful woman to a simple man.
All in all, the movie is “nayanramya”, “karnapriya”, and thought provoking. It is not merely a film but an experience that is just not to be missed. If you still haven’t, bookyourshow now!!