Sunday, 12 October 2014

Film Review - Dr.Prakash Baba Amte

An Inspiring Story
Film:Dr.Prakash Baba Amte (Marathi with English subtitles)
Cast: Nana Patekar, Sonali Kulkarni, Mohan Agashe
Directed by: Samruddhi Pohey
Duration: 2 hrs 17 mins
Rating:  * * * 1 /2

There are reel heroes and real life heroes. The full title of this film is Dr.Prakash Baba Amte - The Real Hero and the latter part is no exaggeration.  Son of the renowned social worker Baba Amte, the life of Dr.Prakash is well and truly inspiring full credit to the director Samruddhi Pohey for telling this richly deserved story.
Baba Amte and his work his well known but the name of his son Prakash will be familiar mostly to those in Maharashtra.

Biopics are rarely made in India and on the whole they have been a mixed bag, some work some don’t. But the Pohey who has also written the screenplay has rock solid material on hand.  After all, how many doctors, whose fathers were well known in the society gave up everything and worked for the welfare of tribals and animals. It is no surprise that the Amte’s were the first father son duo to be given the prestigious Magsaysay award. 

The film also benefits immensely from the lead pair of actors. A large part of the story is told in flashback. Dr. Prakash (Nana Patekar) following his illustrious father’s footsteps lives in the tribal area of Gadchiroli with the Madia tribe. He has a doctor by profession and decides to live an austere life by helping the locals along with his wife Mandakini (Sonali Kulkarni) whom he met in his college.   

Apart from serving the local tribe Dr. Prakash is also an animal lover and started an orphanage for injured wild animals which came to be known as Amte animal arc, snakes, leopards, deer, you name it, they are all at the orphanage. The kind of rapport that the good doctor has with the animals is to be seen to be believed in the real life footage shown during the end credits which are not to be missed.

The issue of naxalism and excess by the police is also highlighted but more importantly, the film captures the essence of the tribulations he had and how he overcame them to serve selflessly. Along with the doctor, his wife also comes as a pillar of strength and their relationship is heartwarming.  In fact the Magsaysay award

Technically, the film is just about okay, but this factor can be easily overlooked. The screenplay is not watertight either and the editing also could have been sharper. Couple of scenes where they treat ill people could have been trimmed.  But this is just nitpicking considering what has been portrayed in the film.

Of the cast, Nana Patekar is in splendid form in the lead role, we have seen his histrionics before but this is a highly commendable and restrained performance. Sonali Kulkarni matches the lead actor on every step and they share a good chemistry.

During times when everyone is caught in a rat race (even if you win the race you still remain a rat as a wise man once said) this story of a man working tirelessly and altruistically has even more relevance. This is a must watch film for everyone.

Published in The Navhind Times on 12th Oct 2014

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