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Baban review: This tragic love story is neither convincing nor novel

Release Date: 23 Mar 2018 / Rated: A / 02hr 00min

Cinestaan Rating

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Keyur Seta

A tragedy without a purpose, Baban only leaves the audience depressed and disturbed.

Over the last five or six years, the audience has been subjected to a number of Marathi films based on the village life. Most of these are tragic love stories surrounding youngsters or adolescents. The most popular of these were Sairat (2016) and Fandry (2014), both directed by Nagraj Popatrao Manjule.

The success of these two films, and a few other similar ones, has ensured that they become the yardstick for the audiences to judge a newly released film from this genre. Needless to say, more often than not one finds content repeated too. This is one of the reasons why Sameer Asha Patil’s recently released Yuntum (2017) didn’t appear to be good, although it was well made and had some good performances.

Similar is the case with Bhaurao Karhade’s Baban. It not only lacks a new plot, but also suffers from a slow-paced script, among other issues.

The film is the story of Baban (Bhausaheb Sahahji Shinde), who lives in a village in Maharashtra and belongs to the lower economic class. His unemployed father is a drunkard who keeps loitering away in the village while continuously extorting money from Baban and his mother. The responsibility of running the house falls on Baban. While he is a student, he also keeps the family fed by running a business of supplying milk.

Baban has a huge thorn in his path in the form of his classmate (Abhay Chavan) who is also into milk business. The competition is cut throat with both youngsters eyeing on similar clients. Chavan's character is also jealous of Baban since their beautiful classmate (Gayatri Jadhav) likes Baban. The young protagonist is trying to juggle his life amidst all this chaos.

Baban is yet another Marathi movie that adds a lot of reality while capturing the village life. Utmost care has been taken to recreate not just random, everyday scenes from a village, but also for incidents like accidents. The production design deserves much credit for recreating poor people’s houses and its interiors. The director had achieved this feat in his much appreciated debut film Khwada (2015) too.

Ranjeet Mane’s camerawork perfectly gels with the realistic theme. A few of the aerial shots are a treat to the eyes. Thankfully, he has steered clear from the temptation of overdoing them.

These plus points, however, don’t take the film far as it lags behind in its writing. The primary issue with Baban is that it keeps dragging, even in the first half. And the addition of too many songs makes it worse.

The film is promoted as a love story but there is not much of romance happening for most part of the film. What it has are every-so-often seen scenes of a boy and a girl eyeing each other in slow motion. Also, important subplots, like that of Baban’s rich client, are not convincing enough. A shocking moment in the film comes when a prime character is shot but the event is not given any importance whatsoever by the other characters.

The biggest problem with Baban is that it leaves the audience depressed and disturbed. Not to say that these emotions are not appreciated, but it is better if the tragedy has a purpose.

These aside, the film should be appreciated for its perfect casting and convincing performances. Bhausaheb Shahaji Shinde brings out exactly the kind of young tough boy one finds in villages and small towns. His body language and expressions largely contribute to the performance.

Gayatri Jadhav appears average for most part of the film, but shines in the climax. A little more detail on the background of the character would have helped her cause.

Abhay Chavan and Devendra Gaikwad (who plays the evil politician) get their villainous acts right. The film has a host of good supporting aritstes as well, except for the actor playing Baban’s father who overdoes the drunken act on few occasions.