Ani…Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar is a curtain raiser which lends an insight into the life of Marathi Theatre’s first Superstar, who was the last of the many firsts including first whistle in an on-going performance for dialogue delivery. Writer-Director Abhijeet Deshpande courses behind the curtain, an eccentric life which many acclaimed stars lived amidst glory. Deshpande tries to track a behavioural graph in a simple narrative by adding layers and shades with mundane scenes for instance, relativity of a theatrical character to real life. Such instances sprout a new dimension but for a limited period, since it’s a self-aware biography – the makers are overwhelmed with the material rather than the presentation.
Even though Ani…Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar achieves what it sets out to, it comes with a tiresome (often, repetitive) running time close to 165 minutes. While catering to the new generation, the film fails to teleport back into the golden era, instead Cinematographer Sudhir Palsane adds an insufficient golden tint for the feel. Amateur Production Design and substandard VFX dumb down the momentary experience, which brings to a comparison between two important biopics. Abhijeet Deshpande’s directorial lacks the production quality of Ravi Jadhav’s Balgandharv: The Sound of Heaven (2011) and directorial finesse of Nag Ashwin’s Mahanati (2018) – both biopic dissect a rise & fall of a star; at core all three lay hatched from one egg. On its own Ani…Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar stands in an earnest emotional as well as behavioural rollercoaster lending an insight into the tragic life of the first Superstar of Marathi Theatre.
As a writer Abhijeet Deshpande has written Mahesh Manjrekar’s Natsamrat (2016), a staged and weak cinematic adaptation of a famous play – unlike Natsamrat, here he has woven quite an emotionally exhilarating biography. Apart from the caricaturish eminent personalities like Dr. Shreeram Lagoo, Sulochana, Bhalji Pendharkar and ridiculously written Vasant Kanetkar, Ani..Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar is an important film which thoughtful tracks a journey. Primarily based on Kanchan Latkar-Ghanekar’s book Nath Ha Majha, Abhijeet Deshpande mounts a valuable treasure trapped into an eccentric glory of an applause, drenched in the warm reception of audience into a nuanced portrayal.
Over the period of 8 years, Subodh Bhave has feathers attached to three biopics sharing close time period – from Bal Gangadhar Tilak “Lokmanya: Ek Yug Purush” (1856-1920), Narayan Shripad Rajhans “Balgandharv: The Sound of Heaven” (1888-1967) and now Kashinath Ghanekar (1930-1986). He’s dominantly a director’s actor, who dwells into versatility at peak; evident in all three biopic – but, it comes with a major drawback regarding over-utilisation of a particular actor who delivers commendable performance only in biopic. Subodh Bhave slips into the eccentricities of Kashinath Ghanekar with finesse. His earnest and honest performance brings alive the persona, there’s a grace in his nuanced deliverance. Apart from Nandita Dhuri who delivers a commendable performance as Ghanekar’s wife, renowned Marathi actors feature in an ensemble of caricatures with only Prasad Oak as Prabhakar Panshikar excelling.
Ani..Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar is an overwhelming film about an eccentric persona who brought glory as well as audience to Marathi Theatre, even if it lacks glory – experience the curtain raise for a behavioural showcase.
Release: 08 November, 2018
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