I finally saw this much-hyped marathi movie recently. My mother and sister-in-law(bhabhi) saw it recently and wouldn't rest until they made the entire family see it :) So much so, that they almost bit my head off when I commented in jest that the name of a local mall should be changed as it was too ghati and did not match the sophistication of the mall itself. I regret my words after watching this movie, however.
The movie is so popular that it has been declared tax-free in cinema halls all over Maharashtra. Inspite of being mired in plagiarism controversy at the onset, this film picked up momentum over time and is a raging success everywhere. True, it does borrow the concept of Lage raho Munnabhai loosely, but it is definitely not a copy or even an inspiration. And it does not preach Shivajigiri, like Lage raho teaches Gandhigiri. Its simplicity and inspiring message for ALL Maharashtrians is what has made it a hit among students and middle-class Maharashtrians.
What I liked about the movie is that it has taken a progressive stance on Raj Thackeray's 'Marathi manoos' by including the people from other States who have settled in Maharashtra for decades. The film is not about spreading regionalism. Infact, far from denigrating people from other States, through the historical figure of Shivaji, it takes a rather grim appraisal of why marathi people have been left behind in the rat race. It not only derides the marathi businessmen for taking pride in the fact that they have no branches anywhere (something to be ashamed of really), but also reproves the meekness and laid-back attitude of the middle-class maharashtrian.
The director has woven the character of Shivaji and his right-in-command - Raiba very cleverly into the plot. How the protagonist applies anecdotes from the life of Shivaji to his own life and resurrects his self-esteem, and even his own identity, in the process, is what the movie is all about. Admittedly, it is shamelessly didactic, but its been done with so much finesse, and yes, even wit, that one can easily forgive the lapse. The dialogues and performances by Sachin Khedekar(protagonist) and Mahesh Manjrekar(Shivaji) are the highlights of the movie. The film demands respect for the much misused title of Ghati attributed to Marathi community in general. Says Shivaji that like one has regards for communal sects of Sardar, Shetty or Thakur, the tag of Ghati should be equally acceptable to all and, to start with, the Marathi Manoos himself.
A thought-provoking, feel-good film. Definitely worth watching!
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