P. L. Deshpande, a humorist pioneer who took Maharashtra by a laughter storm with his nuanced character sketches as well as rooted yet hilarious stories. Director Mahesh Manjrekar takes up the challenge to document as well as present Deshpande’s life journey, whose life is an open book – a man who taught to laugh, to live and to survive; a man, whose life was drenched in literature, music, films and drama. Writers Ganesh Matkari (Screenplay) & Ratnakar Matkari (Dialogues) recapture the essence of the past while weaving an endearing montage. While the characters are amalgamation of real life as well as from P. L. Deshpande’s literary works; comparing with Nandita Das’ Manto (2018) which features a similar structure wouldn’t be fair, here, the amalgamation caters in a subtle manner.
Bhai – Vyakti Ki Valli peeps onto the surface, it plays out like a series of montage. Screenwriter Ganesh Matkari’s structure works in the larger perspective, a detailed glimpse of the happenings in an artists’ life. P. L. Deshpande’s command over writing can be seen here, Ratnakar Matkari pens downright customary dialogues dipped in the touch of character lingo. Without a dull moment, Bhai – Vyakti Ki Valli keeps overwhelming through the happenings and constant introduction of known faces from Balasaheb Thackeray to Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. But, somewhere beneath the surface – the character of Deshpande lurked resurgence amidst the mélange. There’s a demarcation between a character sketch and a personal outgrowth, the film makes clear in the title which literally translates as – Vyakti (Person) or Valli (Character). To me, it’s more of a character sketch which indulges in an honest offering.Sagar Deshmukh, who plays P. L. Deshpande delivers an endearing performance while subjugating into the warmth and humour. With a strong support from Irawati Harshe-Mayadev as Sunita Deshpande, their sparkling chemistry leaves us with a grin. Deshpande’s unapologetic humour in the hands of Sagar Deshmukh makes us forget the real-life character(s) contribution, it never “questions” the arrival and departures of the characters since the verbosity level is high (as it should-be).
Bhai – Vyakti Ki Valli is an insightful film, it’s more of a refreshing character sketch than a journey. The vast life and works of P. L. Deshpande may need a full-fledged Netflix Series while Mahesh Manjrekar isn’t Richard Attenborough to make a fitting biopic like Gandhi (1982). But, Manjrekar’s tribute to P. L. Deshpande fits through present offering and one can expect more of a character study in the sequel releasing on 8th February, 2019.
Release: 04 January, 2019
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