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Review Marathi

Mahaprayan review: This 83 minute film has been shot in a single take

Release Date: 23 Nov 2017 / 01hr 23min

Cinestaan Rating

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Keyur Seta

The film is far from perfect in terms of plot development, but the technical achievement and the performances deserve to be seen.

Director Nilesh Karamunge’s Konkani film Mahaprayan speaks about the terrible financial condition of a rural family. The subject may not sound novel because films on poverty have been and are made aplenty in India in various languages.

But this won’t cross your mind while watching the film because it amazes you by what it achieves in terms of its shooting. The entire 83 minute film has been shot in a single take!

So, throughout the film, the scene doesn’t change and there is no editing. This is indeed a rare feat. Mahaprayan is touted to be the first Konkani film to achieve this feat and just the 21st uncut feature film in the world.

Mahaprayan revolves around Tulsidas (Dhananjay Amonkar) who lives with his wife and daughter Kaali (Aarya Ghare) in the village Naikwadi in the Konkan region of Maharashtra. A poor man, Tulsidas gets a huge financial jolt when his wife is admitted to hospital on account of a severe illness. The harassed man gets able support from Kaali, who is a mature girl. Somehow Tulsidas struggles to pay for his wife's treatment, only to learn one day that she has died.

Now comes a bigger problem. Tulsidas needs to pay Rs7000 to get his wife’s body moved from the hospital in an ambulance. However, that amount is next to impossible for him to cough up. But the hospital authorities want the body removed soon so that the bed is freed up for another patient.

A young doctor on internship (Reshma Bora) tries to help the struggling father and daughter, but she is powerless. Left with no option, Tulsidas decides to carry her wife’s body on his shoulders. But how far can he go? 

The film starts with the arrival of an autorickshaw from which a tired-looking Tulsidas emerges. It looks like a normal event. Only after a few moments do you realize that the scene is not changing, particularly if you are someone who hasn't heard about the movie and its claim to fame yet.

A photograph from the making of the film

However, you are impressed as you realize the feat the film is trying to achieve. It is a different thing to try such a thing indoors. Like how a 111-minute episode of the popular Hindi television series CID was shot in a single take. But here there are outdoor sequences of characters halting, getting into a bus or coming out, and some characters approaching the main characters in other vehicles. 

To pull off something like this is remarkable indeed. One can just imagine the rehearsals that must have taken place. There is one flaw when Bora and Aarya Ghare’s characters move out of the hospital. But looking at the overall film, this isn’t much of a bother. 

One person who had the most painful task, literally, in the shooting of the film was cinematographer Sameer Bhaskar. No praise is enough for his skill and effort in carrying the equipment continuously for this duration and not goofing up. 

Having said that, the film itself is far from perfect, if we keep the technical achievement aside. After the story is established, the proceedings become tedious in the second half as there is not much of a story to tell, which tests your patience.

Mahaprayan is also a film with one of the more juvenile portrayals of television news reporters. You are taken aback by their over-the-top antics.

Shooting a film in a single take also poses a big challenge for the artistes. They have to be as prepared as if acting in a play. But the cast of Mahaprayan has lived up to the demands. Dhananjay Amonkar’s act makes you feel for the character. He is a complete natural. 

Child artiste Aarya Ghare also had a difficult task which she carries out with her mature acting skills. Reshma Bora, as the young doctor, is a fine talent. 

Overall, Mahaprayan achieves a rare feat, which is good enough reason to watch the film. 

Mahaprayan was screened at the LIFFT India Filmotsav in Lonavala on Sunday 9 December 2018.


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