Jivan Sandhya review: Over-sentimental, overlong drama that has its own pleasures

Release Date: 09 Nov 2021

Cinestaan Rating

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Suyog Zore

The film starring Ashok Saraf and Kishori Shahane Vij tells the story of two old people who decide to get married over their children's opposition.

It is generally said that love has no age limit. One can fall in love at any age. Director Deepak Prabhakar Mandade's feature Jivan Sandhya (2021), starring Ashok Saraf and Kishori Shahane Vij, a popular pair from 1990s Marathi cinema, tries to explore this idea.

Jivan Sandhya is a story of two widowed old people who are living boring lives. Jivan Abhyankar (Saraf) lives with his son Ankur (Sameer Dharmadhikari) and daughter-in-law Pratibha (Ruchita Jadhav). Although he loves them and they love him, he still feels lonely.

One day he meets Sandhya Abhyankar (Shahane Vij) and feels an instant connection. Sandhya is a widow living alone after her daughter's marriage. After a few more meetings, both realize they like each other's company and would like to spend the rest of their lives together. But the children oppose this new relationship. And this provides the central conflict in this relationship drama.

In a movie, it is never as much about what the story is and what it wants to convey as about how it approaches the task. And here Jivan Sandhya leaves a lot to be desired. The story as well as the way it is presented feel very outdated. Those unnecessarily over-the-top outbursts of the son, the melodramatic background score to make us feel for the couple, those extreme close-ups, everything just screams 1990s. Even the supporting characters, like Jivan's son Ankur, seem to have stepped out of some 1990s movie. Although he loves and respects his father, he is not ready to see him finally lead a happy life. The film offers no logical reason for his opposition to his father's desire.

There is a lot of talk in the film and sometimes the conversations appear superfluous. Instead of a free-flowing conversation between two people, the dialogues feel like a sermon on the loneliness of old people.

Another thing that works against the film is its length. At 2 hours 20 minutes, it is simply too long, especially for such a topic. On more than a few occasions, you lose interest as things start to get repetitive until you are suddenly pulled back into the proceedings with an interesting twist.

In spite of these shortcomings and the overly sentimental scenes, especially in the latter half, the film never completely bores you and most of the credit for that must go to the two leads, Saraf and Shahane Vij.

Saraf, best known for his comic roles, gets a lot of scope to show his dramatic abilities here as he goes from a healthy old man to one who is bedridden. But the director should have controlled his urge to make the veteran overact, especially during key emotional scenes. This overacting prevents Saraf's performance from shining through as powerfully as it could have. Shahane Vij does a fine job, especially in those tender, vulnerable moments involving her and Saraf's characters.

The film has some hummable, soothing songs composed by Atul Bhalchandra.

Jivan Sandhya is the kind of film you wouldn't choose to watch. It is melodramatic, the filmmaking is outdated and sometimes too simplistic. But once you start watching it, you are sure to feel that it isn't so bad after all. A pretty formulaic movie, it doesn't offer anything new, yet it has its own pleasures.

Jivan Sandhya was premiered on 9 November on Amazon Prime Video.


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