Mumbai, 26 May 2018 6:00 IST
Sobat, directed by Milind Ukey, is like a compilation of immature short films.
The digital age has made filmmaking much simpler. But this has a major drawback. Now, just about anybody with a camera and a few ‘actors’ makes and inflicts films upon an unsuspecting audience. Don't believe me? Just check out some of the countless short films on the internet that seem to have been made just for the heck of it.
Director Milind Ukey’s Sobat is like a compilation of many such short films. It is yet another Marathi movie that proves that all you need is some resources to make a film, content be damned.
Sobat is about college students Karan (Himanshu Visale), Jyoti (Ruchira Jadhav) and their friends. They live in the same housing colony in Mumbai and lead carefree lives.
A married couple arrives in the colony along with their domestic help Gauri (Monalisa Bagal). Karan and Gauri fall for each other after their first meeting. Their relationship soon becomes serious. However, Gauri has not told Karan that she is a domestic help.
For most of its duration, Sobat is like a puzzle where one struggles to find a proper story and an element of conflict but to no avail. All we get is one gag after another. And everyone tries to outdo everyone else in hamming.
On the one hand, Karan behaves like an immature teenager. But there are times when he gives lengthy speeches on the legal system in India. In between, he falls for Gauri simply because she is cast opposite him in the film. A large part of the second half is devoted to juvenile court scenes which remind you of disputes among students in class.
Spoilers begin: Out of nowhere, the importance of sex education is brought in through situations that make you queasy. Try fathoming this – Gauri’s pastime is to sneakily watch her masster and mistress, who are forever feeling randy, getting intimate. It is for this reason that she does not even allow a carpenter to fix the lock of their bedroom. That would deprive her of her jollies, you see.
That’s not all. When the lady of the house is away, she tries to get intimate with the man. The outcome? No, she is not fired. Instead, she is treated to a crash course in sex education! And the entire sequence has nothing much to do with the main plot. If there is a main plot, that is.
After what feels like an interminable journey, a plot twist finally arrives. Unfortunately, it only takes the film further downhill. It happens when Karan gets eager to kiss Gauri. But thanks to the sex education she has received, she declines. Now she believes one should wait for marriage.
But every problem has a solution. So the two decide to marry secretly just so they can kiss! It is only at the very end that we realize that the film is appealing for a reduction in the age of marriage in India. All for a kiss! End of spoilers.
Veteran actor Vijay Gokhale [known for his character Gokhale in the hit 1990s television series Shrimaan Shrimati] makes a comeback to Marathi cinema with this film and we wonder why. To be fair, he and Pradeep Velankar, who plays Karan’s grandfather, are the only ones who display some acting chops.
The less said about the gang of young artistes, the better. Himanshu Visale does have some screen presence but is a misfit in his role. Monalisa Bagal struggles. Ruchira Jadhav tries too hard to imitate Kajol’s character from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998). The rest of the gang is just forgettable. Nagesh Bhonsle alone shows some maturity.
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