Mumbai, 22 Jan 2021 10:00 IST
The film's important message about blind faith and its repercussions is undermined by director Amol Bhave's heavy-handedness approach.
When the trailer of sound designer-turned-director Amol Bhave's film Peter was released, one couldn't help but notice the film's similarity to the Sandeep Pathak-starrer Idak (2020). Both films revolve around a protagonist who grows fond of a goat that is to be sacrificed by villagers to appease their deity. The only difference being, in Idak, Pathak's character was already aware of the fate awaiting his friend.
Thankfully, the similarities end there. Peter is a completely different film from Idak and Bhave has chosen a much more serious approach to address the important issue of blind faith.
Dhanya (Prem Borhade) is a mischievous yet bright 10-year-old. When his uncle Babaji (Amol Pansare) fails to conceive a child five years into his marriage, the family visits a godman who advises them to offer a goat to the Gods. Dhanya's father (Siddheshwar Siddhesh) and uncle buy a baby goat. Dhanya is tasked with raising the goat, which he happily agrees to do. He soon grows fond of the creature and names it Peter after favourite comic character Peter Parker aka Spider-Man. His family deliberately keeps him in the dark about his friend's fate. Will he eventually discover his family's intentions and will he be able to save the life of his four-legged friend?
The first thing you notice while watching the film is the honest attempt by the director and scriptwriters Kishor Namdev, Yogesh Mote to present the problem of blind faith in a realistic manner. Although the end product fails to achieve the desired result it's still a praiseworthy attempt.
Instead of resorting to subtlety, the film sermonizes to the viewer constantly and this spoon-feeding gets irritating after a point.
The film's screenplay, which is a collaborative effort on the part of Bhave, Namdev and Mote, is inconsistent and fails you keep you engaged. Every few minutes, you tend to drift away until an interesting on-screen occurrence pulls you back in. The film keeps tantalizing you with glimpses of what it could have been.
The gradual change of heart experienced by Dhanya's mother (Manisha Bhor) is shown convincingly but the rest of the characters get a raw deal. Be it Sopan or Babaji, they all appear very one-dimensional. Except for Bhor, all the actors have delivered over-the-top performances, which stick out because of the film's otherwise realistic approach. The one thing that stands out is the bond between mother and son. Borhade's performance is also inconsistent. In some scenes, he is very convincing but in others, he seems to be doing a tad too much.
The director had a really good chance to make a hard-hitting realistic film about belief and its impact on people who live in small villages but he squanders the opportunity by bombarding the viewer with his message.
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