Review Marathi

Naal review: Moving tale of a child exploring his relationships

Cinestaan Rating

Release Date: 16 Nov 2018 / 01hr 57min

Keyur Seta

Child artiste Shrinivas Pokale deserves applause for pulling off such a difficult role with relative ease in his very first film.

Various stories of Krishna from Indian mythology have been adapted in movies and plays. First-time director Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti’s Naal is loosely based on one such story from the childhood of Krishna. The film presents a twist in the tale and explores the tender relationship between a child and his mother.

Naal revolves around the naughty yet innocent kid Chaitanya aka Chaitya (Shrinivas Pokale). He lives with his parents (Devika Daftardar and Nagraj Manjule) in a remote village in Maharashtra. His father is a respected landlord. Chaitya is a happy-go-lucky boy who enjoys village life to the fullest until he learns a secret.

The trailer had suggested the film was based on a naughty kid who runs away from home as he is tired of his mother reprimanding him. The makers have successfully kept the plot hidden in an era when it is an unwritten rule to reveal most of the story in the film's promos.

Naal succeeds in transporting you to the world of Chaitya and his peaceful and picturesque village. You are hooked to the tale from the first scene, which is an aerial shot of the village. The protagonist and his friends’ antics are simple, amusing and adorable. The village has a smooth flowing river, much like the film's narrative.

Do not mistake the film to be melodramatic. In fact, its story has plenty of scope for melodrama. But the narrative is kept as simple and subtle. Sudhakar Reddy deserves applause for his mature writing and presentation skills.

His artistes have complemented his style well by expressing their emotions mostly through expressions. Shrinivas Pokale deserves a long round of applause for pulling off such a difficult role with relative ease in his very first film. To put it simply, he stuns you with his acting skills and cuteness.

After establishing the tale in the first half, the film could have plummeted in the second half. However, Naal stays put and reaches the climax in impressive fashion, without any hiccups. In fact, the very last frame ensures you walk out feeling cinematically enriched.

Sudhakar Reddy has worked as a cinematographer for more than a decade. Just like his writing and direction, his camerawork plays a big role in bringing the film on a par with international standards. Naal has a number of shots, both indoor and outdoor, that are creatively handled.

The moments where the child tries to harm his old grandmother might not go down well with some. But they are only testament of the child's innocence and naughtiness.

Naal has no songs because they were not needed. The background score plays its part in evoking the right emotions, especially in the final scene.

Coming to the rest of the performances, Devika Daftardar has proved her acting skills over the years and is impressive yet again. Nagraj Popatrao Manjule has acted convincingly in both the films he directed – Fandry (2014) and Sairat (2016). In Naal, too, he gets into the skin of a simple villager.

After Mangesh Joshi's Lathe Joshi (2018), Seva Chauhan again excels in the role of an ageing woman. Deepti Devi had impressed audiences earlier this year in Mantr (2018). In Naal, she has just a cameo where she hardly says a word but succeeds in making an impact. The child actor impersonating Bachchan is praiseworthy. Om Bhutkar is also impressive in an important cameo.

Overall, Naal is a heartwarming saga that must be watched irrespective of your taste. After Aani... Dr Kashinath Ghanekar, Marathi cinema has come up with another impressive film.

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