Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sau Shashi Deodhar

Movie Review : Sau Shashi Deodhar
Language : Marathi
Director : Amol Shetge
Genre : Suspense / Thriller
Actors : Sai Tamhankar, Ajinkya Deo, Tushar Dalvi,Avinash Kharshikar, Aniket Kelkar
Released : 2014
My Rating : 7 out of 10

This is my only second review of a Marathi movie, the first being “Mani Mangalsutra”. I don’t get to watch many Marathi movies till they are available on TV channels, or DVD. Thanks to MMBA, who organized a screening, I got to watch this movie in a real theater.

Dr Ajinkya Vartak (Ajinkya Deo) is a middle aged successful psychiatrist. At the beginning of the movie, his car accidentally hits a woman (Sai Tamhankar) standing in the middle of the road on a rainy night. Fortunately she doesn’t suffer major injuries, but loses consciousness. When she wakes up, she gives her name as Shubhada, and her husband’s name as Shashi Deodhar, hence the title of the movie. Dr Vartak accompanies the police as she is taken to her home. But when they reach there, they find out that the house belongs to someone else. They go to the art gallery where her husband is supposed to be organizing an exhibition, but some other artist (cameo by Ranjit, the producer) is holding an exhibition there and her husband is nowhere to be found.

Since none of the information given by the lady can be verified, the police give an ad in local newspapers. The plot thickens when a man named Aniket Kelkar comes claiming that Shubhada is his wife, and her real name is Nilima. He has photos from their marriage to prove his case, but Shubhada refuses to even recognize him. Sensing something amiss, Dr Vartak decides to use his training as a psychiatrist to understand the truth.

This is a potent idea for a story, and it can take many possible routes from here. This will keep you guessing and completely engaged. It’s possible that an alert experienced viewer will be able to guess some of secrets of the story. Still I am sure the impact is no less disturbing due to darkness of the events that eventually get exposed. The credit completely goes to writer/director Amol Shetge who ably maintains the tension without diluting the seriousness of the theme. The movie never loses its focus, a very admirable quality.

There are very few characters in the story, and all actors without exception have done a wonderful job. Sai Tamhankar has played a much different role than what I have seen her in Duniyadari, and Balak Palak. As the central character, she has successfully delivered what was needed. Ajinkya Deo is perfectly cast for his role.

It’s not a perfect movie. Although it is only 100 minutes, it’s still a slow paced movie and not all scenes are convincing. Making a suspense movie is a bold decision, especially for Marathi movies, as the nature of the story makes it very hard for getting repeat viewers. The production, by which I mean the limited number of sets, grandness (or lack of it) makes it feel more like a stage production or TV series, than a movie. I guess you can attribute that to the budgetary constraints of the business of producing Marathi movies. I must add that, it does not take away anything from the movie being a satisfactory experience. This is a maiden production of actress turned producer Shilpa Shirodkar and her husband Ranjit. I applaud their sincere effort and wish them best for future productions.

What I watched had subtitles, and while my Marathi is excellent, this is good for wider audience. I definitely recommend this movie. The theme is uncomfortable for watching with kids, and the movie is correctly rated U/A in India, which I guess is equivalent to something like TV-14 in US.

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