Mumbai, 22 Nov 2019 18:13 IST
Updated: 23 Nov 2019 12:30 IST
The Sai Tamhankar and Rajesh Shringarpure-starrer has a novel concept.
An important aspect about the modern society, especially in the urban areas, is that women are no longer willing to continue a marriage that is making them feel worthless. Contrary to the old eras, they are now financially independent as they are not at the mercy of their husbands.
But while the woman might get freed from the clutches of a bad marriage, she then has to face the brunt of the society as if she committed a crime. There is also a question of what to do after divorce, especially if she is young. Director Gajendra Ahire’s Kulkarni Choukatla Deshpande (2019) looks at these aspects from the point of view of Jaya (Sai Tamhankar).
Jaya opts for a divorce from her husband Avinash Deshpande (Nikhil Ratnaparkhi) because of his strange nature and way of living. She also gets the custody of their son Ameya. Jaya starts life afresh after she gets a lucrative job of a manager in a music studio. She comes in contact with Satish (Rajesh Shringarpure) and they slowly fall in love. Satish is also a single parent who has a son, Rahul.
Jaya and Satish decide to get married. She believes life is set, but she has to face taunts from her own mother (Neena Kulkarni), who makes her feel guilty for divorcing a ‘good’ man. But Jaya and Satish’s major hurdle is getting their respective sons to bond with one another. To achieve that, the four of them set out on a trip to Ladakh.
There have been few stories about what happens to a man or woman, in their 30s, after a divorce. Director Satish Rajwade’s Premachi Goshta (2013) movingly told the story of two divorcees (Atul Kulkarni and Sagarika Ghatge) falling in love. But what after that? This question is explored in Kulkarni Chaukatla Deshpande.
Hence, it is safe to say that the story of divorcees falling in love and facing its consequences is a novel concept, at least for Marathi cinema. As a writer and director, Ahire has laid the foundation of the story and established the situation in a natural manner. As Jaya goes through the adjustments of her changed life, you deeply feel for her.
Of course, this became possible because of Tamhankar’s mature act as she transforms from a salwar-kameez wearing housewife to an independent woman in the media sector. Shringarpure is a good pair for her and he turns out to be a decent support, although we hardly get to know of his back story.
Jaya's profession in the music field has provided the makers a chance of placing few songs after regular intervals. Thankfully, the tracks are impressive and they don't turn out to be an obstacle.
Jaya’s story has few important conflict elements. However, they appear half-baked as nothing much comes out of it post-interval and the narrative appears to be a drag. But what hurts the film badly is one decision taken by Jaya in the pre-climax, which is a mixture of shock and stupidity. This takes away all the sympathy you had for the her and it also hurts the very purpose of telling the story of an independent divorced woman.
There is another major issue with Kulkarni Chaukatla Deshpande. Before the release of the film, Ahire and Ratnaparkhi said in their interviews that the latter’s character is the surprise element of the film. This is true, but the only problem is that the surprise isn’t pleasant.
He is shown to be a complete clown or joker without any rhyme of reason. He doesn’t appear real in any way. They could have shown him to be a normal person who is not suitable for Jaya. But he seems like one of those side comedians from Rohit Shetty’s films. Having said that, Ratnaparkhi performs his task well and makes you laugh, but it’s all wasted because the character is in the wrong film.
His antics also make you also question Jaya for marrying him after, hold your breath, falling in love with him. It is impossible that she didn’t know about his ways before the marriage as this wasn’t a forced arranged marriage for her.
Overall, Kulkarni Chaukatla Deshpande shows promise of being a novel and bold saga about relationships in the current urban society only to spoil it later.
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