Mumbai, 23 Nov 2018 8:00 IST
The Pravin Vitthal Tarde directorial has its flaws but is an interesting attempt nonetheless.
Om Bhutkar has proved his mettle as a supporting actor in Marathi cinema over almost a decade with films like Deool (2011), Astu: So Be It! (2014), Lathe Joshi (2018) and Nude (2018). In Pravin Vitthal Tarde’s Mulshi Pattern, he gets the chance to play not just the lead but someone who is present in almost all scenes in the movie.
To say Bhutkar grabs the opportunity with both hands would be an understatement. He lives and breathes every action and emotion of a character forced by circumstances to enter the murky world of crime.
Bhutkar enters the film from behind a poster that gets torn. This turns out to be quite symbolic of his arrival as a powerful performer through this film.
Mulshi Pattern revolves around a family in Mulshi taluka of Pune district. Patil (Mohan Joshi) is forced to sell his farmland for what appears to be a big sum, but the money is exhausted quickly and he is forced to take up a job as a watchman. This is the reason his son Rahul (Bhutkar) hates him.
The Patil family is forced to migrate to Pune owing to their financial constraints and take up residence in a slum. Patil also takes on the task of loading and unloading goods. Frustrated with the life his family is living, Rahul gets involved in a crime. This brings him into contact with a notorious gangster (Tarde), a man with immense clout. And thus begins Rahul’s never-ending journey through the underworld. But how far will he go?
For those exposed to Hindi or Tamil cinema, crime sagas are nothing new. And most of the Marathi cinema audience watches Hindi films at least. But for much of its duration, Mulshi Pattern does not appear to be your regular gangster film. The story of people from a farming family being forced to take to crime is novel and emotionally appealing, not just because farmers are our annadata, or providers of sustenance, but also because of the farm distress in many parts of the country, including Maharashtra, over the past couple of decades.
The film is narrated intelligently through flashbacks. As Rahul is literally running for his life, he comes across different characters; each of them takes us to the backstory. The director establishes the story and the characters in the first half quite well. This also ensures that the missing link of Rahul’s rise through the ranks does not bother you much.
But what does bother us is the second half, after the interval, which does not have much of a tale to tell. The narrative just goes round in circles with much killing and shouting. By the time the film reaches its end, it closely resembles your tried-and-tested gangster flick while you are simply exhausted.
The film also has a couple of flaws that can’t be ignored. A shocking act by a child is just hard to believe. And when Rahul starts running for his life, he is attacked by hoodlums with guns. But as soon as the chase gains momentum, the guns disappear and he is only attacked with sharp weapons.
Cinematographer Mahesh Limaye has displayed his creativity in quite a few Marathi films, most notably in Rege (2014), another underworld movie. He creates the same intensity in the scenes here, too, with his smart use of angles.
The background music is loud at times but not out of place. The songs, most of them played in the background, are a pleasant surprise. The rowdy track ‘Aa Ra Ra Ra’ is perfect for a gangster's party.
The rest of the performances, too, are praiseworthy. Upendra Limaye is very believable as the honest cop torn between duty and intentions. Mohan Joshi, Mahesh Manjrekar, Savita Malpekar, the actor playing Rahul's best friend and the child artiste, too, are earnest. Director Tarde makes an impact in his limited on-screen role.
Despite its flaws, Mulshi Pattern is still an interesting attempt that deserves to be watched.
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