Rating: ★★★ ½
Studio/presenter: Zee Studios, Great Maratha Entertainment
Producer: Vishwas Joshi, Nana Patekar
Director: Mahesh Vaman Manjrekar
Original Playwright: V. V. Shirwadkar
Writer: Kiran Yadnyopavit, Abhijeet Deshpande
Lyrics: Kusumagraj, Guru Thakur
Music: Ajit Parab
Cinematographer (DOP): Ajith Reddy
Duration: 130 Min.
Cast: Nana Patekar, Vikram Gokhale, Jitendra Joshi, Sandeep Pathak, Mrunmayee Deshpande, Sunil Barve, Medha Manjrekar, Ajit Parab, Neha Pendse, Jayant WadkarMovie Review by: Ulhas Shirke
V. V. Shirwadkar alias Kusumagraj was a well known Marathi Poet and writer, who was influenced by Shakespeare, Othello, Hamlet, Macbeth, Tolstoy in his writings. So, when he wrote his Marathi play ‘Natsamrat’‘, it was based on Shakespeare’s tragedy ‘King Lear’. ‘Natasamraat’ was staged for many years with record number of shows and well known actors like Dr. Shreeram Lagoo, Yashwant Dutt, Datta Bhat and others, have performed the central character of Ganpatrao Belvalkar successfully. But, the one performed by Dr. Shreeram Lagoo, is still fresh in the memory of those, who saw his great performance.
Now, director Mahesh Manjrekar has presented the cinematic version of this popular play, in his own way, with Nana Patekar playing the central character of Ganpatrao alias Appasaheb Belvalkar . And, in addition to his family members comprising of wife kaveri (Medha Manjrekar), Son (Ajit Parab), daughter in law (Neha Pendse), grand daughter ( Pranjal Parab), daughter ( Mrunmayee Deshpande), son in law ( Sunil Barve), he has introduced a new character of Rambhau, played by versatile actor Vikram Gokhale, as his close friend. In the process, he has extended his screenplay, with some witty conversations, taking place between the two friends, whenever they meet, over the session of drinks.
In this film, the director has paid more attention on the home affairs of Ganpatrao, after his retirement, on receiving the highest honour of ‘NatSamrat’. In the process, the film has turned more into a family melodrama rather than a monologue, reminding you of some happenings from bollywood films like ‘Baghban’, ‘jaisi karni Vaisi Bharni’, ‘Avtaar’ and few others. In ‘Natasamrat’, Ganpatrao played by Nana Patekar faces insults, first from his daughter in law, which forces him to leave his own house, along with his wife Kaveri. But, before that Ganpatrao has committed a biggest mistake in his life, i.e. by transferring all his assets in the name of his son and daughter. Ganpatrao being close to his daughter, is offered shelter by her and his son in law, in their house.
But, when the daughter alleges her own father for stealing her money, Ganpatrao and his wife quietly leave their house during the midnight hours of heavy rains, for onward journey to their native place. But, on the way, during a halt, Kaveri , who is already suffering from fever, passes away during her sleep. This brings Ganpatrao literally on the roads, as the person, who steals his bag, later offers him shelter under the bridge along with his small family. Though he is traced by his son and daughter, in an old drama theatre which is gutted in fire; Ganpatrao refuses to go with them and performs one last scene from his play , to conclude this film with its tragic end.
This film entirely belongs to actor Nana Patekar , who has played his role with total conviction. This is a lifetime role for a complete actor in him. In short, ‘Natasamraat’ has brought out the best out of Nana Patekar . But, this would not have been possible for him , without the support of Medha Manjrekar, who has given a wonderful performance as his co star Kaveri in this film. Medha has performed a role, which is more than her age; but, with her expressive face and good make up by Vikram Gaikwad, she was able to give her best. Another good performance, comes from young Mrunmayee Deshpande, who has done those two big emotion filled scenes, opposite senior experienced actor like Nana Patekar, exceptionally well. There was no doubt about the ability of Vikram Gokhale, as he perfectly fitted into the witty character of Rambhau. The director has rightly taken close up scenes on him, to exploit his spontaneous facial expressions. Among others in the supporting cast, good performances also come from Sunil Barve, Ajit Parab, Neha Pendse, Nilesh Divekar, Sarang Sathe , Jaywant Wadkar, little Pranjal Parab and others. But, Savita Malpekar and Vidyatai Patwardhan are just namesake in this film. On location sound used by by Srikant kamble, art direction by Eknath kadam, cinematography by Ajith Reddy and background score by Ajit Parab are the other plus points of this film.
This film, which presents the story of 70s era, does not actually relate to the changing lifestyle of today’s nuclear family system. So, it remains to be seen, how it appeals to today’s new generation. Moreover, today’s senior citizens have many other options after retirement. But, the central character of this film, being an actor, certainly sends a strong message to all those , for not committing the mistake done by Ganpatrao in this film. The film is technically very well presented and hence stands a chance of inviting the attention of maximum film lovers. A worth watch, for the entire family together.