Titular character’s existence in Mangesh Joshi’s Lathe Joshi is minimalist, sometimes his existence isn’t noticed, he’s a keen observant – and the film defines the observant treatment likewise. “Lathe” is a machine used in industrial setups, the Lathe Workers are artists in their own right. His art speaks more than his words and mere existence is always overpowered by surroundings. Mangesh Joshi’s cinematic offering is like a delicate masterpiece with accurate strokes, it’s a numbing thought-provoking film without much ado.
Lathe Joshi is a profound cinematic piece, a milestone in Marathi Cinema with regard to storytelling. In the rapidly changing landscape, as technology is evolving it’s marring the existence of old school workers but that’s not it – what’s the purpose of progress? In a particular scene, machine-made tea is served, it lacks the essence of handmade tea – Joshi encounters such contradictions throughout ultimately nearing existential crisis. Mangesh Josh’s directorial subtle comment on the replacement of machines over man remarks a humane story.
Lathe Joshi is master of subtlety, one of the finest subtle films after Court (2015). Juxtaposed with characters transforming into symbols, like the blind Mother who represents the tragic end of workers due to machines. Subtexts are integral which are directed towards the rapidly changing world, it comes across impactful because of the dark humour infusion. Progressing in a natural pace, it slowly takes us into the world of Joshi’s whose silence speaks volume. While every character is engaged with their own machines ranging from food processor to chanting machine, Lathe Joshi’s passion comes as artistic, it’s his identity.
Cinematographer Satyajeet Shriram captures the symmetries of a breaking life, while moving over the character conflict the camera arrests us into the conflict. Capturing the relationship dynamics with the machines remarks ironical frames. Chittaranjan Giri who plays the titular character delivers an unconventional performance more of a melancholic. Seva Chauhan, the blind grandmother wins it all with her memorable and humorous performance (reminds of Pushpa Joshi from Rajkumar Gupta’s Raid). Ashwini Giri and Om Bhutkar lend an engaging support, bringing out the essential typical familial essence.
Lathe Joshi is an important film, it’s presented with gentleness and humour – Joshi’s crisis with technology is take it or be left out, I suppose you don’t want to be left out from a cinematic masterpiece.
Release: 13 July, 2018
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