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Durdamya Lokmanya review: Vikram Gokhale narrates the inspiring story of a revolutionary

Release Date: 20 May 2022

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Keyur Seta

Directed by Vinod Pawar, the 67-minute documentary does justice to the persona of the freedom fighter.

Not so long ago, filmmaker Om Raut made his debut with the impactful Bal Gangadhar Tilak biopic Lokmanya: Ek Yugpurush (2015) where Subodh Bhave played the lead role.

Director Vinod Pawar’s documentary on the same personality, Durdamya Lokmanya: To Swarajyasingh Ek, highlights a different and interesting side of Tilak. 

Born in 1856 in Ratnagiri, Tilak was a freedom fighter, social reformer, journalist and teacher. The strongest advocate of ‘Swaraj' [self-rule], he was imprisoned quite a few times for his radical articles in his newspaper Kesari. He died in 1920 in Mumbai [then Bombay]. 

The 67-minute documentary looks at the entire life and times of the leader, affectionately known as Lokmanya Tilak.

Writer Ambarish Mishra has succeeded in presenting every milestone in Tilak's life. The film also touches upon his friendship with fellow revolutionary Gopal Ganesh Agarkar and how they drifted apart later due to differences of opinion. But we are also told that continued to respect each other despite not being the best of friends. 

Durdamya Lokmanya lists a number of incidents from Tilak’s life that couldn’t find a place in his biopic. For example, he was once requested by Dnyan Prakash, the head of a rival newspaper, to write an editorial as they didn’t have anyone available. Tilak agreed despite Dnyan Prakash being critical of him in the past. In fact, Tilak not only adapted the writing style of Dnyan Prakash but also criticized himself once in the piece. 

Actor Vikram Gokhale, who narrated the film, has done as much as the writer and director to make the documentary interesting and engaging. His passion for the subject is palpable throughout. He mentions a lot of details about incidents and dates but it never seems as if he had memorized them. The rest of the intellectuals, who appear as narrators in parts also do well. 

Actor Pramod Pawar appears as Tilak, and he is convincing in the role. 

Having said that, the film could have been crisper in the middle portion and there should have been more visuals. 

Durdamya Lokmanya: To Swarajyasingh Ek was screened at the 17th Mumbai International Film Festival on 1 June 2022.


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