Mumbai, 05 Aug 2022 9:00 IST
Directed by Dr Saleel Kulkarni, the film has a fine act by child artiste Arjun Purnapatre.
When music composer Dr Saleel Kulkarni turned filmmaker with the Mukta Barve-starrer Wedding Cha Shinema (2019), he made it clear that his interest lies in making family-oriented films, something which Rajshri Productions has been doing since ages.
His next, Ekda Kaay Zala (2022), is also a film about a family that can be seen by people of all ages together. However, this movie is hugely different from his debut feature for it tells an unusual story of a bond between a father and his son.
Ekda Kaay Zala revolves around Kiran (Sumeet Raghvan), who runs a school named Nandanvan in Pune, Maharashtra where children are taught various subjects through storytelling and the use of theatre. The school specializes in staging plays once a month where students get to perform. Kiran is struggling to find a permanent venue for the plays and has a dream of having an amphitheater at his disposal for that purpose.
Kiran is married to Shruti (Urmila Kanetkar Kothare), who works in the medical field as the head of a laboratory. Kiran’s son Chintan (Arjun Purnapatre), who studies in the same school, is deeply attached to his father. So much so that he wants to become exactly like Kiran when he grows up.
This happy family is suddenly faced with a jolt which completely turns Kiran and Shruti’s life on its head. Now, it becomes a challenge for them to explain the situation to Chintan.
Ekda Kaay Zala transports you to the world of Kiran and his school. Although there are certain questions raised about its workings, you don’t mind that much because of the noble deeds of the protagonist and how he uses theatre to provide education. Kulkarni has succeeded in presenting even the everyday situations, especially in the first half, in a feel-good manner without much effort.
The father-son bond forms an important part of the film and Ekda Kaay Zala scores well here. Thankfully, the film does not overdo this aspect by adding forceful emotional moments and there is also a complete absence of melodrama. This is also achieved through the natural performances of Raghvan and Purnapatre. The latter has come up with a convincing act of a kid deeply attached to his father at such a young age.
It is no surprise to see Raghvan fitting his character to the T. But more importantly, he is appealing in the transformation part too.
Kothare doesn’t have a lengthy role but she succeeds in being Kiran’s emotional support. Mohan Agashe, Suhas Joshi, Pushkar Shrotri and the child who plays the beggar also leave an impact. Mukta Barve does justice to the character of a child psychologist in an extended cameo.
While Ekda Kaay Zala gets the aforementioned parts right, it doesn’t score brownie points after the arrival of the major twist. The obstacle the family faces (which is smartly hidden in the trailer) has been explored in quite a few films before, both Indian and international. The narrative does move you in bits but it doesn’t provide the kind of emotional punch that you expect from films with this theme, especially during the climax.
More importantly, the biggest conflict about the parents explaining their situation to Chintan is solved in a half-baked manner. The second half also features an important event in Dubai which isn’t fully convincing.
While Ekda Kaay Zala isn’t a bad film, it certainly had the potential to score higher through its emotional tale.
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