The last film I saw was an English one about Parsis. Now, I dared myself to go and watch a Marathi film about ‘Marathi Manoos’ and it was a struggle (in a good way). Plaza cinema: house full, Chitra: house full, Fame Nakshatra: house full.
“Go to a non-Marathi area!” Mom suggested. So off I went to Cinemax Sion and managed to grab the tickets. The ticket vendor actually spoke to me in marathi! Odd, because everywhere me and the brother insist speaking in Marathi, we are met with a ‘samajh mein nahi ayaa’!
With bestest friend and best friend in tow, I entered the theatre to watch a Marathi film after almost a year! (The last one I watched was an impressive ‘Checkmate’, but that’s for later)
The film starts with a sorry tale of a common man. A marathi man working as a bank clerk, who dreams of buying a nice shirt and longingly eyes the pomfret in the fish market, but gets shooed away. He cringes and accepts insults and shuts his eyes in shame when someone calls him ‘ghati’. That’s Dinkar Bhosale (Sachin Khedekar) for you. His life is depressing. He lives in a run down mansion with a nagging wife, a struggling daughter who can’t break into the industry because of her downmarket surname and a son whose career is one the line because of his CET result. Enter a builder who’s trying to acquire Bhosale’s palace, and then there’s trouble in (not-such-a) paradise.
His daughter wants to change her surname to Chopra because she’s denied a role absed on her surname, the son is upset because he has to give up his engineering dream for the lack of money for the donation.
Bhosale shuns his Marathipana, curses ‘Para-prantiyas’ and in a very impactful scene, shuns the founders of Maharashtra and its culture. This scene stood out to me because the statues of Ambedkar, Phule, Tilak glare helplessly from their statued busts at Bhosale as he rants on being Maharashtrian, ghati and being denied the right to live a peaceful life.
What follows is a bit vague. Shivaji maharaj (Mahesh Manjrekar) takes it upon himself to free Bhosale of his meek attitude. Bhosale being from the Bhosale family that Shivaji Maharaj himself belongs to, is given the baton to awaken the Marathi Manoos. Bhosale completely changes, goes around threatening ‘Muskatat Marin’ (I will slap your face) and convinces people that he is not suppressible. He takes on corrupt BMC officials, policemen, politicians, builders and transforms a Don, even!
In his small victories, the audience rejoices. Claps and whistles were just raining throughout the film. When a distraught Shivaji Mharaj says, “Thank God you don’t pray that Shivaji should be born but in another state!” many members of the audience stand up and clap hard! This is the film’s victory. It captivates the audience, holds them close and expresses an emotion that resonates with them.
Many people assume this an anti-Non-Maharasthtrian movie. It’s not. The movie solely tells the marathi manoos to get up and be pro active. It doesn’t slander any Non-Maharashtrian. Considering its context, it would have been easy for the director to get carried away. But he stays with the concept and plot. Of course, the preachy bit toward the end was a little cheesy, but that’s ok.
Makarand Anajpure as Raiba is priceless! Bharat Dabholkar as Afzal Khan is convincing. Watch out for many other cameos and guest apperances by celebrated Marathi artistes like Reema Lagoo as Jijau, Ajit Bhure as the Chief Minister, Kishor Pradhan as the band manager etc.
All in all, it’s a good film. It captivates, it entertains and it leaves an impact. Not bad Mr. Manjrekar, Marathi Paul Padate Pudhe!
Title: Me Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy
Dir: Santosh Manjrekar
Cast: Sachin Khedekar, Mahesh Manjrekar, Makarand Anajpure, Sucheta Bandekar
My verdict: Worth a watch, but make sure you watch it in a theatre where you can enjoy the audience. Watch out for dialogues written to induce an applause!
Rating: 3.5 /5!