Zari review: Makes a mockery of tribal issues

Release Date: 09 Jun 2017 / Rated: U/A

Cinestaan Rating

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  • Story:

Keyur Seta

The film gives a tutorial on how not to narrate a story. 

Over the last few years, Marathi cinema has tackled the difficult task of exploring issues of the tribal population without getting into the documentary zone.

Satish Manwar’s Tuhya Dharma Koncha? (2013) and Amit Abhyankar’s Jana Gana Mana (2012) are the biggest success stories of this genre. But at times you get a film like Raju Meshram’s Zari, which makes a mockery of tribal issues and also gives a tutorial on how not to narrate a story.

The story takes place in the interiors of Maharashtra in a tribal area. Zari (Namrata Gaikwad) is a fun-loving girl who lives with her father. Her mother passes away when Zari is still a kid under tragic circumstances. Zari, along with few other tribal families, lives in extreme poverty. They work as labourers for contractor Shyamanna (Milind Shinde). He not only exploits them but also takes undue advantage of girls and women. In fact, a number of women in the tribal group are single mothers of his children.

Despite being able to get all his wishes fulfilled, Shyamanna is not satisfied. His only desire is to use Zari for his sexual adventures. Zari always manages to avoid him in some way or the other. But one day, things become difficult for her. This is when Mahesh Babu (Aniket Kelkar) enters the scene. He is a rival contractor who is the opposite of Shyamanna. His arrival brings in fresh hope for Zari. Will her life finally change for the good?

To put it simply, Zari doesn’t get you involved at any stage. There is complete immaturity at display when it comes to the writing and presentation. So, obviously, you don’t feel for the protagonist and her sad situation. In fact, there is constant boredom, as apart from Shyamanna’s atrocities, nothing much happens in the first half. Shyamanna's entry infuses some hope. However, from here onwards, the film goes into an unintentionally hilarious mode till the stretched climax.

Needless to say, all this gives rise to a number of questionable moments. Some of them are listed below:

- Shyamanna is shown to be someone who gets his way and nobody can resist him. But despite that, whenever Zari refuses his demands, he doesn’t use force and, in fact, also tolerates her insults. Later on, he vows to stop Mahesh Babu from employing his labourers. But when Mahesh Babu does that, he doesn’t do a thing to him. He pays an angry visit with his two subordinates but returns after only giving him a warning.

- There are some glaring directorial errors. Zari stays in a tribal area, away from civilisation. Her family struggles for their daily living and they hardly have proper clothes to wear. But on more than one occasion, she is seen wearing good footwear.

- In another sequence, she bangs into a car, gets hurt and falls on the road. A character goes towards her and asks, “Aap ko lagi toh nahin?" (Did you get hurt). No, maybe that stretch of road was too tempting to not sleep on it.

- Mahesh Babu enters the film speaking in Hindi as he is from Chattisgarh. But soon enough, he switches over to chaste Marathi with perfect pronunciation.

- The over-the-top background music is used the most in scenes where nothing much is happening, just to give a feeling that a lot is happening.

Coming to the performances, only Namrata Gaikwad scores some points. She had shown promise in her earlier films like Swarajya (2011) and Vijay Aso (2013) as well. Milind Shinde is a terrific artist. But the shoddy content and his one-dimentional characterisation does injustice to his talent. Aniket Kelkar's performance is also hampered by the content. A fine performer like Nagesh Bhosle is also wasted. None of the other actors manage to impress.

Overall, Zari is another inclusion in the list of forgetful Marathi films released in 2017.