Presenter: Dar Motion Pictures
Producer: Arun Rangachari
Director: Mahesh Manjrekar
Screenplay: Jayant Pawar, Mahesh Manjrekar
Music: Ajit – Sameer
Cast: Satish Kaushik, Siddharth Jadhav, Ankush Choudhary, Veena jamkar, VIneet Kumar, sameer Dharmadhikari, Sachin Khedekar, Kashmera Shah, Ganesh Yadav, Karan Patel, Shashank Shende, Seema Biswas
Movie Review by: Ulhas Shirke
One man’s nightmare is another man’s dream. The closure of Mills in Mumbai was a nightmare to lakhs of workers, but it turned out to be a dream for the owners, who sold their land making crores of rupees out of it in such deals. It was a big game played by Mill owners those days, with the support of government. Not much of attention was paid by the media , which only blamed the adamant Union leader for holding on to his demands.
28 years after this tragic happening in the lives of those lower middle class families, today a film maker dares to describe the inside story and aftermath. ‘Lalbaug Parel (Zhali Mumbai Sonyachi) directed by Mahesh Manjrekar projects various characters, based on the original script of Jayant Pawar, which highlights the consequences of this social issue, totally ignored by the Government. No wonder, after release of this film, the government has started taking steps towards rehabilitation of the mill workers and their families.
The film begins with a scene where a real life script writer (Ankush Chowdhury) showing his old house to his girlfriend from the terrace top of a multi story tower and narrating the tragic story of his family in the flashback. The audience is then taken back to 1982, to show how the shrewd Mill owners with the support of Government played their cruel game to exploit the poor mill workers. Mahesh Manjrekar as a film maker goes into all required details to highlight the after effects of the strike. He has skillfully shown the Politician- Mill worker nexus for the closure of mills; but has failed to define the role of the adamant Union leader, who was equally responsible for this indefinite strike.
The director has paid more attention on the spread of underworld network with the young children of these jobless Mill workers turning towards crime. He has also focused on the simple lifestyle of these Lower middle class people living in chawls those days. As a director, he has done a commendable job to place before the audience the reality, capturing many emotion filled scenes. However, in the process he has shown too much of bloodshed on the screen. At the end of the film, the character of Speed breaker who turns a sharp shooter moves scot- free (in the present time) after killing his own friend in front of his family members at a public place and then shooting point blank the son-in-law of the mill owner along with his security guards, in his plush office.
Looking at the performances of the artistes, Seema Biswas plays the role of Mother with simplicity, paying more attention on her body language. Shashank Shende as Mill worker –father, is a perfect choice. Both Sachin Khedkar and Vinay Apte as Union leaders do well ; but surprisingly the character of the Chief Union leader –Doctor, does not get much of scope, considering the major role played by him in the controversial strike. Satish kaushik as Mama in the neighborhood, borrows the voice of Mahesh Manjrekar for this Marathi version, while Santosh Juvekar dubs his voice for Karan Patel, who plays Naru -the younger son of this mill worker, who later turns a sharp shooter. Actually, Santosh would have been a perfect choice for this character. Siddharth Jadhav as Speed breaker ( His character name), plays the son of a Union leader in his own style.
Actress Veena Jamkar plays an important character of Manju- the daughter of the Mill worker. She plays her part with total commitment . Kashmira Shah plays Mami – wife of Satish kaushik. Her sex appeal has been used for a different reason in this film to create that cheap humour. Sai Tamhankar has been a waste in that small role of a flower vendor. Kishore Pradhan and Sameer Dharmadhikari look very natural as Mill owners. Music does not have much scope in this film backed with a serious theme. In all, ‘Lalbaug Parel’ is a good, realistic and hard hitting film except for the violence part, which has been stretched too much in few sequences.