Director Swapnaneel Jayakar’s 15 August released via Netflix marks the debut of Actress Madhuri Dixit-Nene as a Producer. Screenwriter Yogesh Vinayak Joshi always offers a distinct perspective evidently notable through Hava Aney Day (2004), Vakratunda Mahakaaya (2013) and Gachchi (2017). Through 15 August, he offers yet another perspective which dives into simplistic nature while analogically commenting on the political state of human susceptibility, in India. With hyper-nationalism flourishing throughout the country,15 August is a sigh of relief which redefines freedom through satire.
On India’s Independence Day, a zany mishap in a Mumbai chawl disrupts a young love story while compelling the residents to unite in aid of a little boy, whose hand is stuck in a pothole. Writer Yogesh Vinayak Joshi keeps it simple, he pours analogy into the whimsical characters through their idiosyncrasies. He dives into the microcosm of India, the chawl which features the traditional ensemble of “diverse India”, in doing so, the clutter of characters never lose their identity and space. With residents of chawl demanding the flag hoisting ceremony more important than the hand stuck in the pothole, at a point, the pothole becomes the psyche and analogy of diverse characters. A young lad dressed in tricolour shirt marks innocence stuck into the pothole, such symbolism and analogy make 15 August thoughtful. Since it depicts events unfolding in few hours, it runs around 120 minutes and loses steam nearing the third act (especially, the romantic narrative). There’s a lot of the plate and the struggle for freedom (from pothole) is more challenging than mere flag hoisting ceremony – it unites whimsical characters, 15 August may not ignite sparks but it definitely cracks open human susceptibility.15 August rests on the shoulders of potential ensemble, who live and ignite the proceeding through sparkling excitement, especially Vaibhav Mangale and Rahul Mehendale. While Rahul Pethe, Adinath Kothare and Mrunmayee Deshpande deliver earnest performances. Director Swapnaneel Jayakar handles the clutter of character ensemble with competency, hence, the coherent vision greets the potential reflection of thoughts. 15 August has benefit of locale dialect, the lingo makes the proceedings more hilarious while non-Marathi speakers may find humdrum through English subtitles.
15 August unites a society, the microcosm (here, chawl) always reaps a larger perspective which now inculcates through a simple eventful happening. It’s simplicity lies in the minute nuances borrowed from characters around the society which makes it relatable. Swapnaneel Jayakar’s directorial rests in realms of whimsical simplicity, and is more inclined towards situational satire which may yield mixed reactions.
Release: 29 March, 2019
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