Mumbai, 23 Mar 2017 11:55 IST
The film does not boast of a single convincing moment in its entire 130-minute duration.
Marathi cinema has attracted widespread interest among sensible film lovers over the past 7-8 years. Although Sandeep Sawant’s Shwaas (2004), which was India’s official entry for the Oscars that year, marked the emergence of a new era in Marathi cinema, films like Harishchandrachi Factory (2010), another Oscar-nominated movie, and Natarang (2010) made sure that cinema of this language created interest even among non-Marathi-speaking audiences.
Following this, the industry has been churning out meaningful, important films. However, in recent years, the trend of duds has hit Marathi cinema. Although there have been gems like Sairat (2016) and Natsamrat Asa Nat Hone Nahi (2016), the negative trend saw a surge last year and it continues unchecked this year.
In fact, there have been films that make you question their very existence. The recent list includes Dhinchak Enterprise (2015), Vazlach Pahije – Game Ki Shinema (2015), Kalakaar (2015), Deool Band (2015) and last week's Garbh (2017). Suresh Shankar Zhade’s Manus Ek Maati is the latest to make it to this worrisome list.
The story centres on Vijay (Siddharth Jadhav). His parents are killed in a car accident when he is still a child and he is raised by his father’s brother, Babanrao (Ganesh Yadav) and his wife (Harsha Gupte). They raise him like their own child and a strong emotional bond develops between them and Vijay.
Being a farmer, Babanrao lives in poverty. But he makes sure Vijay gets the best of education by mortgaging his ancestral house. When he lacks funds for Vijay’s engineering studies, he secretly sells one of his kidneys. Vijay meets Vidya (Ruchita Jadhav) in college and they fall in love. Vidya is from a wealthy family. Despite that, she is more than happy to marry Vijay and live with his parents. But will life be the same for Vijay and his parents after the marriage?
Manus Ek Maati can’t boast of a single moment that can be deemed convincing in any way. The statement, 'the film goes downhill’, cannot be used here because the graph is at the bottom from the first moment. You keep asking questions like ‘Why?’ and ‘How?’ throughout its duration of 130 minutes.
Have a look at these incidents for instance:
– A man is battling for life in the ICU after meeting with an accident. But there is no life support and he is allowed to speak endlessly with his folks.
– Babanrao sells his kidney and stays in hospital for seven days without his family’s knowledge. When he returns, he cooks up a story about his old friend helping him financially. Nobody asks where he was for a week.
– Vidya agrees to stay with Vijay despite knowing his financial condition. But from day 1 of the marriage, she abhors the fact that she married someone from a lower strata of society. In fact, her character goes through a complete transformation after marriage and there is no explanation for this change.
– Vijay gets rich enough to buy a brand-new car but does not get his house renovated or even repaired.
– Vijay’s uncle (father’s friend) is of his father’s age. But Vijay ages faster than him.
– It seems the actors and director had problems remembering important details of the script. We are earlier told that Vijay’s father is Babanrao’s brother. Moments later Babanrao’s wife refers to him as Babanrao’s friend. Later, Vijay reveals that he has married Vidya. Soon we are told he hasn’t!
– The last 30 minutes are unthinkable in terms of disregard for logic (though revealing details will be a spoiler for anyone who still wants to watch this film).
– During the end credits, a woman appears from nowhere and gives a monologue on how we should take care of our parents. At least they could have made it on a par with moral science lessons in school.
– These questions of ‘Why?’ and ‘How?’ aren’t limited to the storytelling and direction. They are applicable to the silly and loud background score and some amateurish editing, too.
The only positive point is the unintentional laughter, which is in good supply. The dialogues, situations and performances ensure that you are in splits continuously. The same can be said about the performance of Siddharth Jadhav, normally a good actor. Also, it is too much to accept him as a college student. Ganesh Yadav and Harsha Gupte are the only ones you feel like taking seriously. Ruchita Jadhav isn’t bad, but her attempt is hampered by the shoddy script and characterization.
Overall, Manus Ek Maati is an epic blunder.
Reviewed by Keyur Seta