Banner: Srushti Films
Producers: Leena Bala Nandgaonkar, Divakar Sawant, Javed Pathan
Director: Sanju Hinge
Music: Milind Joshi
Cinematography: Raju K. G.
Cast: Sanjay Narvekar, Ankush Chaudhari, Madhura Velankar-Satam, Sai Tamhankar, Sanjay Mone, Yatin Karyekar, Mangesh Desai, Sharad Ponkshe, Kamalesh Sawant, Punam Jadhav, Sharad Gadgil, Shreya Kadam, Dinesh Salvi, Vaishnavi Naik, Suresh Dol, Ram Budke, Archana Tendulkar, Sangeeta Sane, Hrishikesh Shastri, Sumit Mane, Vedang Patkar
Movie Review by: Ulhas Shirke
So many films have been made in the past, which were inspired by Agatha Christie’s best selling world famous novel- ‘And Then There Were None’, which had sold over 100 million copies. A film was also made with the same name, which was an adaptation of the novel. But, when a stage play was attempted in UK, with the name ‘Ten Little Niggers’; few changes were made in the script. The stage play continued in USA, thereafter, with the title ‘Ten Little Indians’.
In 1965, Raja Nawathe directed a Hindi film ‘Gumnam’, which was also inspired by this English stage play and not the original novel, as in the original novel, all the guests in the bungalow get killed and the man behind the killings, finally ends his life. Now, we find a new Marathi film, also inspired by the English play ‘Ten Little Indians’, which was also based on Agatha Christie’s creation. So, we find eight strangers coming together on an island to find their accommodation in a bungalow, surrounded by dense forest. They are welcomed by a Butler ( Sanjay Narvekar) and his wife ( Poonam Jadhav) who attend to them.
Ankush Choudhari, Ashach Eka BetawarDuring their first dinner itself, a recorded message accuses each one of them of the crimes committed by them. They all question the butler, asking him about the man behind the scene. When all of them are convinced that like them, even the Butler has been invited to serve them; they start suspecting each other. As the mystery remains, two of them are found murdered, one after the other, little before interval. Before that, the director takes time to narrate in brief the lifestyle of Mumbai through the voice of Nana Patekar, since all these people belong to Mumbai. He also takes you quickly into the flashback, showing the background of six of the guests, while they are travelling in an imported motor boat, on their way to the island.
At the stroke of interval, there are six guests left, besides the Butler and his wife. Aakash( Ankush Choudhary) and Ameeta (Madhura Velankar ) being treated as lead pair, come closer during this period; while the bar dancer Shabana( Sai Tamhankar) becomes the favourite of DD (Yatin karyekar). A doctor (Sanjay Mone) and a professional criminal ( Kamlesh Sawant) are looked upon as suspects, in this mysterious drama. As the screenplay progresses, you find at least two twists in the screenplay of this film; only to surprise you in the climax about the man behind the killings.
Chintan Mokashi’s screenplay possesses the required strength, to create the desired impact in this captivating murder mystery, which is new to Marathi cinema. His dialogues with Sanjay Pawar also create the combined effect of fear and humour, according to the changing situation. The character of Sanjay Narvekar has been cleverly used to nullify the continuous effect of terror. Director Sanju Hinge has done a brilliant job in generating anxiety after each murder sequence, for which he deserves compliments.
The background music and sound effects have been well paced in this film to generate curiosity at every stage, especially after interval. The film has only three songs composed by Milind Joshi, out of which two songs in Hindi are picturised on Shabana, during pre interval stage .The third one is played in the background, immediately after interval. Editing work by Kshitij Pavaskar and Abhijit Girulkar is good, compared to the Hindi version ‘Gumnam’ based on the adaptation of same play. The cinematography by Raju K.G. is very effective to create that desired impact, at every moment in the film.
Among the artistes, Ankush Choudhary, Madhura Velankar, Sai Tamhankar , Yatin karyekar, Sanjay Mone and Sanjay Narvekar find better scope to display their acting skills, at different situations. Kamlesh Sawant finds some scope in three scenes; but talented actors like Sharad Ponkshe and Mangesh Desai are treated like guest artistes in this film. The same is the case with Ponam Jadhav .
The plot in the film is gripping, though it has some resemblance to 1965 Bollywood film ‘Gumnam’; which is also inspired by Agatha Christie’s creation. The reason for the assembly of guests is different. By the way, the Bikini scene of Sai hasn’t been there in ‘Gumnam’, as the Bollywood actress Helen was shown in Mini skirt at the beach. One good thing is that, the makers of this film have admitted that they were inspired by Agatha Christie’s work. Now, how you give treatment to this subject in cinematic format, is all that important and makers of ‘Ashach Eka Betavar’ have succeeded in offering their best to Marathi film lovers. It’s a well presented murder mystery. Finally, what Agatha Christie had said, has a point here. “Every murderer is probably somebody’s old friend.”