Mumbai, 13 Mar 2020 9:30 IST
The film suffers from poor writing and handling and only Vikram Gokhale's towering presence keeps it from falling apart.
The trailer of Milind Lele’s AB Aani CD gave an indication that the film’s basic plot might be similar to Ramapada Chowdhury’s Bengali short story, Chhad. The movie confirms this.
Interestingly, Chowdhury’s short story was officially adapted in the Bengali movie Borunbabur Bondhu which was released just two weeks ago.
AB Aani CD revolves around the 74-year-old Chandrakant Deshpande aka CD, who stays with his two sons, their wives and children in Pune. It has been a while since he retired. As his wife (Neelima Kulkarni) passed away a few years ago, loneliness has got the better of him.
But what hurts him the most is that he constantly faces insults from his family members, except his grandchildren, as well as outsiders. All Deshpande now wishes for is to die peacefully and get reunited with his wife in the afterlife.
However, his life takes a different turn when he receives a letter from Hindi film legend Amitabh Bachchan. The actor says he and Deshmukh were classmates at school in Allahabad and sends CD an invitation to celebrate their teacher’s 100th birthday. His family members are overjoyed while Deshpande himself is baffled.
The subplots, treatment and climax in AB Aani CD are different from those of Borunbabur Bondhu, but the basic premise remains the same: a retiree seen as a burden by family members suddenly getting respect when an important personality, a friend from his younger days, decides to call on him. If this is a coincidence, it's too big to ignore.
But the film fails to rise above an average level. It is Vikram Gokhale’s towering image and performance that prevents it from falling apart. He makes you feel for his character.
Akshay Tanksale is the next best from the main cast. Subodh Bhave and Amitabh Bachchan make an impact despite playing cameos.
Except for these pluses, AB Aani CD is mostly disappointing. For one, the narrative tries too hard to show how badly Deshpande is ill-treated, especially the scene at a park where a young man insults him. You feel for Deshpande only because of Gokhale’s performance, not because of the content.
This brings back memories of Sanjay Soorkar’s Tu Tithe Me (1998). That film used such subtlety to show the negative behaviour of grown-up children towards the retired old couple played by Mohan Joshi and Suhas Joshi that you can feel the pain even 22 years later. Unfortunately, subtlety is not in evidence in AB Aani CD.
The problems don't end here. The narrative becomes wayward in the pre-climax and climax and quite a few important questions related to logic pop up in the viewer's mind. They remain unanswered.
The film's ending moments hamper the performance of Sayali Sanjeev the most. At other times, the supporting artistes overact with a vengeance.
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