It was a choice between seeing Padmavat and Aaplaa Maanus; while the praise was pouring in for Padmavat, my mind and heart were somehow not entirely convinced. Padmavat was in Hindi,  was a known story, and had nothing new. Whereas, Aaplaa Maanus was in my mother tongue,  had an intriguing story, powerful actors, and a taut narrative, judging from the sparse trailer. The Padmavat trailer just failed to impress at an equal level, seeming overdone and rhetorical. So I chose the Marathi movie – and it was a good choice; yehi hai right choice baby, aahaa! This movie qualifies for elite list on my blog as one of the finest I have seen.

 

 

THE STORY

A man commits suicide {or tries to – see the movie to find out} – has an accident – gets murdered {or almost murdered – check the movie} in pouring rain in a rich neighbourhood. Enter Nana Patekar, the cop who is investigating. He goes straight to Sumeet Raghavan and Irawati Harshe, and starts investigating – being clear early on that this isn’t a simple accident. What follows is a gripping narrative of human relationships, as the old man {the father of Sumeet and Irawati} and his relations with his son and daughter-in-law aren’t what they seem to be.

 

Matters get complicated as the skeletons keep tumbling out of the closet at breakneck speed, and it turns out that neither generation has reason to be happy with the other side. The son, desperate to maintain equidistance in an impossible situation; the working wife who feels hemmed in; and the father who feels neglected in all of this. This seems a simple story told many times – I repeat what I said earlier, a script is different from a story. This is a unique story, as we shall see later in the analysis section. Furthermore, it slowly begins to emerge that the cop has, or may have, ulterior motives, and that he has also erred, as he suspects both the Husband and the Wife in turn.

 

 

THE ANALYSIS, AND THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY
Surprised at the title of this section? You should be; what I have told above is just the apparent story; there is a second deeper story, one that is equally engaging. And no, it isn’t a side-turn, or a parallel story.  The same events, same actors, same everything tell another completely different story; and this is what makes this movie unique, and several grades superior to most Hindi, English or Marathi movies I have seen in my life . This story is one of relationships, of responsibility, of ethics and morality, of modern life and its tremendous cost, of right and wrong. The beautiful juxtaposition of this unfolding reality of the human relationship drama and its powerful import takes your breath away and your heart gets captivated, even as your mind is engaged in the mystery, the who-dun-it, and the true intriguing reality of this cop, who is a near humshukl of the victim!

 

The story is multi-layered, and well written; the script and story are the hallmark of the film, apart from the performances of all the actors. There is no flaw anywhere in the movie in this aspect at least. The narrative is tight, taut and fast-paced. The Script has been well written, and holds audience interest. The fast pace of the script rapidly moves the story forward, involving you in mind, spirit and heart as you are drawn into the intrigue of the mystery and the human drama successfully. Best of all, the script seems and feels fresh, new with a different touch, completey removed from the normal fare we have to frequently put up with in cinema – it comes as a breath of fresh air.

 

The performances – incredible, in one word. The load on, and requirements from, each actor were tremendous – as there are only 3 characters in the movie, that is it. And one of the three is Nana Patekar – which means the other two performances have to be equally strong for the movie to be convincing. And this is where Sumeet Raghavan and Irawati Harshe have delivered what has to be the performance of their lives, one of the finest collective performances I have seen in a movie. Audience attention is held by two factors alone – the performances of the three, and the unique story.

 

This is what a true movie is, in reality – not the special effects, at least in my opinion. Stupendous acting, a great script, a great story, a taut narrative, compelling presentation – this is art. Doing something new, fresh , unique and different on a simple old theory, this is art. Getting all these together in one – this is art. Getting, holding and keeping audience interest through sheer dint of acting and thespian performance – this is real art. Directing of all these, this is true art. Getting it all into one great finished product, this is real art; and I was lucky to be treated to one of the finest movies I have seen. Yet again, it is a Marathi movie.