फ़िल्म मीमांसक विष्णु खरे की मराठी फ़िल्म ‘सैराट’ की विवेचना ने अब एक बहस का रूप ले लिया है. ‘सैराट’ के हिंदी ‘मायने’ से शुरू हुआ यह विवाद अब फ़िल्म के मंतव्य तक पहुंच गया है. इसका एक दलित एंगल भी है. इस बहस को आगे बढ़ाते हुए श्री आर. बी. तायडे का आलेख जो मूल अंग्रेजी में है दिया जा रहा है.
श्री आर. बी. तायडे मराठी/अंग्रेज़ी के फिल्म-आलोचक हैं और महाराष्ट्र में अपने फिल्म-क्लब आन्दोलन के कारण जाने जाते हैं. इस फ़िल्म पर मराठी आलोचकों से यह पहली समीक्षा है जो विष्णु खरे के सौजन्य से समालोचन को प्राप्त हुई है.
A blockbuster Marathi movie by Nagraj Manjule
A review by
(rated at 4 out of 10)
With a great hype in the visual media, rave reviews in the press, impressed by his earlier movie \’Fandry” and insistence practically from all my relatives and friends (some of them vouching on oath), I finally saw the film yesterday at City Pride, Kothrud, Pune.
However, it was a great disappointment for me and, I believe, would be so for many among us who might go for it expecting some realistic film like \’Fandry\’. In fact, it turned out to be almost a commercial film made with both the eyes on box-office and only a dash of realism in the second half.
The film, for it\’s long duration of almost 3 hours, is too tiring – particularly the second half drags on and on. Sadly, the film is quite unlike Nagraj\’s much acclaimed first movie \’Fandry\’. The story is nothing new. The plot of upper-caste young girl falling for a poor boy from the lower-caste has been portrayed in number of films since ages with varying consequences – some of them reconciliatory while other others ending in violence. Neeraj Ghaiwan\’s recent film \’Masaan\’, being an example of one of the excellent films on the topic, has an altogether different and twisted ending that effectively surmounted the precarious situation – not, of course, forgetting its portrayal of delicate & innocent romance and down to earth realism. At this juncture, I also remember a 1977 Czechoslovakian film \’Rose Tinted Dreams\’(Ruzove Sny) by Dusan Hanak on the same subject where a well established boy falls for a gypsy \’Roma\’ girl. The film perhaps has the best possible ending to such an impasse by infiltrating surrealism in reality – or was it reality infiltrating in surrealism? Be that as it may, it\’s a great experimental film on such a teenaged romance which, I am afraid, a very few of us might have seen.
And then, the \’honour-killing\’ – which can be deemed to be an essence of the film – is not every day happening, nor every rich village-belle has the same characteristic as depicted in the film. And if at all such a topic is to be brought to fore and portrayed in a film, it should have been done with all its seriousness. But very clever of the promoters of the film not to give even a hint of the darker side of the film in its \’promos\’ and hold onto it\’s box-office collection by simply presenting a rosy picture. This is quite in contrast to what Ashutosh Gowarikar / Amir Khan had done while promoting their film \’Lagaan\’. They kept the best part (Cricket match) out of \’promos\’ when this very hidden part later went on to become the sole winner for the film.
Incidentally, in the very first shot, the film latches onto the same \’Lagaan\’, filters in a little bit of romance of \’Fandry\’ & \’Shaala\’, further stuffs it with Bollywood kind of songs, dances, musical euphoria – laced with western tunes, adds a glamorous cinematography and finally tries to add a dash of realism that\’s too tiring as well as depressing.
Further, I find several flaws in the film…
1. The story, script and dialogues are not meticulously conceived. The village’s headman, aspiring to be a leader in politics, committing such atrocities and getting Scot-free in the present much conscious socio / political scenario appears a bit too much. The Maharashtrian lady rescuing the couple at Hyadrabad, subsequent rise in the stature of this rustic & uneducated couple to the extent of earning 40 K and even looking for a posh apartment seems all too sudden and a bit far-fetched. In fact, that\’s the period when their true struggle for survival had begun. I found hardly any emotionally touching scenes, except for 2 scenes – the first when Archi (Rinku Rajguru) remembers her mother & home and secondly when she gets overtly emotional when she looks at the presents sent by her mother. Archie, who was shown so brave and defiant before is suddenly shown as very weak & mundane girl in the second half. Many dialogues are repetitive and lose their relevance. The police loosing track of the girl of such an influential leader for years together, the film looking like divided into two separate halves and so on.
2. The actors have simply acted and understandably so because most of them being non professionals, but what troubles most is the total lack of on screen chemistry between the lead couple – especially when it\’s an intense love story.
3. I must say the cinematography is too good, but sadly it\’s restricted to the first half only. The shot of birds (hopefully captured by the crew in reality), the slow-motion romantic scenes (like we often see in Bollywood movies) are truly fabulous. But how many times should they be employed and for how long? Doesn\’t it loose it\’s relevance as well as effect. The shots of the swing along the shore of the lake, zoom-in shots of palace etc. Are certainly good to watch but do they have any relevance to the village scenario and dormant theme of the movie? Well, they might be fabulous for a Bollywood films, but not so good for this kind of theme.
4. Music by Ajay-Atul is mind-blowing…has already created a craze all over the nation. The incorporation of western symphonies (boastfully played and recorded in Hollywood) is simply marvelous. No wonder, if Ajay Atul again become strong contenders for National Award as they had been before for their music for the film \’Jogwa\’. But sad part is that the music, in spite of its outstanding melody, is as irrelevant to the basic theme and scenario of this movie as it was for their past music award winning film \’Jogwa\’. And that “Zin..zing…zingat” song tops it all. I am yet see a village-headman inviting the entire village for the dancing at the birthday bash. And then, the projector operators of Indian Cinema Halls have different ideas about the comfort of their audience. Come such song and they play it full-blast. No matter how many cotton balls you stuff in your ears, you can\’t stop the jarring sound piercing your ear-drums. I strongly advise, move out of theater when this song comes on screen. You can always listen to it in a cozy comfort of your home in mp3 with a volume of your choice.
5. The editing too is sloppy. Many scenes are unnecessarily repeated. For instance the stinking scene of Aarchi on way to the toilet is repeated till we really feel nauseated. And then the scene in which Archie is shown giving alms to the beggar! Has this scene any relevance to the situation or the theme? A good editor can do justice to the film by cutting many such unnecessary scenes and make it sleeker perhaps by half an hour or so for the good.
So, in conclusion, the film is more of a commercial film rather than any realistic or art-house film and must be seen as such. However, Nagraj Manjule is known for making a realistic films and one wishes he soon reverts back to his original. And if he does, best thing for him to begin would be with the last scene of \’Sairat\’ where the blood-stained footprints of the kid are seen lost into oblivion.
Well, I returned home with a heavy heart and I switched on an old 1951 B&W movie \’Sanam\’ starring Dev Anand, Suraiya and Meena Kumar on the home-projector just to get back into my normal self though knowing fully well that what I was about to watch was utter nonsense. To my surprise, this old film \’Sanam\’ went far ahead of this film \’Sairat\’ in terms of love affairs. In \’Sairat\’ a rich girl falls for a poor guy, but in \’Sanam\’ the rich girl and a daughter of an established lawyer, Suraiya, falls for a jail-breaker, Dev Anand….after all it\’s Bollywood !!!
So my recommendation – go for this movie, watch it once as any other Bollywood movie, but preferably keep the kids below 15 away for they are likely to draw altogether different conclusion than wishfully intended. I gave this this movie 4 out of 10 for its music, cinematography, entertainment value and handling subject of social relevance.
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