Rating: ★★ ½
Duration: 132 Min.
Studio/presenter: Achintya Films, Siddhi Aaradhya Films
Producer(s): Chaitali K, Amol Kale
Director: Nitin Kamble
Writer: Nitin Supekar
Music: Trupti Chavan
Cinematographer (DOP): I. Giridharan, Shanu Singh Rajput
Cast: Nandkumar Solkar, Ramesh Dev, Sanjay Narvekar, Alka Kubal, Ganesh Jadhav, Mitali Jagtap, Sanjay Khapare, Anshuman Vichare, Sharad Ponkshe, Namrata Jadhav, Rajesh Kamble, Sourabh Karvande, Nitin Kamble, Mahesh Kute, Gary, Jeevan Karalkar, Prathamesh Kawle, Sahil Joshi
Movie Review by: Ulhas Shirke
Cricket has always played a big role in the field of entertainment. The subject of cricket has also been used by our Bollywood film makers, through some of the past films. Among them, ‘Iqbal‘ was one of the most impressive films, which generated the desired impact on the audience. In Marathi, we have seen few films based on cricket and among them, ‘Shikshanachya Aaicha Gho‘ tried to show, how cricket and studies cannot go together. Now, film maker Nitin Kamble has presented his subject on discrimination against Aadivasi community, when it comes to including them in the mainstream, be it in education or sports.
So, very thoughtfully he has chosen his subject, but has failed to create the required impact, through the film’s screenplay. In this film, he presents the character of little Bhalya( Nandkumar Solkar) , a boy from Aadivasi community, living in the outskirts of a village, along with his father Shukrya ( Sanjay Narvekar), mother Heera ( Mitali Jagtap) and grandfather( Ramesh Deo). Bhalya is a school drop out, as he cannot afford the fees of the village school . His family earns just enough income for their food. Bhalya spends his time with his friend Ziprya( Saurabh Karvande), roaming around, taking a dip into river and watching the local village school cricket team practicing on the ground. Actually, he is just passionate about this game of cricket and practices with his friend, emulating all the strokes, with his hand made bat. Watching his perfection, he is spotted by school captain, who is the son of a Government officer (Sharad Ponkshe). Like a good Samaritan , he offers him a chance to play, after convincing his school coach ( Sanjay Khapre). With few tips from the coach, Bhalya excels in his batting. But, this overshadows the performance of local politician’s( Ganesh Yadav) obese son, who is the member of school team.
Knowing about the disturbed state of mind of his son, the politician plays all his dirty games. But, that doesn’t stop the progress of Bhalya, who is selected to play for the school’s team, as a dummy for another player. Needless to say that Bhalya does well, hitting that six on the last ball, in the finals. But, the process through which he is given a chance to play for the school team and the decision taken by the committee to pardon the coach, for cheating; is not at all convincing. And, this is where the film fails to appeal. There were many other ways, to include Bhalya in school team, by someone like Desai Couple, or the foreigner Photographer( Gary Tatney) and well wisher of Bhalya, sponsoring his education. But, the director has thought the other way, to help an Aadivasi boy. There is one scene, where the politician comes to threaten the coach on the ground. He asks the coach to bowl him with half a dozen tennis balls brought by him and he hits all the balls with body line attack on the coach, who fails to protect himself. And, this looks funny, rather than a serious scene. The foreigner trying to defend Bhalya’s case before School Cricket Committee, also fails to convince.
However, the performances of the artistes have been exemplary. Nandkumar Solkar, who has played the role of Bhalya, has performed exceptionally well. Sanjay Narvekar impresses with his body language and fluent dialogues in Aadivasi language with that particular accent. Veteran Ramesh Deo, Alka Kubal Athalye, Sharad Ponkshe, Sanjay Khapre, Ganesh Yadav and Anshuman Vichare in negative role and others have offered good support. Music by Trupti Chavan goes well with the village backdrop, with good music offered for Holi song. Chaitrali Dongre has done a good job, designing suitable costumes of all characters. Last but not the least, I. Giridharan and Shanu Singh Rajput have captured good cinematography through their lenses. To sum up, ‘Bhalya’ batted on a sticky wicket.