Contents: 1. Overview  | 2. Special Mention  | 3. Top 5  |

Marathi Films had a commercial underwhelming run and as usual only a handful of films received critical and commercial reception. While it is to be noted that, a Marathi film “Kaasav”  by Sumitra Bhave-Sunil Sukhthankar won the National Award for Best Film. [READ THE REVIEW] Last year’s National Award-winner for Best Marathi Film, “Ringan” released in June to a viable commercial response.

Acclaimed-director Paresh Mokashi (Dir. Harishchandrachi Factory) made his comeback after “Elizabeth Ekadashi” (2014) with an interesting concept which was brought down by its over-the-top drama- “Chi Va Chi Sau Ka”. Mahesh Manjrekar directed a high school musical starring the ‘Sairat’ actor Akash Thosar, aimed at the youngsters the film smartly titled “FU: Friendship Unlimited” was a miserable pity.

Priyanka Chopra’s second Marathi venture “Kay Re Rascala” sank without a trace. Ace Cinematographer-Director Govind Nihalani made his Marathi film debut with “Ti Ani Itar” which was a staged drama to be a film in the first place, a disheartening look at the Director who once made socially relevant and parallel films.

A Special Mention for writer Kshitij Patwardhan and director Aditya Sarpotdar for bringing alive the character of “Banesh Fene” by eminent writer B. R. Bhagwat tactfully in the October-released “Faster Fene” starring Amey Wagh, Dilip Prabhavalkar and Girish Kulkarni. [READ THE REVIEW]

Seven major directorial debuts took place among them 5 gathered positive reviews: Prasad Oak (Kaccha Limbu), Nipun Dharmadhikari (Baapjanma), Varun Narvekar (Muramba), Hemant Dhome (Baghtos Kay Mujra Kar) and Pushkar Shrotri (Ubuntu). Ace Fashion Designer Vikram Phadnis’ “Hrudayantar” starring Subodh Bhave, Mukta Barve along with Hrithik Roshan was a cruel emotional torture, an overlong and unending melodramatic saga. Ganesh Acharya made his Marathi debut with “Bhikari”, a remake of Tamil film; Acharya’s film starring Swapnil Joshi was a complete disaster and unbearable misfire drama.
Ravi Jadhav’s “Nude” was caught amidst controversy because of its subject matter and was pulled out from the International Film Festival of India (IFFI 2017) by the I & B Ministry. I attended the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) where the film was supposed to play and the shows were constantly getting cancelled. Ravi Jadhav then put a post that the Ministry wanted a Censor Certificate and the Censor Board delayed the certification over an issue of UA or A – which made the film to miss its screening at the IFFK.

Following is the list of my favorite films of the year 2017 (adjusted with Film Festivals):

Special Mention: KACCHA LIMBU by Prasad Oak

This is profoundly a disturbing film, light-hearted people should think twice before experiencing the film. The film can literally make you weep; nevertheless, the strong characterization holds you back. Being Actor Prasad Oak’s directorial debut, it never seems to be fresh because of his sincere efforts. While the Screenplay has been transformed and kept tight without a single unnecessary scene by Chinmay Mandlekar. “Kaccha Limbu” is a path-breaking film which wrenches the heart and the unexplored social attitude towards the mental disabilities. Traveling a black and white path through the phase of life while the film holds few colorized moments suggesting happiness, Cinematographer Amalendu Chaudhary knocks the cinematic tone beautifully yet wrenching. Sonali Kulkarni gets her deserving role since she was struggling in mediocre roles for few years and she’s the best part of the film.

5. TI SADDHYA KAY KARTE by Satish Rajwade

Rajwade and writer Manaswini brilliantly craft the film with engaging screenplay and exclusively effective structured narration. How unbelievable it may sound, but this being a regional film is a classic delicious non-fairy tale. All that happens and the way it happens, the First Love crisis is captured well. No other Marathi film was so strongly narrated through a Protagonist’ POV. While the film marked an amazing debut of Laxmikant Berde’s son Abhinay Berde.

4. NADI VAHATE by Sandeep Sawant

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 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. [READ THE  FULL REVIEW]

3. CHUMBAK by Sandeep Modi

Screened at the 19th MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.
I never really expected the events of the film unfolding in delightful and humanistic manner. The script written by Saurabh Bhave and Sandeep Modi is one of the finest Marathi story I witness on-screen. Fully justified by impeccable Direction by Sandeep Modi along with visually stunning and captivating Cinematography by Rangarajan Ramabadran- “Chumbak” is a heartwarming story. Never did the makers went overboard in terms of handling the mentally-challenged man and the stupid world around him “dimwit” as people call him, the world is so. Induced by humor, satire with a heavy heart of humanity, this Marathi film wins my lottery of ‘the best film’. [READ THE FULL REVIEW]

2. MURAMBA by Varun Narvekar

This is a romantic comedy drama Marathi film directed by debutante Varun Narvekar and it’s one of the first finest rom-com in Marathi Cinema. It’s a very well written and excellently executed film which tells us our own story. The minute detailing of our daily happenings is shown amazingly and one feels like a part of their family. The extravagant and “hatke” background score is the soul of the film along with crispy editing and thoughtful direction. Though the film seems a little stretched but nevertheless the acting abilities of every actor cherishes. Amey Wagh is brilliantly charming, Sachin Khedekar takes the acting dynamics high and knacks the butt of it, Chinmayee Sumeet is adorable and Mithila Palkar plays decently. Overall, a dish which you will savor and will be yours forever.

1. BAAPJANMA by Nipun Dharmadhikari

This is a situational comedy, more of a TRAMEDY (Tragedy + Comedy) which Nipun pulls off with his impeccable writing. Young film-makers like him understand the sensibilities of audience and weave such kind of films. Enough of those over melodramas with pond full of water. Here, the screenplay works in two parts a set up and crux. Nipun brings the serious issue with a lot of humor and soars high with his technical aspects and acting. In a particular scene, the memories/nostalgia of Vikram and Veena is executed in one take while develops an emotional sense of the story growing within us. As much as the film brought laughs, it also caused deep pain. It is a must watch family film which many will connect to and yes, kudos to the brilliant use of technology and communication gap. [READ THE FULL REVIEW]

Looking forward to the 2018 releases…

Copyright ©2017 Ninad Kulkarni. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.


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