Sunday, November 20, 2016


Movie Review : Ventilator
Language : Marathi
Director : Rajesh Mapuskar
Genre : Comedy/Drama
Starring : Ashutosh Gowarikar, Jitendra Joshi, Sukanya Kulkarni, Satish Alekar, Viju Khote, Priyanka Chopra, Boman Irani and many many others
Release : November 2016
My Rating : 7 out of 10

Marathi movies are getting successful at generating good buzz to entice us for a trip to the theaters. Just in last couple of years, movies like Elizabeth Ekadashi , Katyar Kaljat Ghusli, Natsamrat generated enough interest in me to go watch them in the theater. All the trips have been very worthwhile.

The buzz around Ventilator came from the association of big names with the movie. Director Rajesh Mapuskar (part of Rajkumar Hirani’s team), Ashutosh Gowarikar (Oscar nominated Director), Priyanka Chopra, Boman Irani and so on. The promos were hilarious. The Marathi song sung by Priyanka Chopra was being shared on social networks. I had to go and watch the movie in the theater.

The script revolves around events of only a few hours and still has a very large ensemble to deal with. Prasanna (Jitendra Joshi) is a novice politician. His father, known to the extended family as Gaji Kaka, is admitted to the hospital just before Ganesh Chaturthi, and is kept on a ventilator. As patriarch of a very large family, Gaji Kaka was going to announce the distribution of the ancestral property during the festival. His illness has put that and the festivities in jeopardy. 

The fallout is presented in two acts. At the start of the first act, Raja (Ashutosh Gowarikar) gets a phone call about this while he is arranging a preview of his upcoming film. Then one by one, all relatives, from Konkan to Kolhapur, get the news, and start pouring in. Their reactions, their motivations, their real and petty grievances, their relationships with each other - these all simultaneously are at the core of the movie in the first act, and the movie is firmly in the comedy genre. The second act shifts more into the drama genre with the father-son relationship at its heart. 

Both the acts have their strengths and weaknesses. The comedy is based on acute observation and is just spot on. I can bet, you have met all these characters in real life, just with different names. It will make you chuckle, make you laugh and make you nod your head, going, “Yeah, I can relate to that”. It is a bit repetitive though in places where everyone wants to treat Raja Kaka differently because of his fame. Minor issue. It’s a very enjoyable first act. Second act manages to touch you a bit more deeply. It has its melodrama, which is both effective and cliched. It’s definitely not a manipulative tear-jerker.

It’s an amazing feat to develop so many characters, admittedly a caricature but still, the sheer number makes me applaud the effort. This would not have been possible without the exceptional cast. There is no way to overstate this. Everyone, every single one, is perfect. 

The writing is exemplary. It’s no easy task to mix humor and a serious situation without showing disrespect. It succeeds because it uses comedy that is more of a commentary on human nature than any silliness.

The teamwork of actors and writers make this a very good movie, although it could have been a bit shorter. It’s also family friendly. I definitely recommend it.

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