Sandeep Sawant is the man who has inspired and led to a revolution of Marathi Cinema with his India’s Official entry “Shwaas (2004)”. It took him more than 10 years to make his second film, it clearly shows his dedication towards the cinema, research and development once you watch his latest offering “Nadi Vahate” (River Flows).
The film is set in the village besides River Antes which is flowing since centuries roughly through a 35-40kms stretch along many villages. Here, the main characters are an activist group of 6-8 people, which includes Guruji, Anagha, her Mother, Bhau, a local tourist guide and an Agriculture Officer. They sense the conspiracy of river bank plots being bought so as to build a 5-star resort besides the River. A local Politician Appa is involved in this conspiracy which they soon realize that it is out of control yet they struggle. Sandeep Sawant breaks the filmmaking wall which is rarely broken in terms of the narrative. Instead of a typically con strived narrative, we are talent directed into the reality of the village. The Screenplay moves steadily unfolding the realism slowly in a subtle yet hard-hitting manner.
The film does not spoon-feed the audience and they are taken into the struggle without divulging any stereotypical backdrops of the characters. It’s a story of a River. The film flows smoothly and calmly, as the reality starts peddling the flow gurgles. In a particular scene, (now) an ex-farmer is asked why did he leave the traditional farming; he replies that in the eyes of other people farming as no dignity. And he invites the group for the tradition of their village’s holy-rituals. The irony is quite visible where migration is taking place hugely, ignorance of environment, ecological issues and state of farming. Well, on the misery part- in such serious film two women from the “upper class” were laughing on the scenes which had the farmers revealing the hardships.
The neo-realism which is often seen in the Italian Cinema is evident here, Sandeep Sawant’s film brilliantly reflects the society in a direct manner. Remarkable in its way of story-telling, pity that such Cinema is not promoted well. The most memorable and highlighting aspect is the Cinematography by Sanjay Memane. He has painted the village frames in such peaceful way that I felt the need to “migrate” to a village. With beautiful and enchanting shots of River by the end of the film, we are totally submerged into the flow. Climax may not be satisfactory to some viewers but it delivers an in-depth perspective towards the Human Ecosystem.
Usage of the lesser known actors is the plus point for a strong narrative. Every actor does a phenomenal job- Vasant Josalkar, Poonam Shetgaonkar, Asha Shelar and Jayant Gadekar. Efficient Sound Design and soulful Background Score by Tushar-Jairaj are mention-able terrific aspects. This is an important film in the history of Marathi Cinema which will go down in terms of Box Office collection but will prevail owing to its usage of Cinema as a powerful medium of story-telling.
River flows…. and will keep flowing for more centuries to come! Impeccable.
Release: 22 September, 2017
Director: Sandeep Sawant
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