By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | December 14, 2018
Rating: 4 / 5
The essence: The twist in the tale comes at the interval and you wonder how the film will move on. But Aditya Sarpotdar and Mauli Sarjerao Deshmukh have other plans. Any other director would have played safe keeping the tougher Mauli in focus. Sarpotdar is willing to take a gamble, which pays off in the end.
It’s very rare for a villain to come on screen and knock the living daylights out of the hero, as well as those in the audience. Gabbar (Amjad Khan) was the last best villain. Vishnu (Vidyut Jamwal) in Force was another such negative character with a positive impact. Of late there have been quite a few who have shone in a negative role: Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Kick and Tahir Raj Bhasin in Mardaani are two more.
Jitendra Joshi is the new addition to this list as Nana in Mauli. He has you rooting for him for the deft display of his craft. Nothing is over-the-top; he stays within the skin of his character—a devious man with his sway over the villagers. In moments like these, it is easy for an actor to ‘shout out’. Not Jitendra: he defines his character with a mean body language that complements his dialoguebaazi. An actor worth going miles and miles to see!
Siddharth Jadhav and Saiyami Kher are two other actors who could have been ‘loud’. As Renuka, the girl with spice (pun intended), Saiyami adds that touch of glamour as well as love interest. In a not-so-flattering role, she treads the fine line with aplomb. Ditto Siddharth who plays the village bumpkin, wanting to be a real cop! And credit for this goes to Director Aditya Sarpotdar who has a tight sway over the film [where the boundaries of every character is defined] that has all the ingredients which makes for a spicy blockbuster.
Riteish Deshmukh has a grand entry quickly followed by an item song with wife Genelia in a guest appearance that sets the tone for a roller-coaster ride. Lai Bhaari is also looped in here to give it a sort of continuity, or rather, to identify Riteish’s Mauli.
Mauli (Riteish Deshmukh) first uses his fists to flatten his opponents. In a well-stylised fight sequence a la Singham, Wanted and Dabangg. Riteish punches, elbows and lifts his opponents to send them flying to all parts of the open ground. A few scenes later, as an inspector, he is left wiping the blood off his face, as the local goons bash him up on a kabbadi pitch and you wonder what happened to the Rowdy Rathore!
Mauli, we later learn has an identical twin that is always looking after him. Offered to Lord Vithoba after he is delivered ‘stillborn’, his grandmother invokes his blessings when her daughter delivers another child who is kicking all over. She places the robust child near the stillborn and the impact is instant—the mother receives both her sons, alive! Being a single mother, she is able to educate only one, as the other, doubles up whenever the sober Mauli is bullied or has a problem.
The twist in the tale comes at the interval and you wonder how the film will move on. But Sarpotdar and Mauli Sarjerao Deshmukh have other plans. Any other director would have played safe keeping the tougher Mauli in focus. Sarpotdar is willing to take a gamble, which pays off in the end.
Like Ajay Devgan in Phool Aur Kaante, Riteish is riding with confidence on both the motorcycles—Bollywood and Marathi films. In fact, his BP (Balak Palak) set the trend for good Marathi Cinema which was followed by films like Sairat and Lai Bhaari in recent times. The entire canvass which was theatre-like earlier has changed into a vast cinemascope endeavour that is giving Marathi Cinema a much-needed boost.
There’s enough of every sentiment in Mauli to keep the viewer engrossed. The subtle use of religion and soul-stirring folk-like bhajans add weight to the script. The background score by Troy Arif, Sound Design by Arun Nambiar and Music by Ajay-Atul also play a major part in giving Mauli an all-round appeal that completes the entertainment package.
Hindi film releases in the past two months have been below par. Mauli might just tilt the trend this week.
Go for it!
Producer: Genelia Deshmukh
Director: Aditya Sarpotdar
Star Cast: Riteish Deshmukh, Saiyami Kher, Jitendra Joshi, Siddharth Jadhav