Mumbai, 17 May 2018 17:00 IST
Updated: 19 May 2018 13:19 IST
Hrishikesh Joshi and Kishor Kadam shine in their respective acts once again.
Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni’s successful and critically acclaimed Valu: The Wild Bull (2008) was about a group of villagers, and a forest officer (Atul Kulkarni), trying to capture the "wild bull", Valu. The plot of Sameer Asha Patil’s Wagherya instantly reminds you Valu.
Although Wagherya becomes more than a mere search for a wild animal by the time it ends, it lacks a grip that was needed to make it completely interesting. However, the humorous moments are enough for it to warrant the one-time-watch tag.
The village Wagherya is called such as it was once surrounded by tigers (called wagh in Marathi). The story begins with Anna (Bharat Ganeshpure), who feels he has spotted a tiger, while loafing around the village with his friends. He raises an alarm, but not many believe his claim.
Still, the sarpanch (village head) Rambhau (Kishor Kadam) takes it upon himself to find the tiger to protect the people of Wagherya. In reality, he is concerned about gaining popularity so that his dream of becoming an MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) can come true. Rambhau hands over the responsibility to forest officer Waghmare (Hrishikesh Joshi), who is incidentally getting married that day. He somehow completes his wedding ceremony and embarks on the mission against his wishes.
So, has Anna actually seen a tiger in the village? The story also has this underlining mystery that plays in the background.
Wagherya doesn’t have a conventional storyline. It is based on a situation that is played out throughout the film. You don’t feel the lack of a proper storyline most of the times as the situational humour, both conventional and subtle, keeps you entertained. The many characters and their different traits and mottos give rise to those many funny situations.
The runtime of the film is 126 minutes. If an incident-based film is stretched for over two hours, it is vital for it to maintain the grip throughout. Although Wagherya does that most of the times, there comes a period in the second half where the film appears stretched. There are scenes or situations that hardly have any relevance to the main plot. The film could've been much shorter than its actual duration.
Also, if you have watched and enjoyed Valu, memories of the 2008 film will keep coming back to you. Apart from the situation where a group of villagers is trying to capture an animal, even the character of the forest officer is very similar. In Valu, Atul Kulkarni, who played the forest officer, had also embarked on the mission half-heartedly, against his will.
Siddharth Jatla’s camerawork is creative enough to keep you hooked to the proceedings. There are a couple of sequences shot from afar when two people are engaging in a conversation. It becomes a bit confusing to know who's doing the talking. The background music has a mixture of different tunes which works well.
Hrishikesh Joshi and Kishor Kadam never seem to get anything wrong. As always, it is a delight to see them perform. Kadam evokes humour in a subtle manner through his desperation to be an MLA and his obsession with using the English language. Hrishikesh Joshi’s personality and mannerisms help him to mould himself in a wide range of characters. He is effortless here, too.
Bharat Ganeshpure's act as the guy nobody believes is funny. His character gets overshadowed later on. Suhas Palshikar as the gun-wielding, self-proclaimed hunter Patil also gets his act right. The girl who plays the love interest of one of the villagers doesn't have much to do.
Overall, despite some issues Wagherya has its moments that can be savoured once on the big screen.
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