Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Film Review - Lokmanya: Ek Yugpurush

Freedom Struggle 

Film: Lokmanya : Ek Yugpurush (Marathi with English subtitles)
Cast: Subodh Bhave, Chinmay Mandlekar, Sameer Vidwans
Directed by: Om Raut
Duration: 2 hrs 25 mins
Rating:  * *  

When it comes to biopics, you want to applaud the effort put in by film makers when they tell an inspirational story. But going by the evidence of biopics in Indian cinema, it is an uphill task to make a film that will rightly capture the spirit of what these idols stood for. Director Om Raut’s effort to shed light on Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak life is a sincere and noble effort but sadly it doesn’t translate into a film that will do justice to the life and the thoughts of the great man. 

There are some inspiring moments but there are is a bit of melodrama as well and there is no point in stylizing such content – for instance we see Lokmanya Tilak running in slow motion at least thrice in the film. Such stylization is best left for commercial potboilers and not for a man who gave all his life for the freedom struggle and to reform the society.

Many of his contributions are well known, his advocacy of Swaraj, the Swadeshi movement, public celebrations of festivals like Ganesh Chathurthi, Kesari the news paper and in the field of education.  Plus his role in the shaping the freedom struggle has also been highlighted in school history books. 

The film is told cutting between the past and the present, a journalist (Chinmay Mandlekar) is inspired by the life of Tilak after reading about him, a la Rang De Basanti.  The leaders life is recounted through various incidents that occurred during his life time, his friendship with Gopal Ganesh Agarkar (Sameer Vidwans) with whom he shared the same ideology to begin with but then split later right to the bubonic plague that struck Pune in 1896 to his six year imprisonment in Mandalay, the film covers it all.

But the narrative is faulty. At times it is a bit all over the place and doesn’t stick a particular thread. Also the fusion of the past and present doesn’t really amalgamate well and looks artificial. 

The highlight is Subodh Bhave who is excels in the lead role. It is his effort that has adds considerable value to the film, which, though it tells an important story cinematically it leaves a lot to be desired. But it remains an important story all the same. 

Published in The Navhind Times on 4th Jan 2015

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