CAST & CREW
What makes this film special, more than its intrinsic qualities, is the fact that this is legendary singer Asha Bhosle’s first foray into film acting at the ripe old age of 79, and the film is supposed to be in a way a dedication from the singer’s side in memory of her mother. Incidentally, Asha’s niece, the well-known actress of yesteryears, Padmini Kolhapure, makes a comeback of sorts, playing the role of Asha’s daughter in the film.
This is the poignant tale of the 65-year-old Mai, (as she was once endearingly known), suffering from Alzheimer's disease and the mother of four. She is seen faced with a situation where her son Munna concludes that the only way he can avail of a career opportunity in the USA is to shift her to an old age home. This, of course, is strongly contested by his eldest sibling Madhu, played by Padmini Kolhapure.
Finding no positive signals from her other sisters, she ultimately decides to bring Mai to her home, in spite of initial objections from her husband (Ram Kapoor) and daughter. With each passing day, Mai's health gets from bad to worse, and to tend to her, Madhu’s family life deteriorates gradually on account of the growing displeasure of her husband, due to his perceived over indulgence of Madhu for her mother.
This ultimately results in her having to give even up her job. Ultimately, however, Madhu's family has a change of heart as it agrees to take in Mai lovingly into their family fold. In fact, the relation between the son-in-law and Mai takes an incredible twist, changing his life forever. The theme of the film is one of growing relevance, especially in today’s diminishing family bonding, and non-resident offspring being more the rule than the exception.
Detractors may find the theme a bit archaic and too simplistic in its treatment and solutions, especially when there have been more professionally made films like “ Baghban” on the same theme. Honestly, none would have expected the legendary singer to stand up to the demands of histrionics to the extent that she has achieved in the film. In fact it is a refreshingly natural and convincing performance, albeit her age factor appropriately supported the role she had to portray.
The now veteran Padmini Kolhapure has also looked the true professional that she is in the critical role of the daughter caught between two opposing compulsions while Anupam Kher in a cameo delivers the role of the doctor in the way that only he can. Although largely shot indoors, Sachin Krishn has displayed his cinematographic skills in abundance through the sharp capture of the expressions of the different characters in the movie.
The editing, however, leaves a bit to be desired, with the feeling that the run time could have been squeezed a trifle for greater impact, with repetitive sequences removed. The musical score of Nitin Shankar has quite a Marathi flavour in keeping with the film’s inherent ambience, and appropriately Ashaji herself has lent her voice to three of the numbers.
The film is worth seeing not just for the significance of seeing a legendary singer in a debut role at the age of 79, but for its inherent treatment of a very relevant theme which is assuming even greater relevance in a shrinking globalized world.
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