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.